Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hillary, do the dirty work for us

On a conference call, top strategist Mark Penn just told reporters that in the next two weeks Hillary Clinton will go after Barack Obama on the issue of who is better qualified to be commander-in-chief — and Penn suggested that Clinton would be a better commander of the nation's armed forces than both Obama and John McCain. "She is the only person in this race who is both ready to be commander-in-chief and would end the Iraq war and start to bring troops home within 60 days, compared to both Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain," Penn told reporters.Later, Penn made it clear that Clinton will push the commander-in-chief issue in coming days. "The Republican nominee has extensive credibility in this area, and the Democrat is going to need to be commander-in-chief," Penn said. Obama has "relatively no experience in national security," Penn continued, an issue that "is going to be reflected in the debates that we have over the next couple of weeks."

UPDATE: Later in the call, the Clinton team was asked whether the not-qualified-to-be-commander-in-chief criticism of Obama was going too far, given that it would be used by Republicans against Obama if Obama is the Democratic nominee against John McCain. "We don't believe that he is the one who will face John McCain," Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said. "This is a legitimate question that Sen. Obama would face if he were the nominee, and it is a question that he is facing as a result of criticism from Sen. McCain now, so I think it's perfectly appropriate."

It will be sweet if Hillary points out Obama's lack of experience in every area to be Commander In Chief and then pounds that home day after day. And then she loses, but the impression (and fact) that Obama is not ready to lead will have been made without a Republican or McCain opening his mouth to say so.

Related: "Well, that is a problem, isn't it?"