BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ Hillary Clinton said Friday that critics of the Clinton-Gore ticket should recall the late Republican party chairman Lee Atwater's dying apologies for heartless campaign tactics.

Mrs. Clinton recalled that Atwater, after he was stricken with brain cancer, said he was sorry for the campaign tactics used in 1988 against Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis and in other earlier campaigns.

''He actually apologized to some of those against whom he ran those campaigns, and he called for more brotherhood and more of a sense of togetherness in America,'' Mrs. Clinton told reporters after addressing a student-voter rally at the University of Colorado.

''I don't see why we have to wait until we're at death's door to hear that kind of message.''

Mrs. Clinton called Republican criticisms of her ''kind of a cynical effort to distract peoples' attention from the real issues of the campaign.''

Republican critics have accused her of advocating lawsuits by children against their parents and of putting her career ahead of family.