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Bill Clinton complains about Obama's attacks

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  • Ex-President Clinton speaks out in latest back-and-forth between campaigns
  • BET founder Bob Johnson seems to criticize past drug use by Barack Obama
  • Obama supporter calls on Hillary Clinton to disavow Johnson's comments
  • Clinton accuses Obama camp of distorting her remarks on civil rights
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(CNN) -- Former President Clinton on Monday complained about attacks from Sen. Barack Obama on Sen. Hillary Clinton in the latest back-and-forth bickering between the two rival Democratic presidential campaigns.

Obama accuses Clinton of rewriting history in her complaints about his voting record on Iraq.

"I've got before me a list of 80 attacks on Hillary that are quite personal by Sen. Obama and his campaign going back six months that I've had pulled," he said, speaking to CNN contributor Roland Martin on WVON-AM's "The Roland S. Martin Show" based in Chicago, Illinois.

At a campaign rally Monday in Reno, Nevada, Obama said he is "concerned about the tenor the campaign has taken in the last couple days."

"I think that I may disagree with Sen. Clinton or Sen. Edwards on how to get things done, but we share the same goals. We're all democrats, we all believe in civil rights, we all believe in equal rights," said Obama.

"I think they're good people, they are patriots and they are running because they think they can lead this country to a better place and I don't want the campaign in this stage to degenerate into so much tit-for-tat back-and-forth that we lose sight of why all of us are doing this."

Obama also warned his supporters to play fair.

"If I hear my own supporters engaging in talk that I think is ungenerous or misleading or in some way is unfair then I will speak out forcefully against them and I hope the other campaigns take the same approach," he said.

A recording of comments Sunday by Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson that appeared to criticize Obama's admitted past drug use were played on Martin's show.

Johnson later said he was referring to Obama's community organizing efforts.

"When you listen to that tone and the inflection, he was not talking about community organizing. It seemed to be very clear what he was implying," Martin said.

The former president said Johnson needs to be "taken at his word," adding that "nobody knew" what he would say and "it wasn't part of any planned strategy." Video Watch Martin's take on the interview »

"This, to me, is another example of [the Obama campaign] wanting a double standard," he said. Video Watch the latest on the war of words »

Clinton went on to say comments from Obama's campaign in the aftermath of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination were "a lot worse" than what Johnson said.

Obama's campaign implied that some of Hillary Clinton's foreign policy decisions helped exacerbate problems in Pakistan.

The ex-president called the attack "appalling" and said his wife did not try to turn it into a larger issue, but instead "said 'I disagree' and moved on."

Hillary Clinton did respond then, saying she regretted that Obama's campaign "would be politicizing this tragedy, and especially at a time when we do need to figure out a way forward."

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Johnson, a Hillary Clinton supporter, made his remarks Sunday at Columbia College in South Carolina, a state with a large share of African-American voters that holds its Democratic primary on January 26.

Hillary Clinton also has accused Obama's campaign of distorting recent remarks by her and her husband that have touched off concerns among some African-American voters.

Johnson said he has held fund-raisers for Obama but was unhappy with criticisms of the former first lady by Obama's campaign.

"As an African-American, I'm frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Bill and Hillary Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood that -- I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book," Johnson said while campaigning at the largely black Northminster Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina.

In Obama's recently reprinted 1995 book, "Dreams from My Father," the future presidential candidate writes he was once headed in the direction of a "junkie" and a "pothead."

In December, Clinton personally apologized to Obama after her New Hampshire campaign co-chairman raised the issue. The adviser resigned amid the controversy that followed.

Johnson later Sunday said his remarks referred "to Barack Obama's time spent as a community organizer, and nothing else. Any other suggestion is simply irresponsible and incorrect."

The Clinton and Obama camps are locked in an increasingly heated battle for black voters in South Carolina. Video Watch what race has to do with the Democratic nomination »

Former South Carolina state Rep. "I.S." Leevy Johnson, an Obama supporter, called on Hillary Clinton to disavow Johnson's remarks.

"It's offensive that Sen. Clinton literally stood by and said nothing as another one of her campaign's top supporters launched a personal, divisive attack on Barack Obama," he said in a statement released by Obama's campaign. "For someone who decries the politics of personal destruction, she should've immediately denounced these attacks on the spot."

Sunday's flare-up capped a weekend of sparring between the two camps that began with Clinton's comments last week that while the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led the civil rights movement, "Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took a president to get it done." Video Watch what Clinton says about Obama, King and the civil rights movement »

Some African-American leaders criticized the remarks as dismissive of the civil rights movement and of King, who was assassinated in 1968. On Sunday, Obama described Clinton's comments as "ill-advised" but rejected any suggestion that his campaign has been behind the complaints.

"For them to somehow suggest that we're interjecting race as a consequence of a statement she made, that we haven't commented on, is pretty hard to figure out," he said.

And the third leading Democrat, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, said Clinton was suggesting "that real change ... came not through the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King but through a Washington politician." Edwards won the South Carolina primary in 2004.

Speaking Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Clinton said Obama's backers were distorting her remarks and called King "one of the people I admire most in the world."

And Sunday, at the Presbyterian church, Clinton said it was "historic" that both a black man and a woman were serious contenders for the White House.

"I am so proud of my party. I am so proud of my country, and I am so proud of Sen. Barack Obama because together we have presented our cases to the people," she said.

Obama also accused her of "rewriting" history in her complaints about his voting record on Iraq.


Former President Clinton last week criticized Obama's statements over the years about Iraq, arguing the senator has not been consistent.

Obama has said his positions are consistent and that he has always staunchly opposed the war. "She started her campaign saying she wanted to make history and has been spending a lot of time rewriting it," he said Sunday. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Josh Levs contributed to this report.

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