April 23, 2008 / 3:08 PM / in 10 years

NY Times assails Clinton for negative campaign

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Times, which endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, sharply criticized on Wednesday what it called her negative campaign against Barack Obama in the race for the Democratic nomination.

In editorial headlined “The Low Road to Victory,” the Times called the campaign ahead of Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary “meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.”

It laid most of the blame on Clinton, endorsed in January as a knowledgeable and experienced candidate.

The editorial ran a day after Clinton scored a decisive victory over Obama in Pennsylvania, cutting into the Illinois senator’s national lead in popular votes and delegates who will select the Democratic Party’s nominee in August.

“It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election,” the Times said.

The Democratic-leaning editorial page issued a warning about negativity in its January endorsement of Clinton, noting at the time, “We urge Mrs. Clinton to take the lead in changing the tone of the campaign. It is not good for the country, the Democratic Party or for Mrs. Clinton.”

That theme was repeated on Wednesday.

“By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don’t like negative campaigning. She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama,” the Times said.

Reporting by Daniel Trotta, editing by Michelle Nichols

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