Barack Obama accused Democratic presidential rival Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday of trying to walk away from a long record of support for NAFTA, the free trade agreement that he said has cost 50,000 jobs in Ohio, site of next week's primary.
At the same time, he said attempts to repeal the trade deal "would probably result in more job losses than job gains in the United States."
Ralph Nader said Sunday he will run for president as a third-party candidate, criticizing the top White House contenders as too close to big business and pledging to repeat a bid that will "shift the power from the few to the many."
Nader, 73, said most people are disenchanted with the Democratic and Republican parties due to a prolonged Iraq war and a shaky economy. The consumer advocate also blamed tax and other corporate-friendly policies under the Bush administration that he said have left many lower- and middle-class people in debt.
Hillary Rodham Clinton angrily accused her Democratic rival Saturday of deliberately misrepresenting her positions on NAFTA and health care in mass mailings to voters, adding, "Shame on you, Barack Obama."
Clutching two of Obama campaign mailings in her hand for emphasis, the former first lady said, "enough with the speeches and the big rallies and then using tactics that are right out of Karl Rove's playbook."
Sen. Barack Obama said Saturday that the Republican presidential nominee in waiting, Sen. John McCain, has lobbyists as top aides and "many of them have been running their business on the campaign bus while they've been helping him."
The Democratic presidential hopeful also said McCain's health care plans reflect "the agenda of the drug and insurance lobbyists, who back his campaign and use money and influence to block real health care reform."
Sen. Barack Obama's refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin along with a photo of him not putting his hand over his heart during the National Anthem led conservatives on Internet and in the media to question his patriotism.
Now Obama's wife, Michelle, has drawn their ire, too, for saying recently that she's really proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.
Conservative consultants say that combined, the cases could be an issue for Obama in the general election if he wins the nomination, especially as he runs against Vietnam war hero Sen. John McCain.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's must-win states of Ohio and Texas are no cakewalk for her, largely because independents and crossover Republicans are welcome to vote in their Democratic primaries.
The political calendar of late winter has been less than kind to the embattled presidential contender, who once figured that a big day in early February would affirm her march to the presidential nomination and the rest would be icing.
Instead, it's been slippery ice at every turn, and Ohio and Texas contests on March 4 matter greatly, crucial tests in her big-state fallback strategy.
Winning the delegates wasn't enough. Now the Democrats running for president must keep them from straying. The party's arcane system of caucuses and conventions has both campaigns working to keep delegates they had already claimed in Nevada, Iowa, Kansas and elsewhere.
At stake: 172 delegates in nine states, enough to shift the balance of the entire race. The Associated Press has awarded 109 of those delegates to Sen. Barack Obama, who has fared well in caucus states. The rest went to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The Democratic superdelegates are starting to follow the voters — straight to Barack Obama.
In just the past two weeks, more than two dozen of them have climbed aboard his presidential campaign, according to a survey by The Associated Press. At the same time, Hillary Rodham Clinton's are beginning to jump ship, abandoning her for Obama or deciding they now are undecided.
The result: He's narrowing her once-commanding lead among these "superdelegates," the Democratic office holders and party officials who automatically attend the national convention and can vote for whomever they choose.
As Obama has reeled off 11 straight primary victories, some of the superdelegates are having second — or third — thoughts about their public commitments.
In a vapid attempt either to rescue sagging circulations or pander to Hillary Rodham Clinton or merely expose to the world how little they know about Hispanics, major U.S. newspapers have trumpeted a brown-vs.-black rift that has never really existed.
Supposedly, Latinos despise blacks, and for that reason are flocking to Clinton.
Hillary Rodham Clinton has told Providence Mayor David Cicilline, her former state campaign chair, that he is barred from attending her Rhode Island appearance Sunday for fear that his presence would cause disruptive protests by the firefighters union.
Cicilline said he will stay away on Sunday, but this may cause him to question his support for the New York senator, who he has stumped for locally and in New Hampshire during that state's presidential primary.