Clinton Aide Compares Obama to Starr

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A top aide to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday compared rival Sen. Barack Obama to independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr.

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said Obama's statement that he plans to be more critical of Clinton's record is reminiscent of the attacks the Clintons endured during the investigations in the 1990s.

"Our point here is to point out that after a campaign in which many of the questions that voters had in the closing days centered on concerns that they had over his state of preparedness to be commander in chief and steward of the economy, he has chosen instead of addressing those issues to attack Senator Clinton," Wolfson told reporters in a conference call. "They've announced that this is what they are going to do.

"I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president. But perhaps that theory will be tested," he said.

By raising Starr's name, Wolfson revived memories of the investigation that led to former President Clinton's impeachment. But many Democrats feel the Starr investigation was politically motivated, and injecting Starr into the debate is one more way for Clinton to depict herself as a victim of enemies out to get her. She's already complained recently about the media being against her.

After losing three out of four contests Tuesday night, Obama told reporters Wednesday that he plans to increase his criticism of Clinton's record in coming days.

His campaign also has been attacking her for refusing to release her tax returns. The Clinton campaign said all the Clintons' returns since they left the White House will be made public around April 15.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the comparison to Starr is "absurd" when Clinton has been calling for more scrutiny of Obama's record.

"We don't believe that expecting candidates for the presidency to disclose their tax returns somehow constitutes Ken Starr tactics, but the kind of transparency and accountability that Americans are looking for and that's been missing in Washington for far too long," Burton said in a statement. "And if Senator Clinton doesn't think that the Republicans will ask these very same questions, then she's not as ready to go toe-to-toe with John McCain as she claims."

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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