(INDEPENDENCE, Missouri) (Reuters) – Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama rejected questions about his patriotism on Monday even as he drew fire for a supporter’s attack on Republican rival John McCain’s military record.

Obama kicked off the week leading up to the July 4 Independence Day celebration with a broad-ranging speech extolling American virtues. He said questions about patriotism were a poisonous remnant of the 1960s culture wars.

The Illinois senator also took another step to heal party divisions, speaking to former President Bill Clinton for about 20 minutes by telephone from Kansas City just days after campaigning for the first time with defeated rival Hillary Clinton, the former first lady.

The former president raised questions last week about how committed he was to Obama’s success when he delivered a speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors and barely mentioned the Democratic presidential contender.

The Obama campaign described Monday’s conversation as terrific and said the Illinois senator asked Clinton to campaign for him, which the former president appeared excited to do.

“He has always believed that Bill Clinton is one of this nation’s great leaders and most brilliant minds, and looks forward to seeing him on the campaign trail and receiving his counsel in the months to come,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said.

Obama better hope that Bill Clinton is more successful in promoting Obama then he was in promoting Hillary for the nomination!! One more judgment error??