Clinton lets go at triumphant Obama

NEW HAMPSHIRE - Hillary Clinton launched a searing attack on rival Barack Obama as polls showed that he could inflict a second body blow to her White House hopes in tomorrow's New Hampshire primary.

NEW HAMPSHIRE - Hillary Clinton launched a searing attack on rival Barack Obama as polls showed that he could inflict a second body blow to her White House hopes in tomorrow's New Hampshire primary.

Clinton on Saturday used a tense face-to-face debate, three days before the next crucial 2008 test, to argue her rival was inconsistent, inexperienced, and more fond of words than action.

"He could have a pretty good debate with himself," Clinton said, trying to pin the damaging flip-flop label on Obama on issues like healthcare, national security and Iraq.

Clinton came out swinging after a humiliating third place in last week's Iowa caucuses, which validated Obama's soaring message of hope, change and cleansing America's poisoned politics.

"You have changed positions within three years on a range of issues when you ran for the Senate," she said.

"You said that records matter." She also argued that his powerful rhetoric did not mean he would be effective in driving reform, and said her quest to be the first woman president showed she was an agent of change.

"Words are not actions."

Obama, his stature enhanced by his Iowa triumph, avoided serious gaffes, appeared unruffled by Clinton's attacks, and deflected them with his own political message.

"We should not distort each other's records as election day approaches in New Hampshire.

"The people of America are looking for people who are going to be straight about the issues," Obama said.

New polls meanwhile showed the effect of Obama's Iowa momentum.

In a CNN survey, Obama and Clinton were locked on 33 percent. Obama was up four points from a similar poll in December and Clinton was down one.

The Concord Monitor newspaper had Obama leading Clinton by 34 percent to 33 percent. - Sapa-AF

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