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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2007, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
'Tired' Obama makes tornado gaffe
Barack Obama
Barack Obama later appeared to attribute his gaffe to "tiredness"
In a campaign slip-up, US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama dramatically overstated the number killed by recent tornadoes in Kansas.

"In case you missed it, this week there was a tragedy in Kansas," he said, adding that 10,000 people had died.

The true number of people killed was 12. Mr Obama later appeared to blame tiredness for the gaffe.

Senator Hillary Clinton currently enjoys a double digit lead over Mr Obama in national opinion polls.

A spokesman later said Mr Obama had meant to say "at least 10" instead of 10,000.

During his speech the Democratic senator from Illinois did however appear to realise his mistake.

"There are going to be times when I get tired," he said. "There are going to be times when I get weary. There are going to be times when I make mistakes."

Recovery 'slowed'

Twelve people are known to have died across the state of Kansas when it was struck by a series of storms over the weekend.

At least 10 of the dead were in the town of Greensburg, which was almost entirely flattened by a particularly powerful tornado.

At a campaign rally on Tuesday in Richmond, Virginia, Mr Obama said the Bush administration's war in Iraq had affected the response to the tornadoes.

"Turns out that the National Guard in Kansas only had 40 percent of its equipment and they are having to slow down the recovery process in Kansas," Mr Obama said.

He was echoing remarks made by Kansas' Democratic governor Kathleen Sebelius, who had said the residents of Greensburg had suffered because of a lack of military equipment for the recovery.

"I don't think there is any question if you are missing trucks, Humvees and helicopters that the response is going to be slower," she said.

A White House spokesman hit back at the criticism, saying there was enough such equipment in other parts of the country to come to any state's aid.

The Democrats and Republicans are currently rowing over funding for the war in Iraq. All the Democratic candidates are united in their call for withdrawing troops.

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