Michelle Obama Brings It (Throwing Down the Leadership Gauntlet)

When asked on Monday about Hillary Clinton backers questioning his experience -- a tactic
now being "pushed" by the Clinton campaign -- Obama responded:

The only person who would probably be prepared to be our president on Day 1
would be Bill Clinton -- not Hillary Clinton...I think that we're all very qualified for
the job. The question is who can inspire the nation to get us past the politics that
have bogged us down in the past.

Now comes Michelle Obama, who was in New York yesterday:

"For people who say that Barack Obama is not experienced...I can't wrap my
head around that," Michelle Obama told hundreds of people crowded into the
offices of the nonprofit Our Children's Foundation in Harlem.

"[H]e's ready to lead," she said. "The question is: Are you ready?...Will you
move out of fear, or will you move out of possibility?"

Michelle Obama added, "What they are counting on is for us not
caring...[and that voters will] stay at home."

It appears that the Obama campaign is gearing up to re-frame the entire debate over the meaning of
experience and leadership -- and to do it in a way that uses Clinton's own frames against her. This is
very good news.

Predictably, the Clinton campaign is highlighting Barack Obama's remarks on its news aggregator site,
in an undignified and unpresidential effort to mock Obama while feigning mock-woundedness over Obama's
truth-telling "jab."

Of course, the Clinton site doesn't link to the original Chicago Sun-Times piece, with Obama's complete remarks.
It links to an AP story that includes a fabricated rebuttal drawn entirely from a Bill Clinton fund-raising e-mail --
an e-mail which, by the way, features a photo of Bill gesturing expansively to a crowd, with Hillary clapping in the
background and looking offstage. Nice one, AP.

But just as Barack Obama's call for a new kind of politics is not a promise to roll over on the truth, Hillary Clinton's
tactic of mockery and woundedness has a very short shelf life. Clinton has been coasting along for months now on
the popular assumption that she has better experience and better leadership. But at some point very, very soon,
this assumption is not going to be good enough. She's going to have to prove it.

This week's remarks from Barack and Michelle Obama challenge Clinton to prove it. And they challenge the
American people to stop and consider that the right experience and the right leadership is about much more
than marrying well.

Tags: 2008, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, president (all tags)

Comments

42 Comments

Re: Michelle Obama Brings It

Thanks for the Diary - I'm glad to see this... The Obamas have responded in a fair way consistent with his ideals - good to see.

by gb1437a 2007-06-27 12:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama Brings It
Right -- cheers.
by horizonr 2007-06-27 01:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama Brings It

I am glad to see that the obama supporters are not letting Hillary get the best of voters.

I am supporting Edwards but support good deeds no matter who does it!

by yann123 2007-06-27 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama Brings It

Isn't Hillary's new campaign slogan - "ready"?

by annefrank 2007-06-27 01:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama Brings It
That's exactly the point -- readiness cuts both ways.
by horizonr 2007-06-27 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama Brings It

I think Michelle Obama is terrific.  It will be so great to have a First Lady who understands she wasn't elected and her role is not to institute policy but to ground her husband to reality.  I love the story Barack tells of when the first bill he introduced passed and he called home all excited and his wife said "yeah, yeah, that's great but the house is crawling with ants! Pick up some Raid on your way home."  

by Doug Dilg 2007-06-27 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama Brings It
Yes -- and thanks for saying "will be so great," not "would be"....
by horizonr 2007-06-27 01:13PM | 0 recs
horizonr

"And they challenge the American people to stop and consider that the right experience and the right leadership is about much more than marrying well."

What a load of crap.  

BTW, Hillary's supporters are most anxious to see Obama and Hillary go head-to-head on the experience and leadership issues.  I've got my popcorn ready for that one!  

by samueldem 2007-06-27 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: horizonr

This is another desperate couple. I read in an article Ms. Obama was hysterical about her husband's safety, and consulted extensively about buying an insurance.

Ms. Obama got her job via her husband's strong hand. They are really very dirty people.

by kostner 2007-06-27 01:53PM | 0 recs
Re: horizonr

You are headed for banned troll status with remarkable determination.  Kostner, eh?  As in CarolineKostner, I'm thinking?  Another figure skater psuedonym along the lines of CarolineZhang and MaoAsada?

Get over it and get lost.  Are you trying to set a record here for getting banned?

by Shaun Appleby 2007-06-27 04:23PM | 0 recs
Re: horizonr
Can you give me a link for that 'marry well' quote?
I'm going to do a diary on Ms. Obama.
by kostner 2007-06-27 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: horizonr

It's what I said they ought to do in a diary a little while back.

1) She's just a name.

  1. Insiders insider.
  2. She's DINO.

I'm glad the Obama camp is doing it there is no other way to fight Hillary.

by Rt hon McAdder esq KBE 2007-06-27 01:57PM | 0 recs
Re: horizonr

Good analysis.  

