From the NY Sun: Just hours after his wife got choked up on the campaign trail, President Clinton showed anger and frustration as he complained that the press has given a free pass to the nascent front-runner in the Democratic presidential contest, Senator Obama of Illinois. "It is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, enumerating the years, and never got asked one time--not once, 'Well, how could you say that when you said in 2004 you didn't know how you would have voted on the resolution?
I'm crashing on a web piece for tomorrow, so I can't get too bogged down in this, but I did want to briefly wade into the debate Jon Chait and Jonathan Cohn are having about who'll do a better job attracting swing voters--and, relatedly, the working class. Jonathan cites a piece I wrote earlier this year about how Hillary has an edge among blue-collar voters because in some respects they value experience--particularly the ethos of waiting one's turn--more than white collar voters do. I still think this is true (though I took a lot of flak for it in the blogosphere at the time).
He's got Stephen Hayes's love. I think Hayes's cover story on Obama in the new Weekly Standard is a pretty fascinating document--mainly because it's such a puff job. Indeed, from the gushing (and by now familiar) recitation of Obama's life story to the laudatory quotes from Obama supporters, Hayes--aka Dick Cheney's biographer and Fred Thompson's cheerleader--has nary a negative word to write about the Illinois Senator. Maybe Hayes just has a soft spot for Obama because he's related to Cheney, but I think his fondness for Obama is better explained by this passage from his piece.
Over at the Real Clear Politics blog, Steven Stark lays out a theory I've heard batted around a bit over the last few days, about why Hillary might have decided to unload on Obama. Stark writes: Clinton would much rather face John Edwards in the later primaries than Obama. It's true that in a three-way race, attacks usually hurt both the attacker and attackee, benefiting a third candidate.
Frank Rich certainly thinks so. Andrew Sullivan does, too. As for me, I'm not so sure. The crux of Rich's argument seems to be that Obama (unlike Clinton) disarms conservatives--pointing to the kind words people like Peggy Noonan and Rich Lowry have had for him--and that Obama's race would actually be an advantage in a general election campaign, in that it would prompt the GOP to engage in their cynical brand of racial politics, which in turn would drive white swing voters into the Democrats' corner. I hope those two things are true, but color me unconvinced for the moment.
Universal health care champion Ezra Klein hammers Obama for his non-universal health care plan, saying Obama is actually "setting back the cause of reform" with a plan that doesn't include mandates. Ezra's beef is partly policy-based. But it's also partly that Obama is making a huge political error. You'll lose support on the left, won't gain any on the right, and will give opponents an easy way to attack your plan. "We're spending all this and we're still leaving 20 million uninsured? Typical liberal efficiency, I guess." Ezra spends more time thinking about health care politics than I do.
Howard Fineman has a web item in Newsweek suggesting that, contrary to the buzz surrounding that Times Obama piece this weekend, there really isn't a sense of panic in the Obama camp, and that Obama doesn't feel like he has to make some game-changing move in tonight's debate. For what it's worth, I spoke to a top Obama fundraiser earlier today who basically made the same point. This person told me that Obama's top money men split into two camps when they gathered in Des Moines three weeks ago for a meeting of the campaign's national finance committee.
Juicy stuff from the Times: When Mr. Obama was running for the Senate, Mrs. Clinton waited out a lightning storm on a tarmac to fly to Chicago for a fundraiser on his behalf. After he arrived in Washington in 2005, he studied her first year in office and worked to keep a similarly studious ? yet low ? profile. After Hurricane Katrina, he joined Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton as they visited storm evacuees in Houston, with Mr.
Yesterday, ABC News ran the headline, "Sex Ed for Kindergartners 'Right Thing to Do,' says Obama." Right on cue, Mitt Romney went ballistic, telling supporters that he was "shocked" by Obama's comments, adding: "Instead of teaching sex education to five-year-olds, let's clean up the ocean of filth, the cesspool in which our kids are swimming." (Presumably this isn't what Romney had in mind.) Anyway, I was trying to find a better explanation of what Obama's views actually were, since the ABC story wasn't terribly clear, and came across David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network--that's P
Brad's first reading of Obama's health care plan is correct. There's a mandate for kids to get insurance -- but not for adults. By my definition, that means it's not true universal coverage. At least not right away. Now, there's still a ton to like in the plan, to be sure -- particularly the meaty material on bringing down costs and improving quality.