- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hillary vs. Barack

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s camp pounced on her 2008 White House rivalSen. Barack Obama yesterday, implying he was too inexperienced to be president, after he said he would meet leaders of U.S. foes Iran and North Korea, among others.

In the most direct attack of the Democratic race so far, Clinton aides said her more circumspect comments proved she was fit to be commander in chief, raising questions about Mr. Obama’s inexperience — likely a pivotal campaign issue.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright weighed in on behalf of Mrs. Clinton after Mr. Obama offered to meet leaders of the two “axis of evil” states and those of Cuba, Venezuela and Syria during his first year in office, Agence France-Presse reports.

She praised Mrs. Clinton for her more nuanced answer at a debate in South Carolina — that she was open to diplomatic contacts but wary of handing U.S. enemies a “propaganda” coup.

“I felt that she gave a very sophisticated answer that showed her understanding of the whole process,” Mrs. Albright said.

Later, in a memo, the Clinton campaign said the debate revealed a clear difference between their candidate and Mr. Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois.

Senator Obama has committed to presidential-level meetings with some of the world’s worst dictators without precondition during his first year in office. Senator Clinton is committed to vigorous diplomacy but understands that it is a mistake to commit the power and prestige of America’s presidency years ahead of time by making such a blanket commitment.”

The Obama campaign argued that Mrs. Clinton had reversed herself, distributing a report from early this year in which she rebuked President Bush for not talking to “bad people.”

Silly questions

“For Hillary Clinton, the presidency is not in the bag. Even winning the Democratic presidential nomination is considerably less than a sure thing,” Fred Barnes writes at www.weeklystandard.com.

“But of the 18 Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, Clinton is the most likely to be the next president. And she did nothing [Monday] night in the bizarre presidential debate in Charleston, S.C., to alter that,” Mr. Barnes said.

“Clinton managed to maintain at least the outward appearance of seriousness in a debate that included a taped question from someone dressed as a snowman, another from a sanctimonious Planned Parenthood official who asked if the candidates had talked to their kids about sex, and an especially silly one about whether the candidates would be willing to be paid the minimum wage as president. Most of them lied and said yes.

“This was the first of six debates sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee. Based on this one, there’s a long and tedious season of yakking ahead in the presidential race. With YouTube providing the questions and the candidates offering special one-minute commercials, the idea was to make [Monday] night’s debate livelier and more fun. Often, though, it was merely unserious, excessively cute and frivolous.”

Mr. Barnes added: “There was a key moment, however,” when Mr. Obama, in response to a question, promised as president to meet with the leaders of Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria. That showed “his inexperience, and perhaps his naivete as well, in foreign affairs.”

Story Continues →