Hillary Clinton Follows Reagan's 11th Commandment

Jon Perr

In what many in the GOP came to view as the 11th Commandment, Ronald Reagan famously said," Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican." Hillary Clinton, it would now appear, is taking his advice to heart. Not content to merely lambast the supposed inexperience of Barack Obama, Clinton's scorched-earth campaign has lavished praise on John McCain as the embodiment of a commander-in-chief. Desperate to resurrect her once-fading candidacy, it is Hillary Clinton who has sadly emerged as the embodiment of Reagan's Law.

The cries of foul from Obama supporters notwithstanding, Clinton's "3 AM" ad in the run-up to the March 4th primaries was within the usual bounds of primary competition. (Whether, of course, Senator Clinton is any more qualified to pick up that proverbial phone is another matter.) Like Walter Mondale in 1984, the former frontrunner called into question her surging opponent's national security experience and credibility.

But in branding Republican nominee John McCain as the gold standard for 21st century wartime presidents, Hillary Clinton crossed the Rubicon. Her descent from lampooning Obama into party disloyalty came swiftly.

On March 1, Clinton first moved beyond her long-time staple that was ready "on day one" to be commander-in-chief:

"I think you'll be able to imagine many things Senator McCain will be able to say. He's never been the president, but he will put forth his lifetime of experience. I will put forth my lifetime of experience. Senator Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002."

Thursday, Mrs. Clinton was even more aggressive in making her "threshold" argument. Defining commander-in-chief qualifications as a mythical combination of longevity in Washington and proximity to national security decisionmakers, Clinton contended that she alone could match McCain in clearing the bar. Apparently no longer "honored" to be competing with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton instead lauded Republican John McCain as a "distinguished man with a great history of service to our country." As the Chicago Tribune detailed:

"I think that since we now know Sen. (John) McCain will be the nominee for the Republican Party, national security will be front and center in this election. We all know that. And I think it's imperative that each of us be able to demonstrate we can cross the commander-in-chief threshold," the New York senator told reporters crowded into an infant's bedroom-sized hotel conference room in Washington.

"I believe that I've done that. Certainly, Sen. McCain has done that and you'll have to ask Sen. Obama with respect to his candidacy," she said.

A month ago, I took Senator Obama to task for making an electability argument that implied he and his supporters might not rally to Hillary Clinton should he lose the nomination. But Obama's was a minor sin of presentation, of omission.

In comparison, Hillary Clinton's is a venal sin of commission. Facing the abyss just days ago, Clinton, as conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer put it, dropped "the atomic bomb."

Among his many platitudes, Ronald Reagan often declared, "A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought." When it comes to the Democratic presidential nomination, that's one Reagan mantra Hillary Clinton is only too happy to ignore. In her ever more aggressive campaign against Barack Obama, Clinton, to borrow another Cold War analogy, is risking mutual assured destruction.

Comments

  • LFG (unverified)
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    If Obama (and his followers) cannot deal with Clinton's jabs and critiques now, what are he and they going to do when the Republican smear machine goes after him?

    Yes, she is doing some things I don't particularly like either. But, Obama's campaign and his followers having a case of the vapors each time her campaign says something critical (each typically with an element of truth) about him is getting tiresome. If he cannot easily deal with such issues now, he will be slaughtered in the fall.

  • Stacy6 (unverified)
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    If Obama (and his followers) cannot deal with Clinton's jabs and critiques now, what are he and they going to do when the Republican smear machine goes after him?

    That's not the point. Obama will be far less constrained in his responses to McCain and the GOP attack machine. The point is that ultimately Obama and Clinton are supposed to be on the same team. The ultimate goal is supposed to be for the Democratic party to win the White House in November. And Clinton's vile smear tactics are going to make that very difficult, no matter who wins the primary. Very likely, it's going to be Obama. Clinton has handed ammunition to the GOP that wouldn't have existed otherwise, i.e., "even Senator Hillary Clinton doesn't believe Obama is ready - Vote McCain!".

    You're not supposed to cripple a member of your own team. You have to keep your eyes on the ultimate goal and the greater good. Obama is acting responsibly, trying to ensure that whoever wins the Democratic nomination will be able to face McCain. Clinton is not. She is acting with complete and selfish abandon. It couldn't be more obvious that she doesn't care what happens if she doesn't win.

  • Opinionated (unverified)
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    Ever since the Super Tuesday II results, Obama campaign seems to have lost steam, while Hillary keeps moving on. Its called perseverence and stamina. That comes with experience. She knows how to fight back. Obama was riding the wave - surfs no longer up...

    I have a strong opinion about this!

  • Peter Bray (unverified)
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    Give it a rest and stop being so holier than thou. We are not Republicans, nor should we take lessons or "commandments" from Ronald Reagan.

    Obama's experience is a real issue. Clinton absolutely should raise that issue. And she should absolutely raise it in the context of a general election. Indeed, she suggests that voters, come November, will face the choice, if Obama is nominated, between an experienced veteran and, well, some dude from Chicago who won a grammy.

