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Clinton, Obama Clash on Plagiarism, Policy

Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton speak after participating in a debate at the University of Texas on Thursday.
Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton speak after participating in a debate at the University of Texas on Thursday.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, hoping to find a chink in rival Sen. Barack Obama's armor, reiterated at their latest debate an accusation that the Illinois senator had plagiarized one of his speeches. The two Democratic presidential hopefuls also disagreed on foreign policy and health care.

The candidates' next-to-last debate before facing off in what could be make-or-break primaries in Texas and Ohio on March 4 was held Thursday night at the University of Texas at Austin. The meeting was sponsored by CNN and Univision.

Clinton ridiculed Obama as the candidate of "change you can Xerox," referring to her rival's recent use in his campaign speeches of words first uttered by his friend, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Obama dismissed the charge and countered that, "What we shouldn't be spending time doing is tearing each other down. We should be spending time lifting the country up."

The two disagreed on how they would respond to a change in government in Cuba in the wake of Fidel Castro's resignation. Clinton said she would refuse to sit down with incoming President Raul Castro until he implements political and economic reforms; Obama said he would meet "without preconditions."

The two Democrats also sparred over health care, with Clinton saying repeatedly that Obama's plan would leave 15 million Americans uncovered.

Clinton has lost 11 straight presidential-nominating contests and trails Obama in the hunt for convention delegates by 1,264 to 1,358.5. It takes 2,025 to win the Democratic nomination.

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