Video: Time for election-year war of words

updated 1/18/2006 1:23:55 AM ET 2006-01-18T06:23:55

A day after Hillary Clinton blasted the Bush administration and compared the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to a plantation, Republicans said Tuesday that the New York senator was out of line.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said that Clinton “was probably a little over the top,” NBC News reported. He also said that having never run a plantation, he was unsure Clinton was implying, but “if she was trying to be racist, that is unfortunate.”

Clinton said on Monday had said Bush’s administration was “one of the worst” in U.S. history and said the House “has been run like a plantation, and you know what I’m talking about.”

She said the House “has been run in a way so that nobody with a contrary view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument, to be heard.”

White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said Tuesday that Clinton was “out of bounds.”

Former Vice President Al Gore also attacked Republicans on Monday, calling Bush’s domestic wiretap program “a threat to the very structure of our government.”

Asked about the criticism coming from the two high-profile Democrats on the same day, McClellan said, “Well, I think we know, one tends to like or enjoy grabbing headlines; the other one — sounds like the political season may be starting early.”

Clinton is running for re-election this year.

Clinton apologizes on behalf of government
Speaking during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event, Clinton offered an apology to a group of Hurricane Katrina survivors “on behalf of a government that left you behind, that turned its back on you.”

Her remarks were met with thunderous applause by a mostly black audience at the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem.

“We have a culture of corruption, we have cronyism, we have incompetence,” she said. “I predict to you that this administration will go down in history as one of the worst that has ever governed our country.”

RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said: “On a day when Americans are focused on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Hillary Clinton is focused on the legacy of Hillary Clinton.”

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