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Monday, May 19, 2008

As Clinton chances wane, old slights come due

Some prominent Democrats recall past grievances

By Susan Milligan Globe Staff

WASHINGTON - When Democratic superdelegate Jim Cooper, a Tennessee congressman, pondered the choice between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, his thoughts wandered back to 1993. That year, Clinton was trying to change the nation's health system, and Cooper, a moderate Democrat, had a bipartisan healthcare bill of his own that, unlike Clinton's proposal, did not require employers to provide health coverage.

The president's wife, Cooper recalled, was determined to stop her fellow Democrat. "She set up a war room in the White House to defeat me," he said.

Like many superdelegates, Cooper insists that his endorsement of Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination was driven by Obama's inspiring message. But the Tennessee lawmaker's past disputes with Clinton and her husband certainly made the decision easier.

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