She is experienced in four ways that I see:

1.Failing to pass a Health Care package.

  1. She has lots of experience in maintaining the ethical minimum - not taking one extra step beyond the lowest requirement under the law.
  2. She has experience of many positions on the Iraq war.
  3. And, She has plenty of experience defending herself and her husband from scandals

by gb1437a 2007-06-27 03:00PM | 0 recs
Re: horizonr

A fair assessment of Hillary Clinton's experience and leadership must answer, among other
questions:

Precisely how much of Hillary Clinton's opportunities for leadership were not leveraged -- and
which assumptions about her leadership are not banked -- on Bill Clinton?

Only when all of this erased can one compare Clinton's and Obama's relative fitness for
presidential office.

by horizonr 2007-06-27 02:09PM | 0 recs
Or, you could just watch how the

two candidates and campaigns are performing.

Clinton: disciplined, on message, impressive command in the debates

Obama: nice speeches on broad themes, less than stunning command of issues, rookie mistakes. Good power but overall hits like he just came up from AAA ball in Pawtucket.

There's no substitute for experience facing big league pitching.

by hwc 2007-06-27 04:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Or, you could just watch how the

Oh, and please don't mistake treachery for experience.

by noquacks 2007-06-27 04:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Or, you could just watch how the

I suggest you compare the Issue pages of Hillary and Obama - then come back and tell us who is better on issues... Hillary's page says nothing of significance.

by gb1437a 2007-06-27 07:26PM | 0 recs
I believe this whole experience

argument is crap.  None of the frontrunners are in the position to be using it.

I listened to one of the guest pundits on Hardball and they had the audacity to still, "most voters are still waiting on the next chapter of Obama.  When will he be delivering substance."

I swear pundits are some of the most dishonest bastards alive.  Just go to his website for crying out loud.

by lovingj 2007-06-27 01:44PM | 0 recs
Re: I believe this whole experience

trouble is the meta issue he's pushing is Bipartisanship. Consensus. He's All High Broder.

by Rt hon McAdder esq KBE 2007-06-27 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: I believe this whole experience

"I believe this whole experience argument is crap.  None of the frontrunners are in the position to be using it."

Au contraire.  Whether you like it or not, the issue of "experience" is not even close when it comes to people's perceptions (which I personally agree with, BTW.)  Clinton has the constant lead on "experience" to the tune of 6 to 1, 7 to 1.  They are probably trying to cut into that with these comments, but the problem is that most people read these statements and shake their heads, wonder what would prompt such a (from their perspective) nonsensical comment.

by georgep 2007-06-27 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: I believe this whole experience
You don't re-frame the debate with two comments. These comments are a
signal of intent. More comments to come. Many more.
by horizonr 2007-06-27 02:36PM | 0 recs
Re: I believe this whole experience

Right -- and this also is why Obama stresses leadership over experience.

Experience is about two things:

1
Gaining a certain quality of experience.

2
Gaining enough experience that you have crossed a
certain threshold of political savviness.

Although I prefer Obama's (1), there is no question that both Obama
and Clinton do well on this front.

But when Clinton claims to be more experienced than Obama, what she
really means is that she's better on (2).

Obama is saying that all the top-tier Democratic candidates -- and probably all
of the second tier ones, as well -- have crossed the Political Savviness Threshold.
I agree.

Beyond that, says Obama, it's a question of leadership. As Obama told the Chicago
Sun-Times, a big part of leadership goes to the question of who can "inspire the nation."

Of course, that kind of leadership is not so readily quantifiable.

Which is why Hillary Clinton runs away from the issue as fast as her poll-tested legs
will carry her.

by horizonr 2007-06-27 03:34PM | 0 recs
Re: I believe this whole experience

What has Obama led so far? The only thing I saw him leading was in 'American idol' style campaign.

To think Obama is not poll-tested is just amusing. Did you read the front page story on those two ads. Jerome clearly told us Obama's polling data on the second ad.

by kostner 2007-06-27 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: I believe this whole experience

He's been leading the Democratic Party's Ethics in Government reform.  Matter of fact, he was handed the point person position on this by the Dem leadership immediately upon coming into the Senate because he had such a good track record on this issue in Illinois.  He has continued to lead in this area even beyond the measures which have been passed, for instance with his release of the earmarks requests which is not required. He was joined in this by about 50 congressmen, but we are all still waiting for Hillary to do the same.

by Doug Dilg 2007-06-27 04:00PM | 0 recs
Re: I believe this whole experience

I'm not sure that having Rezko pay for a third of his house resonates that well with his leadership on ethics.

by hwc 2007-06-27 04:04PM | 0 recs
Re: I believe this whole experience
Your candidate puts you in a poor position to throw stones on this issue.
by horizonr 2007-06-27 04:19PM | 0 recs
Re: I believe this whole experience

You are headed for banned troll status with remarkable determination.  Kostner, eh?  As in CarolineKostner, I'm thinking?  Another figure skater psuedonym along the lines of CarolineZhang and MaoAsada?

