Barack Obama has barely responded to the “kitchen sink” of attacks Hillary Clinton has made against him and already the Clinton campaign is accusing him of emulating negative right-wing tactics.
“Apparently, the Obama campaign’s idea of new politics is to recycle the same old Republican attacks on Senator Clinton that have failed for years,” said a memo released by the Clinton campaign Thursday.
“Imitating Ken Starr is not the way to win the Democratic nomination,” it said, referring to the Republican attorney who led investigations against former President Bill Clinton over his Whitewater dealings and sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Senior Clinton campaign aides Ann Lewis and Howard Wolfson repeated the memo’s talking points in a conference call with reporters that day.
“I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is a way to win a Democratic primary for the presidency,” Wolfson said.
Lewis echoed, “I did not realize that his version of new politics is to [use] some of the same old Republican attacks on Hillary that have failed for years.”
These remarks were prompted by the Obama campaign’s calls for Clinton to release her tax returns, which he says highlight her poor record on transparency and disclosure.
“She has made the argument that she is thoroughly vetted, in contrast to me. I think it's important to examine that argument, because if the suggestion that somehow that on issues of ethics or disclosure or transparency, that somehow she's going to have a better record than I have, and will be better able to withstand Republican attacks, I think then that's an issue that should be tested," Obama told reporters traveling with him from San Antonio to Chicago Wednesday.
Clinton has been reluctant to release her forms, but has said she will do so by April 15, less than a week before the Pennsylvania Democratic primary.
Republicans have asked Clinton repeatedly to release documents from the Clinton Presidential Library related to her policy work as First Lady, but her campaign claims the process to do so is too slow and burdensome to be completed before November.
Clinton has also been asked to release donor records for the Clinton presidential library, but Clinton has hinted she would not release those materials short of a new law that would require her to do so.