    This is an important consideration for Democratic primary voters, to whom Clinton is speaking.

  • (Show?)

    I'm not sure if I agree that Obama has lost steam.

    1) He won Wyoming. 2) He's tightened what was a 20 point lead for Clinton in Pennsylvania to just 6 points. 3) He raised more money than God in the last quarter (or, at least more money than her). 4) He's projected to easily win Mississippi and North Carolina.

    She's trying to claim momentum, but in the big picture, she's still deeply in trouble.

    Remember just a few months ago, when she was the assumed nominee? Now he has more delegates, more popular votes, more money, and more big time endorsements. The Grammy is nice, too, but such an insignificant point that even he's making fun of it.

  • BCM (unverified)
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    Hillary's 'lifetime' of experience is a canard, so for her to suggest that it's equal to John McCain's lifetime of experience is almost criminally misleading. Hypothetically, if she were to face McCain in a general election, and she was running on her 'experience,' our hopes for a Dem in the White House will have been extinguished. He has around 60 years of service to the US! It's just laughably ignorant to think that her 'experience' will make her a better candidate against him. Experience is a losing issue for Dems in 08'.

  • Jon (unverified)
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    Peter,

    As I said above, Clinton critiquing Obama's experience is perfectly legitimate. Praising John McCain is another matter altogether.

    Clinton didn't merely validate her Republican opponent. She is essence gave weight to a man whose judgment, temperament, inability to grasp history and distburbing policy pronouncements make him a dangerous choice as Commander-in-Chief.

  • Ed H (unverified)
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    It's Clinton who can't take what might be thrown at her. The Clintons and Republicans have already thrown out the worse at Obama. The leaked photo, the middle name, the Rezko association innuendo and all the other internet rumors. Now everyone has heard the old dirt about the Clintons. But how do you think people will feel if it were brought up again and again. As Edwards said, over time people tend to forget the worse and be sentimental about the past. But having to stare at it again will shock them out of that fantasy. Journalist and the Democrats have not really brought this up. Do you think the Republicans will be so hesitant? Also, how will the younger generation who don't fully appreciate what a corrupt person she is will view her.

    But that was in the past. What about newer issues that haven't been fully addressed, like the Clinton library donors, her taxes, Bill's dealings overseas? The Republicans will have a field day with this.

    Say what you want about Obama, but he's honorable in my book not to use the wealth of dirt on the Clintons.

  • (Show?)

    The point is not that Hillary is saying she is more qualified to be President than Obama. It's that she has said that she and John McCain are both more qualified to be President than Obama, an event which Hillary supporters thus far seem perfectly content to ignore.

    If Obama wins the nomination, those statements will fit neatly into a 30 second tv spot for McCain. I can't begin to detail how totally inappropriate they are. The ideological differences between Obama and Clinton pale in comparison to the differences between them and McCain. Hillary is running for President because she allegedly has some beliefs that she would like to act upon when in office. However, she has proved that she is willing to sacrifice our party's and our ideals' chances for success this year for the fulfillment of her own personal ambition. As Gary Hart noted, she's essentially stating that if she is not the nominee, Democrats should lose the election.

  • joesixpack (unverified)
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    The point is - if Democrats want to lose in November they'll have Clinton as their nominee. She cannot pickup the independents and even loses some Democrats.

    It may not be fair, but she's too polarizing a figure and simple can't win.

    If you want the next 2-3 supreme court justices to be anti-choice McCain nominees - support Hillary.

    Good thing for Republicans that the Democrats can be so idiotic - especially at the level of presidential politics.

    Clinton is older and more experienced, but she's also less mature and more polarizing than Obama. Obama is a class act and is the right candidate at this time.

    I hope we don't watch the Dems. snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2008.

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)
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    So in the past week she has gone from someone I would gladly vote for if she won the nomination.......hell I'd vote for any living, breathing Democrat over any republican......to someone I have actively begun to dislike and someone I could not vote for in the general election. Way to go girl! I hope she gets stomped in the primaries. She's gone so far over the line with her attacks on Obama and her praise of McCain. It sounds like she'd like to be on the McCain/Clinton ticket.

    I've defended her in the past, but now she's living up to all the bad things people have said about her over the years. She is not qualified and does not deserve to be the Democratic Party nominee for President. I am very disappointed in her.

  • (Show?)

    Hillary just pounded the last nail in her coffin. She tacked right when the entire rest of the country is upset that the Democrats aren't pushing back more strongly to the left.

    Personally, I'm not struck by anger as much as I am sadness. She really was a breakthrough candidate in a number of ways. It's unfortunate to see her end in such an ignominious fashion. She won't ever win - in 2008 or 2012 - at the top of the ticket.

    All that said, it's now water under the bridge. Obama and his team need to come up with their own 30 second ad not running away from his thoughtfulness on foreign policy, but embracing and defending it.

