Clinton camp goes after Obama’s Reagan comments

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) presidential campaign attacked Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Friday for recent comments expressing admiration for Republican former President Ronald Reagan.

Both Clinton’s and former Sen. John Edwards’s (D-N.C.) campaigns have been harshly critical of Obama’s statements from a recent interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal, in which he said Reagan “changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.”

Clinton’s campaign dispatched Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) to discuss the issue with reporters.

“I would like to know what Republican ideas he thinks are great ideas,” Brown said of Obama, before ticking off GOP-led plans to privatize Social Security and abolish the National Education Association as well as provide “tax breaks to the rich.”

Confronted with Obama’s explanation that he was not advocating Reagan’s policies but instead underlining the former president’s ability to inspire and unite people, Frank noted that Obama praised Reagan for shrinking government.

“That may be what he’s now saying,” Frank said. “These are substantive things. When you talk about a ‘fundamentally different path,’ ‘changing the trajectory,’ that’s not a matter of rhetoric.”

Obama told the Gazette-Journal that Reagan delivered on what people were looking for — controlling an overgrown government, for example.

“I think he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was, 'We want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing,' ” Obama said.

The Edwards camp issued a statement Thursday that ripped into Reagan’s legacy.

“The breadth of change Ronald Reagan brought was crippling for millions of Americans, with the two worst recessions since the Depression, a complete disregard for the rights of American labor, and tax cuts that lined the pockets of the richest Americans at the expense of fiscal sanity and the well-being of the most vulnerable in our society,” said Edwards campaign manager David Bonior.