The Washington Times - March 3, 2008, 02:54PM
Sen. Hillary ClintonSen. Barack Obama SEE RELATED:

\ To: Interested Parties
\ From: Mark Penn
\ Date: Monday, March 03, 2008
\ Re: Why Hillary Clinton is Ready to be Commander-in-Chief
\ \ \ \ In the last few days, serious and significant question about Senator Barack Obama have been raised, which have made this election a test about who is ready to be Commander-in-Chief on day one. We believe that after the votes are counted tomorrow, only one candidate will have passed that test, and that will be Hillary Clinton.\ \ \ \ In fact, just by raising the issue, we have seen a defensive reaction from Sen. Obama and his campaign. The bottom line: If Sen. Obama can’t convince voters in his own party that he is the best able to protect our country, how will he convince all Americans in a general election against Sen. McCain?\ \ \ \ Just over three years ago, Barack Obama was a state senator in Springfield, Illinois. During that time, in 2002, he delivered his Iraq speech at an anti-war rally. That’s the same speech Barack Obama is using as his major qualification to be Commander-in-Chief of the United States. \ \ \ \ In 2004, when he was running for the United States Senate, Barack Obama struck a very different tone. He said that his position on the war was the same as George Bush’s. Then, after he arrived in the US Senate, Obama voted the same way as Hillary Clinton. In fact, it took him 17 months to deliver a speech in the Senate against the Iraq war. \ \ \ \ When it comes to the war in Afghanistan, Senator Obama has said that we should be doing far more, and that the United States has abdicated responsibility in Afghanistan. Obama made this claim while he was in charge of the subcommittee with oversight over NATO in Afghanistan - and yet he didn’t hold a single meeting. When asked about his inaction, Obama admitted: “I became chairman of this committee at the beginning of this campaign, at the beginning of 2007. So, it is true that we haven’t had oversight hearings on Afghanistan.”\ \ \ \ National security is the first and most solemn duty of the President. Every president makes that pledge when they take the oath of office- to protect and defend our country. Our next president has a job to do - to end the war in Iraq and win the war in Afghanistan, while keeping our nation safe.\ \ \ \ Hillary Clinton has the strength and experience to give our country a better and safer future. She has the support of 30 generals and admirals. They believe she has met every test to be Commander-in-Chief on day one. Senator Clinton has received five endorsements in recent days, including those of General Henry Hugh Shelton, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral William Owens, the former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Army Major General Antonio M. Taguba. Overall, Sen. Clinton has the endorsement of two former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and five admirals and generals at the four-star rank. They are in addition to over 2,000 veterans and military retirees who are members of Senator Clinton’s national and state veterans’ steering committees.\ \ \ \ Hillary’s record speaks for itself. In the Senate, she has had years of experience on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She sponsored comprehensive legislation to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Hillary is the only Senator serving on the U.S. Joint Forces Command’s Transformation Advisory Group. She was a leader on the recovery effort after 9/11 - and implementing steps to prevent another terrorist attack. Hillary understands the strains on our armed forces and has worked to ensure they are ready and equipped.\ \ Hillary’s record during the Clinton Administration speaks to her judgment and her ability to lead our nation through times of national security crises. Hillary represented America in more than 80 countries. She worked to open borders in the Balkans, bring peace in Northern Ireland and stood up in China for women’s rights and human rights. \ \ \ \ If Barack Obama says it’s fear mongering to talk about how Senator Clinton will protect America, he is going to have a rough time up against John McCain. This is not a debate he can duck with two wars going on. Hillary is best prepared to go toe-to-toe with John McCain. She is the best candidate to end the war in Iraq, keep us safe, and restore our credibility around the world on day one.

Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter, The Washington Times