  • me (unverified)
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    Sounds like Clinton wants to be McCain's VP.

  • joel (unverified)
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    Peter Bray: Obama's experience is a real issue. Clinton absolutely should raise that issue. And she should absolutely raise it in the context of a general election. Indeed, she suggests that voters, come November, will face the choice, if Obama is nominated, between an experienced veteran and, well, some dude from Chicago who won a grammy.

    Hullary Clinton: a career as a lawyer, then resident of the White House doing, well, you decide, then 7 years as a US senator.

    Barack Obama: lawyering, 8 years as a state legislator in Illinois, 3 years as a US senator.

    Abraham Lincoln: lawyering, military service, 8 years as a state legislator in Illinois, 2 years in the US House of Representatives.

    I suppose Peter Bray can tell us whether or not Abraham Lincoln ever won a Grammy; his Wikipedia entry doesn't cover this.

  • davidg (unverified)
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    Electability is a constant theme on BO. Many raise it in support of their favorite US Senate or POTUS candidate. It is a fair issue. But it is as appropriate for HRC to raise it in the context of experience as anyone else. That is what she is doing when she talks about the experience issue. Unfortunately for her, she doesn't have much in the way of qualifications on the experience issue either.

    D's are not going to win the election for POTUS in November on the experience issue. D's will win if they focus on the issue that won for them in 2006: the Iraq war.

    Surprisingly, McCain seems successfully able to intimidate both Barack and Hillary on the war issue. His new angle seems to be "we don't want to throw away what has been achieved in Iraq." Hillary and Barack must explain why the achievements to date are worthless and we must still withdraw. Their inability to articulate that position forcefully will concede the one issue that they could win on.

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    Joel,

    Very good points -- but don't forget community organizer. Obama has on-the-ground grassroots, local experience, working with people for hours and days and months at a time, trying to help them solve their problems. Issues like welfare reform, food stamps, health care, tax policy and urban reform are not just words on a piece of paper for him -- he's looked this all in the face.

  • (Show?)

    There is nothing Hillary said about Obama that is factually incorrect or half as reprehensible as the following smears that Obama fired at Hillary early on, including "Bush/Cheney Lite", which is not only a terrible insult among democrats but a label that even Republicans would avoid.

    Sorry, I see a lot of whining here and a campaign that can dish it out but can't take it. Hillary's distiction is one that will be made again and again in the general: McCain has a lifetime of service and experience and Obama doesn't.

    Before you deny this, realize that this was a strategic decision by the Obama campaign, spurred by "thinkers" like Daschle: if you run now you lack experience but you also don't have a record that others can examine, and your celebrity will surpass the experience issue. This is the central approach of the Obama campaign: that celebrity with an air of insurgency will trump experience. He's using it against Clinton, and good for her for pointing out that it will be just as much of a liability against McCain.

    If the Obama gamble is a winning one - if celebrity does indeed trump experience - then you have nothing to fear from Clinton's comments which, again, hardly compare to the character assaults the Obama camp has laid at her door all year long. But if her point prevails, better that it prevail now, and that we have her as a nominee, than that we nominate him and lose.

  • Harry K (unverified)
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    Nick Worth said: "The ideological differences between Obama and Clinton pale in comparison to the differences between them and McCain."

    Instead of talking about the horse race or fund-raising, if BO posters focused on what their candidates' policies really are, perhaps they would notice that Clinton and Obama have shown, within the past few days alone, greater support for Bush's South American policy than McCain (chavezfarcfake). Add to this the unanimous Dem support for H.Res.951 (endtheoccupation).

    There is a reason that McCain was Kerry's first choice for running mate, and it is the same reason that Lieberman was Gore's running mate. That reason is not that Democrats are "progressives".

    You are indeed on the verge of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory once again. Stop this worship of false idols and start demanding that your party move to the center.

  • (Show?)

    Chris,

    It isn't about dishing it out and taking it -- they are both playing politics. It's that Clinton is handing to McCain ready-made talking points and is trying to plant seeds of doubt about a fellow Democrat that McCain can harvest. By calling Clinton "Bush-Cheney lite," Obama isn't handing to McCain anything he can use (considering that he'd have to look in the mirror first).

    And Obama DOES have a lifetime of experience it's just that he is younger, which, btw, is a huge selling point among young folks who have traditionally under-voted in elections. Besides, older w/more experience doesn't mean better -- if it did, Bush One would have won, Dole would have won, Nixon would have beat Kennedy, etc., etc.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Clinton broke the Zell Miller rule, -Do no harm to another Democrat. She has crossed the line and even many Clinton supporters are appalled at what this reveals about her character and lack of regard for the party. Randi Rhodes puts forth the theory now that her agenda is, having realized she will not get the nomination in '08, intends to insure the McCain election in order to run in 2012 against an aged McCain. listen- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Moj_fYp6xMc

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    Bill R.

