Foes Tag Obama With L-Word

Critics say new-style candidate is an old-style liberal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2008 8:59 AM CDT
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., shakes hands with supporters before he speaks at a town hall meeting in Medford, Ore., Saturday, March 22, 2008.    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama's campaign says the candidate is beyond labels but the senator's critics think they've found one that fits: liberal. The McCain campaign has branded the candidate an "old-style liberal," while the Clintonites say Obama's positions could alienate moderates—and wonder how the candidate National Journal rated as 2007's most liberal senator could be a unifier.

The liberal tag has sunk Democratic hopefuls before—most recently John Kerry—but many think Obama is the right candidate for a race where the old labels don't quite cover the issues. "What's conservative about invading Iraq? What's conservative about a $400 billion deficit?" asked 1988 Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis, also branded with the L-word. "The terms have lost their meaning."