Well, you know, if you’re comparing how long I’ve been in public office, I’ve actually been in public office longer than her. I think that Senator Clinton is a capable and, and intelligent person. I think she’s been a fine senator from New York. But when it comes to the issues that are really moving the American people right now—healthcare, energy, how we deal with a shifting economy—those are all issues that I’ve been working with at every level of government.Can't we ever look straight at the question whether being First Lady counts for anything? Obama should attack her for relying on being First Lady as a credential and for suppressing the record of her time in the White House. And he should stir up doubts about the wisdom of returning a former President to the White House. Why even concede that she's been a "fine senator" or that she's "capable"? Point to some failures! This is your big chance. Obama is so bland.
MR. RUSSERT: A year ago, you were asked about Hillary Clinton. And this the exchange. “Where do you find yourself having the biggest differences with Hillary Clinton, politically?” Obama: “You know, I think very highly of Hillary. The more I get to know her, the more I admire her. I think she’s the most disciplined—one of the most disciplined people I’ve ever met. She’s one of the toughest. She’s got an extraordinary intelligence.” “She is—she’s somebody who’s in this stuff for the right reasons. She’s passionate about moving the country forward on issues like healthcare and children. So it’s not clear to me what differences we’ve had since I’ve been in the Senate.” Do you still hold to that? There aren’t any differences?He won't make even the gentlest criticism. Is he waiting for everyone else to do that or for her to fail on her own — a la Dean in '04 — and then to waltz into the opening John Kerry-style? Is he running for Vice President? Or is there no strategy at all, just a guy with no fight in him?
SEN. OBAMA: Well, I think that I, as I said earlier, I have admiration for Senator Clinton. I think she’s a fine public servant. The reason I’m running is because I think we’re in a unique moment in American history right now. The nation’s at war; our planet is in peril. We’ve got a series of decisions that we’re going to have to make. And I believe that I can more effectively than any other candidate in this race bring the country together, overcome some of the same old arguments that we’ve been having since the 1990s. I think I can reach out to Republicans and independents more effectively than any other candidate that...
IN THE COMMENTS: "Hilarious! A faintly negative post about Obama and suddenly two comments lauding Obama from newcomers without profiles!" Simon notices something about the way blogging works.
ALSO IN THE COMMENTS: Zeb offers this answer to my last set of questions:
There's another choice. Is he afraid of her? is he afraid of really getting into it with her, of going into attack mode. Is he afraid of being crosswise with the Clinton machine? If you think about it, none of her Democrat opponents seriously attack and go after her. Maybe they're all afraid. They've all seen what the Clinton machine does to its enemies.UPDATE: Walter Shapiro in Salon:
The next morning, Obama appeared for a full-hour interview in another arena of political combat, facing off against Tim Russert on "Meet the Press." The fiery Obama of Saturday night had been replaced on Sunday morning by a replicant, a tepid candidate mostly concerned with avoiding mistakes rather than winning converts...
[I]f Obama really wants to be the one who knocks Hillary off her pedestal, he should remember that statues rarely topple without a hard push.
AND: You can watch Obama's Saturday night speech here.