    That's the scariest thing I've read all day/week/month.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Hillary supporters don't seem to get this, a contrast of vision and policy is of meaning to Democratic voters, issues of electibility and coattails are issues. Playing up the Republican candidate and fanning flames of anger with DNC with inaccurate or out right lying statements do not present a Democratic candidate I am comfortbable with.

    If you pretend to back a Democratic candidate and propose to not back the opponent in Nov in a fit of pique I have no idea what it is you think you're supporting. I have reached a point of absolutely loathing Hillary but I'll pull her lever in Nov, not just holding my nose but fighting the gag reflex and being furious, but pulling it. You actually are willing to put this country through more Republicanism because "X" didn't win? I'm astonished at such an attitude.

  • (Show?)

    Kristin wrote "It's that Clinton is handing to McCain ready-made talking points"

    Have you even followed this campaign? Obama hasn't been handing ready-made talking points to the Repub-licans all season? Give me a break. Obama hasn't attacked on policy, he's attacked on trust, on character, on all these soft-non-debatable issues that accumumate like paper cuts and which can ONLY hurt Clinton against Republicans.

    In fact, the "insider", "establishment", "machine", "calculating" trash that Obama has talked against Clinton isn't just something the Republicans can use: it's something they HAVE USED. Obama has been breathtakingly ready to pick up Republican talking points all year - on Social Security, on health care (c'mon, really, bringing back Harry and Louise?), and in his fomenting of Hillary vilification (which, by the way, she does not deserve).

    Sorry, this still sounds like a lot of whining to me. And if you think McCain wasn't going to contrast his experience to Obama's lack thereof that's an indication of the relatively unprepared mindset that would embrace lightweight celebrity over experience - which is, precisely, what many of us think will cost Democrats the White House in November.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    The person at the top of this thread seems to think that when you're attacked, you should say nothing, or else you're whiny.

    Gee, that worked splendidly for John Kerry.

    And Opinionated seems to be living in the alternate universe where Hillary has a mathematical chance of winning. The reality is that the contest is over, and has been over for weeks now, but Hillary's not done attacking yet. Forget "perception," "momentum," and whatever other stories the media is selling ads with. The math says the nomination is done. And right now, Hillary's choosing Republican McCain over Democrat Obama.

    Also, Hillary has no foreign policy experience, other than supporting the Irish Republican Army, authorizing the use of force in Iraq, calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard "global terrorists" during a Global War on Terror, and other such disasters. Hillary has a record, not experience, and she should be embarrassed to bring it up.

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    Chris,

    Followed this campaign? Almost too obsessively. Are we talking about the same campaign? He has been bringing up areas of policy in which the two of them quite legitimately differ (and, by the way, I do actually like Clinton's health care plan better -- just not nearly enough to vote for her.) And do you think that "establishment," "insider," "machine," can't also be pinned on McCain? Again, he can't use any of Obama's points without looking first at himself in the mirror.

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    Chris - 3 Things

    First, Hillary said that she and McCain have both crossed the "commander in chief threshold, but you'll have to ask Senator Obama with respect to his candidacy", and said that she and McCain would both bring their lifetimes of experience to the White House, while Senator Obama would bring a speech that he made in 2002. When your entire campaign is centered on your "experience", and then you say that the Republican nominee has more experience than your Democratic opponent, you're saying that the Republican is better qualified to be President. Now, McCain obviously would use the experience argument with or without Hillary's statements, but it will make a great ad to quote from a prominent Democrat as to why McCain should be president over Obama.

    It's not that Hillary is making her argument for why she should be President, it's that she's making McCain's argument for him.

    Second, if experience was so important, we probably should have nominated Richardson or Biden. The fact is that experience is not our winning argument this year, McCain will argue that he is more experienced than either candidate

    Third, with all due respect, the Clinton campaign is not in a position to be accusing Obama supporters of whining. This from the campaign that faced with a streak of Obama wins started telling this sob story about how the media was biased and the cause of Obama's victories, rather than their own failures. Let's be honest, the media anointed Clinton the frontrunner years ago, the candidates that should be complaining are everyone other than Clinton, Obama, McCain, and Romney.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    Opinionated, but wrong.

    Obama has now won 29 contests to Hillary's 14.

    After Super Tuesday, Obama has lost steam? How can you even say that with a straight face. He won Louisana, Nebraska, Virgin Islands, Virginia, DC, Marlyand, Maine, Hawaii, Vermont, the Texas Caucus, and now Wyoming.

    There have been at least 25 superdelegates that have come over to his side since then as well. I don't think one superdelegate has committed to Hillary since Super Tuesday.

    According to most analysists, Hillary has to win the remaining contests with over 60% of the vote to catch Barack. That is not going to happen. Her chances will be even worse after Mississippi.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    Hillary Clinton simply won't win in November. Like it or not, folks, but the very argument she is hanging her hat on (experience), if taken seriously, suggests that people should vote for John McCain, who is much more experienced than she is. I intend to vote for him over her, should Obama lose, and I have never voted anything but Democrat for any political office since I started voting in 1978.

