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Obama’s Backfiring Oppo

On June 14, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s  research staff compiled public disclosures and statements linking Obama’s chief rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), to technology companies that use offshore labor (see below), and to a lobbying organization that promotes U.S.-India relations. In the title of the Obama campaign report, Sen. Clinton is referred to as “D-PUNJAB” (see below). This gibe is echoed (see Page 2) in the repetition of a light remark made at a Clinton fundraiser hosted last year by Sikh supporter Rajwant Singh.

The report highlights 2-year-old criticisms of Clinton by a now- defunct group opposed to offshore labor (Page 2), Clinton’s ties to an Indian-surnamed financial contributor and supporter facing legal and tax difficulties, and Clinton’s support of Mumbai-based Tata Consultancy Services (Page 3) for opening a Buffalo, N.Y., training center. Sanjay Puri, a board member of another outsourcing company and chairman of the lobbying group cited in the report, quickly  wrote Obama wondering “if indeed your staff is promoting these hurtful stereotypes … ”

Obama’s campaign “regretted the tone that parts of the document took,” and the candidate posted an apology on the campaign Web site South Asians for Obama: “The memo’s caustic tone, and its focus on contributions by Indian-Americans to the Clinton campaign, was potentially hurtful.” Clinton’s campaign  made copies of the oppo memo available to the press but ”declined to make an official comment.” The Republican National Committee wasted no time publicizing the clash between the top two Democratic presidential campaigns.

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