Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 7, 2008
POLITICS: Who Ya Gonna Call?
As Michael Kinsley once said, a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth. Witness this totally unsurprising (except for the source) admission by one of Barack Obama's foreign policy advisers, responding to
"[Hillary] Clinton hasn't had to answer the phone at three o'clock in the morning and yet she attacked Barack Obama for not being ready," Ms. Rice said. "They're both not ready to have that 3 a.m. phone call."
True enough. But then, they're not the only ones running for President, are they? (See, the silly mistakes you make when you get primary-season tunnel vision). Even the lefty bloggers can pick up on the obvious (this from a conference call with the Hillary camp):
Blogger Jane Hamsher gets on and asks whether the 3 a.m. ad is reinforcing a Republican message - "isn't McCain ultimately the winner in that tactic"?
Yeah, sorry Jane, I know it's terribly unfair for anyone to consider national security when they vote for the presidency. It's like Swift-boating! Rice's admission came as part of the Obama camp's effort to push back at Hillary on the grounds that she, like Obama, lacks John McCain's qualifications for the job:
"It's important to examine that claim and not just allow her to assert it, which I think has been going on for quite some time," Mr. Obama said. "What exactly is this foreign experience that she's claiming? I know she talks about visiting 80 countries. It is not clear, was she negotiating treaties or agreements, or was she handling crises during this period of time? My sense is the answer's no. I have not seen any evidence that she is better equipped to handle a crisis. If the only criteria is longevity in Washington, than she's certainly not going to compete with John McCain on that."
McCain, of course, has been on the Senate Armed Services Committee for 21 years - longer than Obama has been out of law school. And before that, a quarter century in the U.S. Navy.
"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. . . it's imperative that each of us be able to demonstrate we can cross the commander-in-chief threshold," . . .
In Obama's case, he is lashing out now because he thinks he got thumped in Ohio and lost in Texas, leading to howls of despair at his party's lack of an exit strategy from the primaries and speculation about the party's descent into a spiral of self-destructive attacks, all because Hillary did a better job of whining to reporters than he did:
"There's no doubt that Senator Clinton went very negative over the last week," Obama said. He said the Clinton campaign's multiple attacks "had some impact" on the election results "particularly in the context where many of you in the press corps had been persuaded that you had been too hard on her and too soft on me."
Don't worry, Obama can't handle Lorne Michaels but he's quite sure he can handle Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadenijad.
* - Beldar's take on the Hillary ad isn't really relevant here but it's still funny.