Get over it and get lost.  Are you trying to set a record here for getting banned?

by Shaun Appleby 2007-06-27 04:26PM | 0 recs
Obama is trying to mimic Rovian tactics

Obama is trying to mimic Rovian tactics. To attack your opponent's strength. However, this is a misguided tactics. When you attack your opponent's strength, you have to attack mercilessly. This runs directly opposite to Obama's 'new kind of politics'.

I am thrilled to watch Obama's 'experience'. State senator? Community organizer? 2-year sitting senator?

LOL. Sloppy copy of Rovian tactics.

by kostner 2007-06-27 02:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is trying to mimic Rovian tactics

yeah sort of like push polling, get back to the office Hillarybot.

by nevadadem 2007-06-27 02:29PM | 0 recs
Hillary is 44!

Stand by your man Michelle!

by sterkt 2007-06-27 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama Brings It

If Michelle Obama wants to really bring it, she should tell her hubby to quit shooting himself in the foot.

The last issue on the face of the earth that Obama should be raising is "experience". He gets clobbered on that issue. So what's he do? Hands the Clinton campaign the perfect opportunity to make a comparison of Obama's and Clinton's experience the political story for a news cycle or two.

Rookies.

by hwc 2007-06-27 02:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama Brings It

Hillary's experience at alienating half the counrty and failing at health care reform and her iraq war vote is a perfectly valid issue.

by nevadadem 2007-06-27 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama

The ball is now in Hillary's court re the "experience" issue - I'm sure everyone onher campaign team is chuckling.

Every time Obama goes after Hillary he ends up with crap all over himself. Who is running Obama's campaign?  Must be the same folks who sent out the memo about Hillary and Indian Americans.  

Question:  When will Hillary decide to "deck" Obama?  Stay tuned.

by samueldem 2007-06-27 03:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama

Perhaps one of the questioners tomorrow will take up Robert Naiman's suggestion which he wrote on a number of blogs in early March:


If you have the good fortune to find yourself in one of those situations where you get to question one of the Democrats running for President - especially one of the sitting Senators - perhaps you'd like to ask some variant of the following:

When you had a chance six months ago to protect civilians from being killed or maimed by cluster bombs, how did you vote? If you weren't in the Senate, how would you have voted? If you voted no, why did you vote no?

I'd love to hear Clinton explain how her experience guided her judgement in that vote.

by Doug Dilg 2007-06-27 03:27PM | 0 recs
Who is running Obama's campaign?

Barack Obama.

In a Presidential campaign, the buck stops at the top.

by hwc 2007-06-27 04:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama

On the contrary.  Clinton came off "whiny" when she had her little spat about David Geffen or whoever it was.  She isn't invincible as she proved with that exchange of words.  So no, Obama hasn't lost every spat with her, and this is another example.  I wonder what retort the clintons are going to give to this.  

by JeremiahTheMessiah 2007-06-28 01:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama

Even in the Geffen thing Obama came out the worse, I believe.  The issue was muddied by the stupid Lincoln bedroom dig and Obama had more to lose because he supposedly is "running a different type of campaign."  

I am not 100% sure, but I believe Obama's ascent in the polls stopped right around that time.  

by georgep 2007-06-28 06:01AM | 0 recs
They should not focus on experience

but on Hillary's divisiveness and the need to move beyond the 90s. The future does not lie in the past (even though the economy was good back then). Take the best from the past and move along.

Obama is the future orientated candidate in this race.

by Populism2008 2007-06-27 03:52PM | 0 recs
Re: They should not focus on experience
They should not focus on experience.
This is why Obama is shifting the debate from "experience" to "leadership."
by horizonr 2007-06-27 04:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama Brings It
Great Post! Go Michelle!
by BlueDiamond 2007-06-27 09:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama Brings It

"He's ready to lead."  So says MIchelle Obama, an impartial source if ever, no doubt. Did you hear that Taliban people? He's ready to lead! Are you quaking yet? You, Hamas, a great American leader is coming soon. Osama, present yourself at once and stop hiding, a great American leader with super duper weapons of inspiration and charisma is personally coming to escort you out of Waziristan to Guantanamo. Start packing. The Obama's have spoken, and because they say so, faith not deeds is the new standard.  

by superetendar 2007-06-28 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Michelle Obama Brings It
Insightful, as usual, Super Nintendo.
by horizonr 2007-06-28 12:41PM | 0 recs

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