RYE, N.H. (AP) _ Presidential hopeful Barack Obama opened a two-day offensive against Republican Sens. John Sununu and Judd Gregg, telling New Hampshire voters on Friday their senators should do more to end the war.
Obama, an Illinois Democrat, told a town hall audience in Rye that Sununu, Gregg and 14 other Republican senators are the main roadblocks to ending the unpopular war in Iraq. Obama backs a plan that would give the Democratic-controlled Congress more control over the war's finances and begin a troop redeployment before President Bush leaves office.
``We are 16 votes short from bringing this war to a close,'' Obama said. ``One of the things that everybody has to do is to help generate those 16 votes. You've got a couple of senators here in New Hampshire.''
Although Obama did not name the senators, some in the audience hissed and groaned.
``They need to recognize that our troops have performed valiantly, but it is now time for them to come home,'' Obama said.
Sununu is up for re-election in 2008 and a top target of Democrats. Spokeswomen for Sununu and Gregg did not immediately respond to messages seeking responses on Friday evening.
Obama also targeted Gregg and Sununu during a town hall meeting in Nashua last month. The criticism will be part of Saturday's statewide canvass. While knocking on voters' doors, an anticipated 1,500 volunteers will circulate a petition that asks Sununu and Gregg to change their vote and support a war-ending measure.
``The only way we're going to make that happen is by having people speaking out _ speaking out vigorously and forcefully,'' Obama said.
It's not the first time Obama has criticized a Republican Senate colleague. Earlier this month, he took a shot at Iowa's Sen. Charles Grassley in his home state.
``I respect him greatly,'' Obama told an audience at Indianaloa's Simpson College. ``But I said then and I say now that he needs to hear from you and people across Iowa who understand that it's time to change course.''
Obama has made his opposition to the war in Iraq a central tenet of his campaign. He faced criticism after those comments, including from Grassley.
Later Friday evening, Obama was scheduled to address a group of New Hampshire lawyers. Reporters were not allowed inside, and the New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association refused to sell tickets to a reporter.