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Obama-McCain Letter Exchange

Before we get to today's topic -- presidential politics -- let's rejoice in the glorious Nationals victory, which came on a heroic ending in the beautiful (or not) new ball park Sunday night. Thomas Boswell tells us what wonderful things this could mean for future happiness.

Now back to presidential politics. Paul Kane writes today that "what began as a promising collaboration" in 2006 between Sens. John McCain (R) and newcomer Barack Obama (D) on a lobbying and ethics reform bill "collapsed after barely a week" in an exchange of angry letters. "Obama questioned whether McCain sided with GOP leaders rather than searching for a bipartisan solution; McCain accused Obama of 'typical rhetorical gloss' and 'self interested partisan posturing' by a newcomer seeking to ingratiate himself with party leaders," Kane reports.

This singular event is seen as a possible precursor of what a McCain-Obama general election campaign might look like. Our Readers Who Comment -- depending on which political persuasion they represent -- see it either as a classic example of McCain's famous short temper that might not serve the presidency well, or as a classic example of Obama's eloquence not matched by an ability to get things done.

Let the campaign begin:

We'll start with davestickler, who wrote, "If making John McCain mad disqualified you from being president, we'd essentially have no candidates from either party. Fortunately, Obama followed through, and the ethics legislation passed."

But majorteddy said, "Looks like Obama won that one by keeping his cool."

Grant55 said, "This is what we've been trying to tell people. McCain hates Obama. It's one of the reasons, along with the fact he knows he can actually beat Hillary, McCain wants to run against Clinton. Also the fact that Obama is really a Democrat and not a conservative pretending to be a Democrat like we all know Clinton is is the other..."

egalitaire wrote, "On the stump Obama mocks McCain's maverick image, saying McCain "fell in line" with Republican orthodoxy....speaking of orthodox, anyone wanna bet who will be the war hawk's VP running mate? i bet he'll be a war hawk too..."

nezbangi suggested that "Hillary Clinton's obstinance will destroy the democrats' chances in November. She should drop out immediately and support Obama..."
[Sen. Clinton told the Post Sunday she had absolutely no intention of dropping out.]

cicada99 predicted that "Those who don't see anything in Obama but "rhetorical gloss" and "self-interested partisan posturing" have no idea what's going to hit them."

However, donnerlady said, "...Obama is nothing but an empty suit and a showboat. When are the American people going to wake up to this con artist? Hillary Clinton is the Democrat senator who knows how to work across the aisle..."

postfan1 wrote that "I like the fact that Obama is committed to change, in words and actions. There's way too much posturing and "business as usual" in Washington. We really don't need someone in power who accepts all the game playing. Obama is willing to challenge the system..."

gwshening forecast that "...Nominating Obama means a 40+ state loss for the Democrats and will drag down many Democratic congressmen... Complacency within the Democratic party, thinking they have already won in November, will cost them dearly."

mehuwss said, "...As opposed to Obama, McCain and Hillary have a proven record in regards to working across the aisle to get things done. Obama's record reflects a very liberal senator with a pattern of skipping hard votes and primarily "coming together" on noncontroversial issues. Obama's claim that he is a uniter is a big bluff."

davethewave1 wrote that "McCain is too much of a hot head... I dont want a hot head in office-certinly not if he is going to try and be a diplomatic figure with other nations-at a time when the US already has a bad reputation of being a steam rolling lone ranger."

diane3 complained that "Paul Kane's article doesn't point out clearly enought that from the beginning of this incident, Obama made it clear that his fellow Democrats did not want to waste time going through a lengthy commission process; in other words, Obama's letter (which was extremely polite and well intended) did not come out of nowhere. John McCain's response is an example of his bitter nature."

And because this particular string is an argument between partisans, we'll close with wardropper, who, in this post at least, has a somewhat different taking, saying, "Funny how we have all this on record, but those millions of emails from the White House . . . ?"

All comments on the exchange of letters story are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  March 31, 2008; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Obama  
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