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An off-the-cuff Barack Obama comment spurs a new Hillary Clinton jab

April 21, 2008 |  2:40 am

A long-standing and significant disagreement between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on healthcare coverage is playing out on Pennsylvania airwaves as the state's Tuesday primary approaches (see his ad here; her response spot here).

But it's never too late for one more minor tiff to erupt between the two Democratic presidential rivals.

Campaigning Sunday in Reading, Pa., Obama looked ahead to the fall faceoff and -- in a nod toward party unity -- told his audience, "You have a real choice in this election, you know. Either Democrat would be better than John McCain."

Then, feeling the need to bash the current administration, he added, "And all three of us would be better than George Bush."

That assertion is slightly surprising -- given that he routinely says a McCain win in November would give the nation, in essence, a third Bush term -- but hardly eye-popping. But as the Democratic battle drags on, it seems every molehill becomes a mountain.

So it was that Clinton, at a rally later Sunday in Johnstown, Pa., took Obama to task for his remark -- and utterly exaggerated it.

"We need a nominee who will take on John McCain, not cheer on John McCain," she said.

Funny, but it wasn't so long ago (like, right before the Ohio and Texas primaries in early March) that Clinton was giving McCain credit for having the credentials to serve as commander in chief -- a way to imply that Obama did not.

And in terms of the matter at hand, is this something that is going to sway a single undecided Democrat in Pennsylvania?

-- Don Frederick