By Skeeter Sanders
As the battle between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination becomes increasingly bitter and racially-charged, the New York senator is employing lines of attack against the Illinois senator that are coming directly from the campaign playbook of the Republican National Committee.
Meanwhile, controversial comments against Obama by 1984 Democratic vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro -- for which she defiantly refuses to apologize -- have been revealed to be an almost word-for-word repeat of a similarly racially-charged remark the former New York congresswoman made in 1988 against another African-American presidential candidate: Jesse Jackson.
Obama Wins Mississippi Primary By a Landslide
The new controversies come just days after Obama swept to a landslide victory over Clinton in Tuesday's Mississippi primary, with 61 percent of the vote, compared with Clinton's 37 percent. The Illinois senator captured 17 of Mississippi's 33 pledged delegates up for grabs, which will be allocated proportionally.
But in a Deep South state that perhaps is the most racially polarized in the nation, Mississippi's Democratic voters were sharply divided among racial lines, exit polls indicated. As has been the case in many other primary states, Obama won overwhelming support from African-American voters. They went for him over Clinton 91-9 percent.
The Magnolia State has a larger proportion of African-Americans (36 percent, according to the 2000 census) than any other state in the country. And black voters make up nearly 70 percent of the state's registered Democrats.
But as in other states across the Deep South, Mississippi white voters overwhelmingly backed the New York senator, supporting her over Obama 72 percent to 21 percent, with only young white voters under 30 going for Obama.
Clinton's 'Kitchen Sink' Strategy Against Obama Has GOP's Fingerprints All Over It
According to The Hill, the Washington-based newspaper that covers Congress, the former first lady has employed talking points against Obama developed by the RNC over the past year, while the Republicans, in turn, are using lines of attack developed by the Clinton campaign to "soften up" Obama for a possible general-election match-up against GOP nominee-elect John McCain.
Not to be outdone, Obama has also borrowed a page from the GOP playbook against Clinton, raising implicit questions about her ethics. Obama’s campaign manager accused Clinton in January of being willing “to do or say anything to win an election,” repeating a similar statement by Republican national chairman Mike Duncan.
But it's Clinton who's taken the more negative approach, according to The Hill, and is freely tapping the GOP's opposition research department -- much to the satisfaction of Republican officials who have battled her for years.
“There appears to be bipartisan agreement that Barack Obama is not prepared to be commander in chief,” Danny Diaz, the Republican National Committee’s communications director, told the newspaper.
Clinton's GOP-Written Attack Lines Date Back to November