Memo to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.): It's time for you to explain the inconsistencies of your positions and the way you describe your past record. Your complaint that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is "attacking people" and "throwing mud" because she challenged the accuracy of your characterization of your own healthcare plan as "universal" appears hypocritical. It was you who voluntarily attacked Sen. Clinton for being "untruthful and misleading" several weeks ago in a voluntary sit-down with two New York Times reporters. That is clearly a direct attack on character — the functional equivalent of calling Sen. Clinton a "liar" — and yet, at least according to the Times article, you offered no specific examples in that article to back up such a serious personal attack.

It's time for the public to know facts and inconsistencies in your positions and your record that, so far, much of the national press corps has allowed you to ignore.

1. Your healthcare program. Sen. Clinton is right and you are wrong — her healthcare provides for a universal mandate, and yours does not and leaves out millions of people. That is a fact. As Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist (and no Hillary fan) recently wrote, your plan would allow millions of healthy people to opt out and then opt in when they develop health problems. Under your plan, he wrote, "people who did the right thing when they were healthy would end up subsidizing those who didn't sign up for insurance until or unless they needed medical care." Mr. Krugman continued: "Mr. Obama is attacking his rivals and claiming that his plan is superior. It isn't — and his attacks amount to cheap shots."

2. Your PAC's donations. Your political action committee (PAC) donated funds to state and local elected officials in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Shortly after receiving those donations, some endorsed your candidacy. The Washington Post reported that these funds were directed to these individuals by officials in your presidential campaign. A federal election law expert told the Post reporter that if that was the case, this could be a violation of federal election law. Will you be fully transparent about who, what, when, where and why regarding these donations? And if this was "coordination" and "direction" from your presidential campaign, as the story documented, how could it not be a violation?

3. Your position on the Iraq war. You have criticized Sen. Clinton for supporting the October 2002 Iraq war resolution (just as the governor of your state, Rod R. Blagojevich, did when he was in the House of Representatives, as did former Sen. Max Cleland, who lost two arms and a leg in the Vietnam War, and 29 Democratic senators). You claim to have been opposed to that resolution before you became a U.S. senator.

Yet when you were asked in the fall of 2004, as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, how you would have voted on that resolution had you been a U.S. senator, you were quoted in The Chicago Tribune answering, "I don't know." Then in March 2007, your press secretary refused "eight times" to answer a New York Times reporter's question as to why you couldn't answer that question back in 2004. When pressed again, he said you refused to answer such a "hypothetical" question. So how can you accurately say that you opposed the war resolution when you said "I don't know" — and how is it fair to criticize Sen. Clinton's (and Gov. Blagojevich's) judgment for doing so at that time — when she says today, "Had I known then what I know now [that there were no WMDs in Iraq], I would not have voted for that resolution"?

You also voted against Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) amendment in the summer of 2006 to set a deadline on withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq (as did Sen. Clinton and most Senate Democrats). Yet I don't think you have ever reminded voters about that vote since you began your presidential campaign.

4. Your position on the Iran Resolution. You criticized Sen. Clinton's vote in September supporting a Senate resolution asking the U.S. government to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG) as a "foreign terrorist organization," which could trigger economic sanctions. In an op-ed in the Manchester, N.H., Union Leader, you called that vote "reckless." Yet you failed to disclose that you had co-sponsored a Senate Resolution in March 2007 that used exactly the same language to designate the IRG a "foreign terrorist organization." And you failed to disclose that the senior senator from your own state of Illinois, Dick Durbin (D), also supported the September resolution and publicly disagreed with you that it could possibly provide a basis for intervening in Iran. Are you prepared to charge Sen. Durbin, too, with a "reckless" vote — with the same IRG designation language as in the March resolution you co-sponsored?

5. Your commitment to visit five dictators in your first year as president. In one of the Democratic debates, you committed to visiting five dictators — in Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Iran and North Korea — without preconditions, personally, in your first year as president. You later tried to revise what you actually said by stating you were referring only to the principle of the need to negotiate with "hostile governments." (But that is not what you said at the debate.) Then you criticized Sen. Clinton for not being willing to negotiate with hostile governments, which is false, and you knew it was false. In fact, you knew that Sen. Clinton had already endorsed the Hamilton-Kean task force recommendation for the U.S. to negotiate with Syria and Iran to assist in finding a regional solution to the Iraq war.

6. Your position on driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.
After Sen. Clinton gave a garbled response to her position on this issue in the Philadelphia debate, she was intensely criticized — by you, accusing her of intentionally obscuring her position, and by media commentators. (She subsequently admitted she had not given a clear answer.) Yet in the very next debate, both of you were asked whether you supported such driver's licenses for illegal immigrants; she gave a simple "no," and you gave a garbled and virtually incomprehensible answer. You were hardly criticized by the media — certainly when compared to the two weeks of criticism of Sen. Clinton after her response. So what is your position?

7. Social Security reform. You say you favor increasing FICA taxes by raising the income ceilings above approximately $91,000/year of income. This would amount to over a trillion-dollar tax increase. You also say you want a bipartisan approach to governing. Do you really think congressional Republicans will ever agree to a Social Security solution that just involves raising taxes this much? Sen. Clinton prefers to do what President Reagan and the late Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan did in the 1980s — appoint a bipartisan commission whose recommendations were broadly accepted on both sides of the aisle. Yet you accuse her of refusing to take a position. Would you have accused Sen. Moynihan of that? Truthfully, who has the more bipartisan approach on this important issue, you or Sen. Clinton?


Sen. Obama is a fine and honest man and has been an excellent presidential candidate. However, the problem with a sanctimonious campaign theme that implies that you are the superior candidate of reform, change and candor, is that you are judged more harshly when you don't apply to yourself the high standards that you insist others have to meet.

It's time, Sen. Obama, for you to explain your inconsistent record and your apparent double standard. It's time for you to come out behind the rhetoric of "turning the page" and read the page accurately to voters concerning your past record, your current positions and Sen. Clinton's. And it's time for the political media to give greater scrutiny to the facts concerning your record.

Mr. Davis, a Washington attorney, is a supporter and fundraiser for the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).