    But I guess it's just me who feels that way. Right, Clinton fans? Well I can tell you this -- if Obama wins the pledged delegate vote and Hillary takes the election with the help of the establishment -- you can better believe I won't be alone. McCain, at that point, could win this thing in a landslide. I'm not fear-mongering. I'm stating facts.

    As for the idea that Barack should be slinging mud back at Hillary, that's just stupid. It reminds me of people who think that when your in-laws dis you, you should dis them back. All that does is make things worse for your marriage.

    Face it folks, Reagan had a point. A little intra-party criticism is fine, but at some point, it becomes inappropriate, and Hillary has gone way WAY over the line.

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    Matthew

    The problem is that among that list of states, the Democrats have almost no chance of winning any of them save Maryland in November.

    Whoever is the Democratic nominee MUST win Ohio. Must win or be competitive in Florida MUST win New Mexico. MUST win Pennsylvania.

    Not as a Obama or a Clinton supporter but as a Democrat, I am concerned if our eventual nominee keeps getting his or her clock cleaned in large, working class industrial states. Picking up piddly caucuses in sparsely populated Western states doesn't say much about electability in November, honestly.

    Obama MUST do well in PA or else this is a very bad indication for November.

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    hard to say Obama has lost steam when, as we count all the delegates from Texas, primary & caucus, he comes out ahead. i think what we saw in Wyoming indicates the energy and enthusiasm as still there. Mississippi will not be good for Hilary, either. her only choice is to go full-out Rove, and she's beginning. it won't work. she used the dirty stuff in a short-time frame for TX & OH; there's too much time til PA: if she waits til the last week, she'll be overwhelmed; if she goes dirty early, she'll be slimed on the bounce-back. she can't win on the issues, she can't win on experience, and she can't win by going dirty. in the end, she can't win.

    but that doesn't mean she won't stop trying. god help the Democratic Party.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    paul g. - "Obama MUST do well in PA or else this is a very bad indication for November."

    Oh, the expectations game. Some states don't count and others do. The SUSA survey shows at this stage that Obama does just as well, if not better in the electoral college, at last at this stage of the game and has greater potential for expanding the reach into some purple and red states. If he loses Penn. it will be a narrow loss in my view. So setting up these false expectations is flawed. Obama ran a 50 state strategy for the nomination and it is winning. If we are going to have a nomination for only certain states then that should be the rule at the outset. Right now Clinton loses Oregon and Washington, so if she does better in Penn but gets blown out in a dozen other states, so that means nothing. Sheesh....

    Using your same logic it would mean that Clinton would get automatically get blown out against McCain in those states that she lost so badly. Bad analogy.... I wonder if there is any possibility for any real dialogue at all here. I think at this juncture it's all grasping at straws for the Clinton camp. Now Clinton says in a Newsweek interview it's fair game to steal not only super delegates, but also pledged delegates before a first ballot because elections really don't matter. I guess she wants to take the party right over the cliff and give it to McCain, her favorite guy, and the only one along with her who has crossed that threshold of greatness to be a commander in chief. Because she has been after all, first lady and so close to that red phone, along with Laura Bush.

  • Dean Nattu (unverified)
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    No one has doubts about the experience which Hillary will bring to the White House since she was the wife of Bill Clinton who had varied expertise both in intern al and external affairs. What America needs is a President to face unknown situations in this ever changing world to make history and not a President to turn the pages of lifetime history of experince. Obama is indeed the Change.

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)
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    Mrs. Clinton. Her experience is exactly what? First spouse does what exactly? Maybe Pickles Bush is qualified as well if she wanted to run. Senator for seven years yes, but she claims thirty-five years of what? What accomplishment carries her imprint? In an experience contest between her and John McCain, he wins hands down. Don't think that quote won't come back to haunt her.

    My question is: Will Clinton supporters really sit on the sidelines this fall if Obama wins the nomination? If Clinton wins in a manner that is seen as ruthless, underhanded and backstabbing, then I think we will lose an alarming number of new and younger voters.

    Obama brings traditional democrats and new voters. Senator Clinton motivates only the republicans to come out and vote against her. Goodness knows they don't like their own candidate that much. She is the much weaker choice. IMHO.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    A month ago, I took Senator Obama to task for making an electability argument that implied he and his supporters might not rally to Hillary Clinton should he lose the nomination. But Obama's was a minor sin of presentation, of omission.

    Obama was right. I'm an Obama supporter (with some reservations) and an independent (NAV). I'm sure I'm not the only one in this group who will be very reluctant to vote for HRC if she gets the nomination. If McCain picks a VP who has better qualities than Hillary, I might be persuaded to vote for McCain on the chance he will snuff it or be certified insane and be replaced by his VP. This business of saying McCain would be better than Obama is another example of Clinton amorality with her vote for the Iraq war being the worst.

