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Clinton pulls out when told Palin is invited too

September 17, 2008|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has canceled an appearance at a New York rally next week after organizers blindsided her by inviting Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, aides to the senator said Tuesday.

Several American Jewish groups plan a major rally outside the United Nations on Sept. 22 to protest against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Organizers said Tuesday that both Clinton, who lost a hard-fought campaign for the Democratic nomination for president, and Alaska Gov. Palin were expected to attend.

That would have set up a closely scrutinized and potentially explosive pairing in the midst of a presidential campaign, one in which the New York senator is campaigning for Democratic nominee Barack Obama while Palin actively courts disappointed Clinton supporters for the GOP ticket headed by John McCain.

Clinton aides were furious. They first learned from reporters of the plan to have both women appear.

"Her attendance was news to us, and this was never billed to us as a partisan political event," Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines said. "Sen. Clinton will therefore not be attending."

A McCain-Palin campaign official, speaking on condition of anonymity because Palin's schedule for Sept. 22 has not been announced, said only that the vice presidential candidate tentatively planned to attend the rally.

Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations did not immediately return messages seeking comment, nor did other organizers of the event.

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