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Bill Clinton Says Obama Isn't Ready

The gloves are coming off in the Democratic Presidential nomination race. Former President Bill Clinton is now directly challenging Senator Barack Obama's experience and electability in an interview sure to be featured in Republican ads should Obama win the nomination. Patrick Healy reports for The New York Times:

Former President Bill Clinton made an unusually direct attack Friday night on Senator Barack Obama, one of his wife's leading rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, suggesting that voters who would support someone with Mr. Obama's experience were willing to "roll the dice" on the presidency.

Appearing on "The Charlie Rose Show" on PBS, Mr. Clinton repeatedly questioned Mr. Obama's preparedness for the White House, noting that he took office in January 2005 and became a presidential candidate about two years later. (Mr. Obama was an Illinois state senator before that.)

"When is the last time we elected a president based on one year of service in the Senate before he started running?" Mr. Clinton said. At another point, he appeared to compare Mr. Obama to a "gifted television commentator" running for president. "They'd have only one year less experience in national politics" than Mr. Obama, he said.

Read the rest at the link above. Given that Bill Clinton is both the Democratic Party's senior statesman and most popular figure, this is the political equivalent of nuclear war. Obama is refusing to engage, responding as he has before with references to the questions about Clinton's experience in 1992. Those questions failed, though, because Clinton had several terms as Governor and one as Attorney General to offer as executive experience, of which Obama has none.


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Comments (17)

Jim Addison, you have faile... (Below threshold)
Edmonsky, Sacramento, CA:

Jim Addison, you have failed to follow the logic of Obama's argument. If experience is the criteria for electing a president, former President Walter Bush would have been elected based on the fact that he was two-term VP, one term as President and other experiences as CIA Director, US Ambassador etc.

Hilary Clinton does not have more experience than Senator Obama per years of elective office. If Hilary has experience per her role as First Lady, let her present what she did for public review rather than hiding behind pillow talk with her husband.

Furthermore, Arkansas Governor of the poorest state in the union is a minor league office in relation to governors of bigger states. Arkansas was more like a developing country. Bill Clinton is getting desperate and bizarre in his argument by using TV commentator to equate the experience of Senator Obama who was state senator for years before winning election to the US Senate.

I absolutely agree Hillary'... (Below threshold)

I absolutely agree Hillary's case to be more experienced than Obama is weak. She has four more years at the federal level, but he has eight years in the state legislature. Her entire argument rests upon Bill Clinton's eight years as President and ten years as Arkansas Governor. She had few official roles, but was well known for poking her nose into everything. I don't consider that "executive experience," but apparently the Clintons do.

The extraordinary thing here is the former President saying something so direct against a member of his own party. It smacks of desperation, but it also portends rough waters ahead: these folks don't intend to go down easily.

GHWB's experience was irrelevant in 1992, because he had a full term of performance in the job to be judged. The "experience" argument only works against non-incumbents.

And billy had the job for e... (Below threshold)
Glenn M. Cassel, AMH1(AW) USN RET:

And billy had the job for eight years and he still wasn't ready.

What, Bill, you don't think... (Below threshold)

What, Bill, you don't think Obama knows how to pork girlies in the Oval? He's so retrograde, isn't he???

If I am not mistaken ol Bil... (Below threshold)

If I am not mistaken ol Billy boy ran as the "outsider". That would now be Obama so really Billy ought to shut up because I think Shillary can lose on her own.

Heh. Obama is the new Bill ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Heh. Obama is the new Bill Clinton. Fresh, young, likeable, (clean and articulate, too!), the underdog, guys want to be him, gals want to be with him.
Hillary....is not the new Bill Clinton. Not fresh, not young, not likeable, absolutely not the underdog, no guy wants to be with her (though certain types of gals do).

Funny how shabbily the Clinton Machine treats the New Bill Clinton, no?

It is kind of fun to watch, though. Two Lefty memes colliding. The battle royale between The First Woman Prez versus The First Black Prez. Some Democrat heads will explode over this one.

"The First Woman Prez versu... (Below threshold)

"The First Woman Prez versus The First Black Prez."

Bill has the title of the first Black Prez.

Which makes me wonder if Obama will get attacked as an Uncle Tom, or if he has already.

Never thought I agree with ... (Below threshold)

Never thought I agree with something Slick Willie said.

The Democrats often ignore ... (Below threshold)

The Democrats often ignore experience over selecting the new shiny toy.

Bill has the title of th... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Bill has the title of the first Black Prez.

Ceremonial title only. People (me included) are still waiting for the Real Thing.

Obama is close, sooo close. Closer than any other black has been. Which is why it is so fascinating to watch today's Team Clinton go after him with switchblades when it gets down to the nitty gritty.

I suspect that the more Bil... (Below threshold)

I suspect that the more Bill is at the forefront, the worse it's going to get for Hitlary.

It looks like she can't fight 'cause she's a girl.

Poor Bill. He was such a li... (Below threshold)

Poor Bill. He was such a likeable kind of guy in the White House but he unfortunately got sandwiched between Reagan/HWBush and WBush. Both times when alot was happening whether you liked what was happening or not. Then there are the 8 Clinton years. What great things really happened because of decisions Bill directly made? Nothing, of consequence really. So. Hillary is his next and last chance to get back into the political mix. But she can't look like she is running on his record and she herself has no record to run on. Some folks don't like the "dynasty" thing and if they've had enough of the Bush "dynasty" they are not going to be too interested in giving a Clinton one a try. Anyway, I'm sure others will disagree with me but I think once anyone has held the office of President of the US of A, they should refrain once leaving office from campaigning for others.

It's a sad day when you hav... (Below threshold)

It's a sad day when you have to agree with Bill Clinton... Obama just isn't ready. I really think he should have waited until at least 2012, and possibly 2016 to run.

Hillary would be much more... (Below threshold)

Hillary would be much more credible then the wangmeister ever was during His tenure as schlongmander in chief..

President Clinton is correc... (Below threshold)

President Clinton is correct. State legislature is a part-time, very local job. It in no way compares to experience on the national level, or even to a governorship, which at least gives some executive mojo.

As for HRC's White House years, the major difference between her experience and a Carville or a Stephanopolous is that they were paid and she was not. She filled the same sort of advisory role, and it should rightly be on her resume.

hehe wish george would have... (Below threshold)

hehe wish george would have gotten paid trips to foriegn countries and laying down US government policies in those countries.

"When is the last time w... (Below threshold)

"When is the last time we elected a president based on one year of service in the Senate before he started running?"

When was the last time we elected one based on, as is said, "pillow talk" with someone who WAS President?

Hillary Clinton isn't really presidential material, but she did sleep at a Holiday Inn with Bill Clinton once.






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