Clinton refused Obama campaign's request to attack Palin in 2008

SHARE Clinton refused Obama campaign's request to attack Palin in 2008

WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday she refused an Obama campaign request in 2008 to attack Sarah Palin, the new Republican vice presidential candidate on the ticket with Sen. John McCain.

“The Obama campaign did contact me and asked me if I would attack her,” Clinton told NBC in an interview that aired Tuesday. “I said, ‘Attack her for what, for being a woman? Attack her for being on a ticket that’s … trying to draw attention?’”

Clinton said she told the campaign, “There’ll be plenty of time to do what I think you should do in politics, which is draw distinctions.”

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RELATED: Hillary says Clintons left White House ‘dead broke’

On Monday, Palin tweeted a page from Clinton’s new book, “Hard Choices,” that contained Clinton’s description of the episode. In it, Clinton says that the Obama campaign suspected Palin’s nomination “was a blatant attempt to scuttle their hope of welcoming the women who had vigorously supported me” in Clinton’s own unsuccessful presidential campaign.

“They immediately issued a dismissive statement and reached out to me in hopes I would follow suit,” Clinton writes. “But I wouldn’t. I was not going to attack Palin just for being a woman appealing for support from other women. I didn’t think that made political sense and it didn’t feel right. So I said no, telling them there’d be plenty of time for criticism. A few hours later the Obama campaign reversed itself and congratulated Governor Palin.”

That page prompted Palin, the former Alaska governor, on Monday to tweet: “Look who fired the 1st shot in the real “war on women”. Hint: it wasn’t the GOP. See this excerpt from Hillary’s book.”

Clinton also said Tuesday that she and former President Bill Clinton “fully appreciate how hard life is for so many Americans,” seeking to refine remarks she made about the pair being “dead broke” when they left the White House.

At the same time, the former secretary of state dropped another hint that she might be leaning toward a second run for the presidency. Clinton said that she and her husband have “gone through some of the same challenges that many people have” and that they “understand what that struggle is.”

Clinton said she and her husband left the White House roughly $12 million in debt at the end of his second term in early 2001. But she also acknowledged that “we’ve continued to be blessed in the last 14 years.”

In response to a question, Clinton told anchor Robin Roberts she wants “to use the talent and resources that I have to make sure” others have the same opportunities.

Clinton’s Senate financial disclosure forms, filed for 2000, show assets between $781,000 and almost $1.8 million. The forms allow senators to report assets in broad ranges. The same form, however, showed that the Clintons owed between $2.3 million and $10.6 million in legal bills to four firms.

“I think she’s been out of touch with average people for a long time,” said Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, pointing to Clinton’s estimated $200,000-per-speech speaking fees and million-dollar book advances. “Whether she was flat broke or not is not the issue. It’s tone deaf to average people.”

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