Clinton attacks Obama

WASHINGTON - Hillary Rodham Clinton went on the offensive ahead of key primaries in the Democratic presidential race, accusing Barack Obama of misrepresenting her views in mailings to voters.

WASHINGTON - Hillary Rodham Clinton went on the offensive ahead of key primaries in the Democratic presidential race, accusing Barack Obama of misrepresenting her views in mailings to voters.

She also reached out to black voters, who have overwhelmingly supported her opponent.

Obama has won 11 straight primaries and caucuses to lead in the race for the Democratic nomination. Some of Clinton's supporters have said she must win both Ohio and Texas on March 4 to keep her White House bid alive. Recent polls show Ohio is close, and Texas closer.

Clinton on Saturday accused Obama of deliberately misrepresenting her positions on healthcare and trade.

"Shame on you, Barack Obama," she said at a Saturday rally in Cincinnati.

Clutching two of the mailings in her hand for emphasis at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, she said: "Enough with the speeches and the big rallies and then using tactics that are right out of Karl Rove's play book."

She was referring to the former adviser to President George Bush.

Obama defended the mailings as accurate and rejected Clinton's complaint as a political ploy. He said that despite her current criticism of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, Clinton supported the trade agreement when it passed during her husband's administration.

"You can't be for something and take credit for an administration ... and then when you run for president say that you didn't really mean what you said way back then. It doesn't work like that," he said to cheers at a rally in Akron, Ohio.

On the Republican side, John McCain inched closer to clinching the party's presidential nomination by picking up a total of 18 more delegates on Saturday at Republican conventions in American Samoa and the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Democrats' long-distance clash on Saturday erupted as the two campaigned separately across Ohio.

Clinton's frustration was evident as she criticised Obama in strong terms - a few days after ending a nationally televised debate by saying she was "honoured to be here with him" in a historic race between a black man and a woman.

In her criticism of Obama, she asked: "Since when do Democrats attack one another on universal healthcare?"

Obama had a ready reply to that: "Well, when she started to say I was against universal healthcare ... which she does every single day."

Since late last year, Clinton has consistently attacked Obama's healthcare plan, saying it would leave 15 million Americans uninsured.

Clinton's advisers have repeatedly criticised the Obama campaign's mailings, both of which went out in the last several days.

Obama leads with 1362 delegates. Clinton has 1266.

It will take 2025 delegates to secure the Democratic nomination at the party's convention in August. Sapa-AP

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