As Candidates Focus on Economy, Clinton Defends Gas Tax Plan

Publication: The Washington Post

Author: Dan Balz and Peter Slevin

05/02/2008 - With polls showing signs of erosion in his candidacy, Sen. Barack Obama sought Thursday to shift the focus of the Democratic campaign away from the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. and back to the economy and his dispute with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton over her proposal to suspend the federal tax on gasoline.

Clinton stood her ground on the gas tax proposal, which has drawn widespread criticism from economists and some Democratic leaders. The senator from New York said that, even though long-term measures are needed to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, it is essential to demonstrate to hard-pressed consumers that elected leaders recognize the strains they are under now.

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A flurry of new polls indicated that Obama has been damaged over the past month, although they also show that Clinton continues to have vulnerabilities in a general election.

A Pew Research Center survey showed a "modest but consistent decline in Obama's personal image," according to Andrew Kohut, the center's director. Clinton's lead among white voters who did not attend college is now 40 percentage points, up 10 points in a month.

Read the full article As Candidates Focus on Economy, Clinton Defends Gas Tax Plan on the Washington Post's Web site

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