Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Behind the Obama-Bashing

On the Drudge Report this afternoon, in three successive links, Barack Obama is taken to task by Mitt Romney, Elizabeth Edwards and a New Hampshire voter.

At a campaign stop in Nashua, Obama had said about Afghanistan, "We've got to get the job done there. And that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."

A Romney spokesman jumped on this as being “emblematic of Senator Obama's lack of experience for the job of commander-in-chief.”

In a magazine interview, Mrs. Edwards accused him of lifting speech material from her husband.

“Obama,” she said, “seems to be using a lot of John's 2004 language, which is maybe not surprising since one of his speechwriters was one of our speechwriters, his media guy was our media guy. These people know John's mantra as well as anybody could know it."

The woman in Hanover, N.H. at a restaurant gathering of eight people told Obama, “You can be it. But you've got to stop--excuse me for being blunt--you've got to stop getting involved in the way people are fighting each other, chewing you up a little more."

Aside from the fact that Drudgers are likely to enjoy Obama-bashing, there may be something else here. Obama’s remark about Afghanistan, aside from being to the point, is not remarkable, and the idea that he needs to steal John Edwards’ “mantra” is ludicrous.

But his New Hampshire admirer, Maggie North, may have a point. What bothers Romney, Edwards, Clinton and the other candidates is the appeal of Obama’s freshness to voters like Ms. North. They are under pressure to turn that against him as inexperience.

If he is to run this campaign gauntlet, he is will have to find ways to stop reacting defensively and take the initiative in making the case that experience got us into this mess and that what he will bring to the table is good sense and judgment.

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