    If Obama (and his followers) cannot deal with Clinton's jabs and critiques now, what are he and they going to do when the Republican smear machine goes after him?

    It is one thing to fight someone with whom you are face to face. It is another when your opponent is stabbing you in the back.

    As for the so-called dream ticket of one being the presidential nominee and the other the VP nominee, I can't imagine anyone wanting to be in the White House while the Clintons are there - except maybe someone with a bag of money looking for a pardon or some sleazy deal.

  • Michael (unverified)
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    Experience is a loser of an issue for HRC. You wouldn't choose the wife of a surgeon to do a complicated surgery on you because she was his wife and they had probably talked about his cases. That's not experience. If Hillary gets the nomination through the underhanded methods she is pursuing now, like getting the Michigan and Florida delegates declared as hers when the primaries weren't contested, a lot of the newly enthused Dems will not vote. A month ago I would have voted for her in a heartbeat if she defeated Barack on the up and up. Not now.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    What we hear today from the Clinton camp on this forum and elsewhere is that Wyoming doesn't matter. What we will here on Wed. is that Mississippi doesn't matter. By then that will mean that 30 primary contests don't matter, and only 14 do. Those are the Clinton rules of reality.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    Paul G., I a am sorry but I disagree with several of your points. Do not Wisconsin and Maine have lunch pail Democrats? Do you really intend to assert that we have no chance of winning there or DC or Vermont which are all on Barack's list?

    More importantly, Barack will win in several States that Kerry did not win. This includes Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia. I base this upon the turnout figures for the Democratic primaries v. the Republican primaries. While not conclusive, this is a good indicator.

    In Virginia, for example over 900,000 turned out for the Dem Primary compared to approx. 500,000 Republicans. In South Carolina, its 532K for the Dems, 445K for the Repubs. In Georgia, it was over 1 million for the Dems primary comparted to 963 for the Repubs, where McCain lost by the way. The same point applies to Louisiana as well.

    I think you get my drift. Barack creates a whole different playing field that Hillary can not. This will make McCain have to fight hard in states that Republicans usually don't have to fight for. However, if Hillary is the nominee, the South is not in play AND the Republican base is energized there.

    Which brings us to your concern about the traditional Blue states. There is no reason why these states won't go for Barack as the nominee. But note that with Barack putting States in the South in play, the election won't come down to a fewe Diebold machines in Ohio or a few hanging chads in Florida.

  • dg (unverified)
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    Does anyone have the tally on total votes in ALL primaries for Obama and for Clinton?

    Comparing the number of states won is interesting, but I would also like to see a comparison of overall total votes cast for each candidate. Is it actually proportional to current delegate counts?

  • Opinionated (unverified)
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    James last I checked Hillary was still ahead in super delegates, but Obama was leading her by 100 in super delegates. I believe at the conclusion of Super Tuesday Hillary led Obama by the same amount. What makes you think that her winning the nomination is impossible and a possibility in an alternate universe. The game is not over yet. Let us not get ahead of ourselves.

    I have a strong opinion about this!

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    DG -- Obama has 13,007,968 votes, while Clinton has 12,415,286. This tally includes the latest contest, Wyoming, Clinton's 870,986 Florida votes and Clinton's 328,309 Michigan votes, where, as you probably know, Obama was not even on the ballot.

    And Michael, your surgeon analogy is perfect! Thanks for putting into words something that I've been feeling nervous about for a long time.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    And Michael, your surgeon analogy is perfect! Thanks for putting into words something that I've been feeling nervous about for a long time.

    Never mind the surgeon's wife. If he has a few malpractice suits in his resume, you wouldn't want him working on you either - no matter how much experience he has.

  • joel (unverified)
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    Whoever is the Democratic nominee MUST win Ohio. Must win or be competitive in Florida MUST win New Mexico. MUST win Pennsylvania.

    I am concerned if our eventual nominee keeps getting his or her clock cleaned in large, working class industrial states. Picking up piddly caucuses in sparsely populated Western states doesn't say much about electability in November, honestly.

    Obama MUST do well in PA or else this is a very bad indication for November.

    The implicit claim here is that winning a primary and winning the general election are equivalent. Why is that a valid claim?

    Help, the spin meisters have set my head to spinning....

    Also, if the "sparsely populated Western state" idea is correct...and assuming that the DNC considered this possibility...then why in the world does the Democratic Party even bother with primaries except in The States That Clinton Says Count?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    I am concerned if our eventual nominee keeps getting his or her clock cleaned in large, working class industrial states. Picking up piddly caucuses in sparsely populated Western states doesn't say much about electability in November, honestly.

    As Obama has said, these are the United States. All the people have a vote and all those votes should count whether they come from the big states or the little "piddly" states - like Oregon.

