Intense Battle

03/28/2008 02:46 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Elizabeth Bumiller and John Broder New York Times

Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama battled over national security and trade in a frantic burst of last-minute campaigning on Monday as Mrs. Clinton accused Mr. Obama of deception as new evidence of discord surfaced within her own camp.

With less than 24 hours to go before voting in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island, Mrs. Clinton's campaign released a sharp television commercial attacking Mr. Obama for being AWOL from his chairmanship of a Senate oversight committee on the forces fighting in Afghanistan -- "he was too busy running for president to hold even one hearing," the ad said -- while Mr. Obama's campaign counterpunched that Mrs. Clinton had herself missed important hearings on Afghanistan before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month.

The day was the latest installment in the riveting drama between two formidable, historic candidates, the first woman to be a serious contender for president and the charismatic young black man who has packed arenas across the country and overtaken Mrs. Clinton in many polls and the delegate count. Showing the intensity of the contest, officials predicted a record turnout among voters in Texas.

Mrs. Clinton, facing calls from some Democrats to get out of the race should she perform poorly on Tuesday after 11 straight losses, appeared almost defiant as she declared at the start of her day in Ohio that "I'm just getting warmed up."

Then she charged that one of Mr. Obama's senior advisers had told Canadian officials that Mr. Obama's opposition to the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, or Nafta, was largely a political tactic, not a serious policy position. Mr. Obama denied that he was sending back-door messages to the Canadians and said the Clinton campaign was "throwing the kitchen sink" at him.

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Read the latest news from the Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island primaries.