WASHINGTON (AFP) — Hillary Clinton's White House campaign lashed out Sunday after a report said rival Barack Obama was preparing a "full assault" on her after unloading some embarrassments to his own campaign.
The feuding over the report in the Democrat's hometown newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, came as Republican nominee-elect John McCain polished his national security credentials on a surprise trip to Iraq.
"It is disappointing that a campaign that began by promising a politics of hope has come to this, that it is signalling and revelling in attacks on Senator Clinton's character," her communications director Howard Wolfson said.
"This is not the campaign they promised us," he said on a conference call.
The Tribune noted that Obama was now distancing himself from his fiery Chicago pastor, who argues in a newly unearthed video that the September 11 attacks of 2001 showed that "America's chickens are coming home to roost."
But earlier Sunday, Obama aides kept up a barrage of questioning over Clinton's tax returns, her records from her White House days, and possible ties to donors who gave generously to her husband Bill's presidential library.
"The Clinton campaign says she has been fully vetted but the truth is she is a veteran of non-disclosure," Obama chief strategist David Axelrod said.
"All of this has created a sense that there are things she wants the public not to know," he said.
And addressing the Clinton camp's battle to seat delegates from the pariah states of Florida and Michigan, Axelrod said: "You get the feeling they are literally trying to do anything to win this nomination."
The feistier tone between the campaigns belied a truce over Obama's pastor with Clinton supporters passing up repeating opportunities to decry the inflammatory language of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who said in the newly disclosed video that the 9/11 attacks were brought on by US "terrorism."
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the country's highest ranking elected Democrat, ruled out a "dream ticket" combining Obama and Clinton and said the party's nominee should be whoever leads in the final delegate count. Take cover, this is about to get ugly! Obama appears to be ready for an all out assault on Clinton. He is looking for the KNOCK-OUT PUNCH! I am betting this will be the hottest weeks of mud slinging we have seen yet. With Nancy Pelosi telling us there will be no "Dream Ticket" , then there no reason to play nice. Do you think this will take Clinton out of the race? Are you one of those that like to watch this showdown at high noon? Will this help McCain when it is all said and done?