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Democrats battle it out in Ohio tours

WESTERVILLE, Ohio — Ahead of Tuesday's crucial primary elections, Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama barnstormed across Ohio on Sunday, with Clinton seeking to shore up support in a state where she holds a slim lead in the polls and Obama deriding his Senate colleague for her claims of foreign policy experience.

After focusing on national security in Texas on Saturday, Clinton shifted her emphasis to the economy during Sunday's rallies in Ohio, which has been hard hit by the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs in recent years.

In Westerville, she pledged to fight predatory lending practices and to create millions of jobs. Later, she told about 1,000 supporters in Youngstown that she had a better economic plan than either Obama or Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee.

Clinton promised to abolish tax breaks for companies that export jobs overseas.

"I have been critical of NAFTA," she said, referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. "Unlike my opponent in the primary, I've put together a very specific plan for what we're going to do about it."

Earlier in the day, at a rural economy event in the Appalachian town of Nelsonville, Obama lashed out at Clinton for her position on NAFTA.

"Here's the truth: Globalization is not going away," said Obama, who favors stronger labor and environmental protections in NAFTA. "Sen. Clinton talks about (how) she wants a pause in our trade deals. The world will not pause. China's not pausing. India's not pausing. They're going full guns.

"And the only way we are going to compete is if our children are better prepared, better equipped, stronger at math, stronger at science, are creating the innovations that create high value and as a consequence, higher wages," he said.

The Illinois senator then followed Clinton into Westerville, where he told a raucous rally that he has "tried as much as possible to spend my campaign talking not about the flaws of the other candidates, but (about) why I'm running." But he took jabs at the New York senator, deriding her for voting to authorize the war in Iraq and for her argument that "she has supposedly all this massive foreign policy experience."

Voters go to the polls in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island on Tuesday.

Democrats battle it out in Ohio tours 03/02/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:24am]
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