Who's nervous now?

After claiming that personal attacks were a sign of desperation, the Clinton campaign finds the shoe on the other foot.

Published December 3, 2007 1:21PM (EST)

When John Edwards went after Hillary Clinton on her fundraising tactics in September, the Clinton campaign responded with a statement in which it said that "increasingly negative attacks" wouldn't be enough to "turn around John Edwards' flagging campaign."

When Barack Obama went after Clinton on Iran in October, the Clinton campaign responded with a statement in which it said that Obama was "abandoning the politics of hope and embracing the same old attack politics as his support stagnates."

When the Edwards campaign went after Clinton on Iraq, Social Security and immigration in November, the Clinton campaign responded with a statement in which it suggested that Edwards was "launching false attacks on fellow Democrats" because "his campaign has stalled."

Goose, meet gander.

After Clinton personally launched a personal attack on Obama in Iowa Sunday -- she said that it's "beginning to look a lot like" Obama has a character problem, then accused him of not giving a "straight answer on healthcare" and running "on ethics" while having "at least skirted if not violated FEC rules" and using "lobbyists and PAC money to do so" -- Obama struck back with a page out of the Clinton playbook: "I think that folks from some of the other campaigns are reading the polls and starting to get stressed and issuing a whole range of outlandish accusations," he said.

In a new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll released Sunday, Obama is up six points since October while Clinton is down four. Obama now leads Clinton 28-25 percent -- it's within the margin of error -- with Edwards trailing at 23 percent.

Update: The Clinton campaign is pushing back with news of two more polls from Iowa. A new AP-Pew poll has Clinton leading Obama by five points in Iowa, which, given the 5.5 point margin of error, AP is calling "essentially tied." And a new Iowa State University poll reportedly has Clinton up by seven over Edwards and by 11 over Obama, with a six-point margin of error.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama Hillary Rodham Clinton John Edwards War Room