John Dickerson:

… the ad also raises a new question the Clinton campaign has been stressing over the last few days: Who has been tested? The ad asks which candidate has faced the extended pressure of a crisis that might prepare him or her for the far larger pressures and crises he or she will face as president.

I love this question and am glad the Clinton team raised it. The problem is that they’re not so great at answering. When I asked campaign staffers for examples of Clinton being tested by a foreign-policy challenge, their response was pretty weak. As Patrick Healy reported in the New York Times, Hillary Clinton did not have a security clearance during her husband’s administration, so she wasn’t in the room for the brutal moments he faced. Her aides named the slew of uniformed retired military officials who have endorsed her, including several four-star generals. That’s nice, but it’s not proof of her mettle. When you make an ad like this, your case for your woman should be stronger than a list of endorsements.

Mark Penn pointed me to Clinton’s 1995 speech in Beijing, in which she declared that women’s rights were human rights. A fine speech and a great message, and boy, I bet her hosts didn’t like it one bit, but that doesn’t really constitute the testing that this powerful ad brings to mind. Also, if we’re talking about speeches, then I think Obama has that covered. He has been arguing for some time that he made a speech in 2002 about why the Iraq war was a bad idea. And hasn’t the Clinton team been knocking that back as just a speech?

A Clinton spokesperson on Hardball tonight claimed that Senator Clinton had proved her mettle under fire by attending the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing. I’m serious.

Update: See also Matt Yglesias.

8 thoughts on “Oops!

  1. How about facing down bloodthirsty Obamabots that refuse to recognize her right to the nomination?

    God, I am sick of the Clinton campaign. And I’m sick of her, too.

  2. Listening to today’s back and forth about who can make the best decisions at 3 am or any other time of day, I think Senator Webb is the best choice for Sen Obama’s Vice Presidential running mate.

    There would be a distinct mixture of temperament and life experiences, not to mention enormous military credibility and all important Virginia. (A democratic governor to clean up the succession and the coattails for the new Senator Warner (D) don’t hurt either).

    When Barack asks, “What do you think Jim?”, Sen Webb will offer a perspective that singularly outshines Sen McCain’s inevitably tainted world view. It buries the Nat’l Security weakspot in Barack’s resume once and for all.

  3. I’ve heard the claim by the Clinton campaign that Hillary has been “baptisted by fire”, but I haven’t seen any indication of it. The closest I’ve seen to trials for Hillary is when she faced the public humiliation of her husband’s infidelity..The whole cigar thing was just a tad over the top for public exposure…and Hillary carried herself well through the humiliation of that horrible ordeal.

  4. “Baptism of Fire” is a very real experience and it’s another example of such terms being subjected to prostitution for/by politicians…

    Advertisers are destroying what little is left of the Public Discourse…

  5. I believe Webb supports telecomm immunity, though. A serious Constitutional weak spot. We can’t afford that, going forward. Obey the law or do the time ought to be the next Dem president’s motto.

    Swami, you may have meant Hillary was “Baptista’d” by fire, and not realized it.

  6. Hillary’s campaign workers say she acted intrepidly in the New Jersey post primary Cuban Sandwich Crisis. In military matters, where Hillary is well grounded, not everybody knows that an army of campaign workers travels on its stomach.

    Obama’s response to the 3 am. fear mongering ad was a perfect deflection. A classic implementation of the childhood saying.. ” I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” He turned the intention of the ad around and clobbered both Hillary and McCain simultaneously for not having the wisdom nor the foresight to oppose Bush’s blunder in Iraq. And both Hillary and McCain aren’t left with any argument to counter with, other than to defend their decisions by defending Bush’s failed policy. Well, I guess Hillary can always claim she was duped, but that won’t fare well for her.

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