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Obama: Clinton Hasn't Passed Commander in Chief Test, Either


Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., shakes hands after stopping at Buck's Restaurant for breakfast, Tuesday, March 11, 2008, in Greenville, Miss.(AP.)

By Shailagh Murray
Kapow! Bam! Wham!

The Obama campaign has awoken from the stupor of its Texas and Ohio losses with a series of tough hits today on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Sen. Barack Obama suffered two staff mishaps in recent weeks, but now it appears to be Clinton's turn. Appearing on MSNBC this morning, Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice called for the New York senator to repudiate remarks by former New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, 72, the Democratic Party's vice presidential nominee in 1984. Ferraro told the Daily Breeze in Torrance, California, "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

Ferraro is a prominent surrogate for Clinton and sits on her finance committee. Last night, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson responded to a question about Ferraro's remarks, telling the Politico, "We disagree with her."

Rice called the remarks "outrageous and offensive," and of a far greater magnitude than Samantha Power's description of Clinton as a "monster," a crack that led to Power's resignation as a Obama policy adviser last week.

The campaign also issue its harshest critique yet of Clinton's foreign policy record.

In a memo entitled, "Senator Clinton's claim to be experienced in foreign policy: Just words?" former State Department official and Obama adviser Greg Craig reviews Clinton's foreign policy resume, from her role in the Northern Ireland peace process to negotiating open borders as part of the Kosovo crisis, and concludes it is loaded with "exaggerated claims."

"When your entire campaign is based upon a claim of experience, it is important that you have evidence to support that claim," the memo stated. "Hillary Clinton's argument that she has passed "the Commander-in-Chief test" is simply not supported by her record."

Its conclusion: "The Clinton campaign's argument is nothing more than mere assertion, dramatized in a scary television commercial with a telephone ringing in the middle of the night. There is no support for or substance in the claim that Senator Clinton has passed "the Commander-in-Chief test." That claim -- as the TV ad -- consists of nothing more than making the assertion, repeating it frequently to the voters and hoping that they will believe it."

The Clinton campaign responded in quick fury, calling the Craig dossier as a "false attack memo," though acknowledging that Obama had at last "come out swinging" after one of the bumpiest weeks of his campaign.

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 11, 2008; 11:55 AM ET
 
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