Iowa Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama on Monday disavowed a memo criticizing rival Hillary Rodham Clinton's financial ties to India, blaming his campaign staff for a "dumb mistake."
In an interview with The Associated Press, Obama labeled the memo and its headline - "Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab) - as "unnecessarily caustic." The memo had referred to Bill and Hillary Clintons' investments in India; her fundraising among Indian-Americans; and the former president's $300,000 in speech fees from Cisco, a company that has moved U.S. jobs to India.
"It was a dumb mistake on our campaign's part and I made it clear to my staff in no uncertain terms that it was a mistake," Obama told the AP in a brief interview."
The memo has created a furor in the Indian-American community and raised questions about Obama's claims that he is above attack politics epitomized by secretly distributing opposition research about a rival.
Last Thursday, Obama's campaign sent the memo to reporters, demanding that it not be attributed to their campaign. The Clinton campaign got a copy and sent it to reporters.