    It is really disturbing that so many people buy into the Clinton crap.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    Opinionated, meet Factualized. Obama leads by 157.5 delegates while Clinton leads in superdelegates by just 39. Based on the way delegates are apportioned by county, Clinton would have to win every single district by staggering 33-point margins to overcome her current deficit. That is not going to happen. The contest was over weeks ago.

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    Bill B., you know better than that. We don't run our elections by a national vote count, we have an electoral college. Wyoming will be won by the GOP. Oregon will be won by the Democrats. Any Democratic nominee will have to win the big Midwestern states or we are done.

    Matthew S., the WI economy is substantially different from OH. I think WI and ME are in the Democratic camp, OH is a very different story. So yes, Obama's performance among the lunchpail working class in WI is a good sign, but his dismal performance in OH must be a worry.

    The high Democratic turnout is definitely encouraging, although you seem to give all the credit to Obama and none to Clinton or to a heated Democratic race (and a virtually over Republican race).

    I don't know what Southern states you think Obama puts in play--I'd like to hear them. Other than FL and TN, I don't think the Dems can count on any Southern states.

    The "traditional blue states" alone are insufficient to get to a majority of the electoral votes.

  • Harry (unverified)
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    Bill Bodden writes: "Obama was right. I'm an Obama supporter (with some reservations) and an independent (NAV). I'm sure I'm not the only one in this group who will be very reluctant to vote for HRC if she gets the nomination. If McCain picks a VP who has better qualities than Hillary, I might be persuaded to vote for McCain on the chance he will snuff it or be certified insane and be replaced by his VP."

    <hr/>

    As a NAV, I agree with Bill completely. NAVs could easily go for Obama, less so for Hillary. But they could go for a McCain ticket if he picks a real good VP candidate. Almost one fifth of our Presidents got there via the VP succession plan (ie Presidential death in office). NAVs are big in this election, especially without Bloomberg to play the role of a Perot spoiler. (Nader would matter this time around).

    Bill also later writes: "As Obama has said, these are the United States. All the people have a vote and all those votes should count whether they come from the big states or the little "piddly" states - like Oregon."

    <hr/>

    Here I disagree. It is all about the electoral college. The only way to win the White House is via a majority in the EC. For McCain, an extra million votes from California is worthless if he can't win a popular vote majority across the whole state of California. Just ask Al Gore, who got 3 million more votes that W across the USA, but still lost the EC. (yeah, Florida and the US Supreme Court, whatever, get over the 2000 election, move on already).

    The Nov 08 election is about winning a few battle ground states, mostly like PA, FL, OH and other big states, but also OR and some smaller swing states as well. NAVs will matter.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Obama's experience is a real issue. Clinton absolutely should raise that issue. And she should absolutely raise it in the context of a general election.

    Obama's experience is a legitimate issue. But the real question is whether you think McCain is a better president as a result of Obama's lack of experience. This isn't about Clinton "handing talking points to the Republicans" (they already had those talking points), it's about Clinton believing that McCain would be a better president than Obama. That's the part that's inexcusable, and the part that shows Clinton's judgement is just flat-out wrong. Her belief in the value of McCain's experience is just about as bad as her vote in favor of the Iraq war.

    (BTW, Obama arguably has more foreign policy experience from his two years in the Senate than Bill Clinton did when he was elected.)

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Here I disagree. It is all about the electoral college. The only way to win the White House is via a majority in the EC. For McCain, an extra million votes from California is worthless if he can't win a popular vote majority across the whole state of California. Just ask Al Gore, who got 3 million more votes that W across the USA, but still lost the EC. (yeah, Florida and the US Supreme Court, whatever, get over the 2000 election, move on already).

    Harry: You are correct in this instance; however, if I'm not mistaken in most cases the winner of the popular vote is almost always the one who wins in the electoral college. If I am mistaken, I'm sure I'll be corrected.

  • james r bradach (unverified)
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    When Mcnutjob invokes Ms Clinton's words on 60 minutes we got a problem. I will vote for an African American in November, it may even be a woman.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Playing the expectations game the conventional wisdom of the media says Obama had a bad week. Here's what actually happened: (from Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos) http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/3/10/11748/6707/563/473353

    " Obama Clinton OH 66 75 RI 8 13 VT 9 6 TX 99 94 WY 7 5

    Total 189 193

    So that's a four-delegate gain for Clinton.

    But that wasn't all. Obama also picked up three more super delegates last Tuesday -- Texas Democratic Party Vice Chair Roy Laverne Brooks, DNC member Mary Long of Georgia and South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler.

    That pegs things at 192-193 for the week.

    And then on Saturday, Obama provided material help in Bill Foster's dramatic upset victory in IL-14, filming an ad and sending hundreds of volunteers into the district. The Republicans had John McCain campaign for the Republican candidate, yet still lost proving that Obama 1) is more focused on party building and down-ballot races than the Clinton campaign (where was she?), 2) that he could out-battle McCain in the first proxy battle of the season, and 3) that he's got some serious coattails.

