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Short Takes: Ready on Day One?

Former President Bill Clinton. Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Time and again during the 2008 presidential campaign, former President Bill Clinton insisted that his wife -- then New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton -- was, without question, the Democratic candidate best equipped to step into the presidency on day one and do the job.

In fact, perhaps the most memorable ad of the Clinton campaign asked who voters would want answering the phone at 3 a.m. in the case of a national or international emergency -- implying that the New York Senator was ready to be president while then Illinois Sen. Barack Obama would have to learn on the job.

Given that, we were struck by a statement the former president made in an interview with CNN's Larry King in advance of the opening of the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York City.

"I think he's also growing into the job, as I did -- as nearly everybody does," Clinton said of Obama. "Nobody shows up just ready to be president."

Nobody? Hmmmm.

(Short Takes is what it says it is -- short takes on political news of the day.)

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 22, 2009; 10:01 AM ET
Categories:  Short Takes  
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If we assume that Bill Clinton meant what he said when he said "Nobody shows up just ready to be president".....

his 2008 campaign argument that his wife was prepared and then-senator Obama wasn't....

looks like self-serving hypocritcal nonsense.

I doubt that a person who hadn't mastered that art could be elected dog catcher in Punxatawney nowadays.

Failure to master it disqualifies a person from pursuit of higher office.

This is how we are saddled with THE president with the best chance since FDR to enact national health care, and we are also stuck with this campaign promise:

Providing decent health care to every American will cost less than the current system under which we provide decent health care to every American with insurance, and every American who stumbles into an emergency room gripping their abdomen and moaning.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | September 22, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Its too bad we can't get the Russians to come help us fight the insurgency we created to fight them. But wait! The Russians are starting to help. Maybe we can get Chinese help if we don't pester them too much about Urumchi. Maybe we can get Iran to help us fight the (Sunni!) Taliban if we give up pestering them about their nukes and their growing control in Iraq. I swear, the Afpak war is winnable.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 22, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"best equipped to step into the presidency on day one and do the job" is not the same as showing up "just ready to be president." even the best-equipped presidential candidate may well have room to grow into the job. clinton's comments on larry king are consistent with his earlier statements, explicit and implied.

Posted by: zhu_rongji | September 22, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

This Washington Post story captures the stark divide over Afghanistan, with a unified military command on the one side — including McChrystal, Mullen, and Petraeus — and a president who is not sure he wants to follow through on "the counterinsurgency strategy he set in motion six months ago" on the other. There's this anonymous quote from one observer: "He can send more troops and it will be a disaster and he will destroy the Democratic party. Or he can send no more troops and it will be a disaster and the Republicans will say he lost the war." Isn't this extraordinary? Obama will roil the Democratic party by sending more troops to fight the war that Democrats have said for years is the "necessary war" (in Obama's words), the central war in the fight against terror, etc., etc. It's hard to imagine a starker demonstration of bad faith on an important issue of national security

what a pitiful excuse for a present ident.

Posted by: snowbama | September 22, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

and even now Barry is totally over his head. Expect a flip flop on the War very soon. It's amatuer hour.

but now is not the time. the war can wait. Barry is busy doing tv shows and playing golf.

Posted by: snowbama | September 22, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

"Truth's violinist is always beaten with his own bow."

-- Croatian Proverb



Where is the Justice Dept. Civil Rights Division investigation into the covert use of silent, harmful microwave and laser directed energy weapons on unjustly targeted Americans and their families... a Bush-legacy federal-local "multi-agency coordinated action program" that continues to commit civil and human rights violations under Team Obama...

...including warrantless GPS "community stalking" harassment by vigilantes affiliated with federally-funded community policing and town watch groups? OR RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | September 22, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: JakeD | September 22, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I have a hard time believing that even Hillary thought she would enter the Presidency fully prepared to run everything. If anything, being married to Bill would give her first hand knowledge on how there's no substitute for actually being on the job.

Or at least, I assume so. Not like I've actually been there.

Posted by: DDAWD | September 22, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse


This is a great idea as a segment, but if you're looking for political inconsistency, you have a FAR richer field to mine that Bill Clinton!

Posted by: sverigegrabb | September 22, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Obviously Bill figured he would be there so they would be ready on day one. The Clintons ran as a team, as much as they denied it. She invoked his record and his experience as if it were her own.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 22, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

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