    Oh, and Bill Foster is now a super delegate and repaid Obama's largesse by promising him his vote.

    So yes, Obama has some serious message issues to deal with and a shaken campaign to right. But where it matters -- in the delegate race -- Obama ended his week from hell TIED with Clinton.

    Furthermore, there's an "unpledged" Wyoming delegate still to be decided. He or she will be selected at Wyoming's state convention, and is selected by the elected delegates from Saturday's caucus. In other words, it's going to be another Obama delegate. So unofficially, Obama actually won the delegate race last week.

    As Clinton gears up her efforts toward coup by super delegate, threatening civil war within the party, it bears nothing that in her best week of the campaign since her New Hampshire victory, she actually lost ground in the race."

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    So what? Who's LOOKING for experience? Not the voters--they made that clear when they failed to flock to the hapless campaigns of Biden, Richardson, Dodd, Kucinich, Gravel...heck, ANYBODY except for the final three: Clinton, Edwards, and Obama, who were the three least experienced of Democratic field.

    Voters clearly want inspiration, not wonk. Clinton's scorched earth policy against a fellow Democrat is not a good response to that deepfelt need.

  • Mary Simas (unverified)
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    I can vote for John McCain. I will never vote for Barack Obama, who would be long gone if he and Hillary Clinton were both white males. I always vote for who I think is the best candidate. I am a registered democrat, but I owe the democrats nothing.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Since we are on the thread of Clinton's endorsements of McCain. Why are the Clintons now saying that Obama is too liberal? How does that Republican talking point help her with Democrats, how does it help her win the nomination, how does it help the party? http://www.americablog.com/2008/03/hillarys-campaign-obama-is-most-liberal.html

  • joel (unverified)
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    ...Barack Obama, who would be long gone if he and Hillary Clinton were both white males.

    why is that?

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Latest move from the Clinton co-candidacy, "Obama is our VP choice!" Generous offer considering that Hillary is behind.

    Bonus Quote of the Day "If I'm not ready, how is it that you think I should be such a great vice president? They are trying to hoodwink you."

    -- Sen. Barack Obama, quoted by Time, on the Clinton campaign's attempts to suggest he would make a good vice presidential candidate.

    I saw the speech on the CNN site: In context Obama quoted Bill Clinton from '92, and I remember his because I worked in the Clinton campaign in '92. Paraphrase- 'Bill Clinton said in selecting a vice president on the ticket, the most important thing is that they are ready to be president.' So how is it that they want me to be vice president but they say only Hillary is ready on day one?? Big laugh.. from the audience...

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    "Latest move from the Clinton co-candidacy, "Obama is our VP choice!" Generous offer considering that Hillary is behind."

    Sounds a lot like trying to convince Novick he should run for CD5...!

  • Harry K (unverified)
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    Those of you who blame Nader for the "losses" (really wins, if you cared) of your wonderful candidates in '00 and '04 need to carefully review the many threats among your unfaithful to vote for McCain if their half of Obamary is unsuccessful.

    I know of no Nader supporter who voted for Bush in the past two elections (as 12% of Democrats did in '00).

    What this all proves is that even Democrats know that the difference between McCain, Obama and Clinton is about a dime's worth.

    What we need is a progressive party with a centrist, populist platform to challenge both craporate entities.

  • tl (unverified)
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    Speaking of experience, I know someone who has more presidential experience than HRC, Obama, or McCain. His name is George W. Bush. I'm guessing there are very few folks on this site who wish he could bring his vast presidential experience back for another 4-8 years in the White House. -tl

  • joel (unverified)
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    According to an item in the NY Daily News today, Obama ought to consider Hillary Clinton as VP, but only if he hires a food taster.

  • Nathan Merrill (unverified)
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    Obama is more conservative than Clinton is, so I'm not really sure why you're lambasting Clinton here; I know Obama's supports love to think he's liberal, but if you look at his voting record he is considerably more moderate than Clinton, who is one of the most liberal senators.

    And arguing that Ronald Reagan's advice should be followed is folly; the man was not particularly competant, did little good for the country, committed treason, and wasn't capable of serving as president. All he had was charisma.

    There's nothing wrong with attacking Obama for his inexperience and lack of substance; the Republicans will be doing the same, and nothing Clinton does at this point will hurt him because, frankly, the Republicans don't listen to Hillary.

    And yes, it is true that the only reason Obama is still in the race is because blacks are, perhaps somewhat ironically, more racist than whites are and thus overwhelmingly vote for the candidate who shares their skin color. But that is not something that the blacks or the Democratic party wants to hear; they don't want to hear that they have people in their ranks as racist as any Republican.

    <h2>Ther are many bad things you can say about John McCain, but you can't say he's inexperienced and he will certainly point out his massive amounts of experience if he goes up against Obama. I don't think it ultimately matters though; nothing anyone says will change the fact that in January 2009, either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama will be president of the United States.</h2>

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