In a conference call that ended moments ago, the Obama campaign explicitly went after Hillary Clinton for her claims of experience in crisis situations.
Susan Rice, a foreign policy adviser to Obama, mocked Clinton for her claim of having made a corkscrew landing into Bosnia under the threat of sniper fire, when, as Rice pointed out, she made the trip with Chelsea, Sheryl Crow and Sinbad.
“In fact, it was a meet-and-greet and concert with the troops,” said Rice. “So it’s hard to understand exactly what she is referring to when she says she has unparalleled crisis management experience.”
Rice also needled Clinton for her claim of having helped open Macedonian borders to refugees of the Kosovo war in 1999. Clinton, as The Washington Post pointed out, arrived a day after the border was reopened, so to the extent that she had a role in reopening the borders at all, it was as a sign of the United States’ commitment to the issue and not a result of her negotiating skills.
Rice argued, as she did previously, that “Senator Clinton, Senator Obama and Senator McCain have never had to answer the proverbial 3 a.m. phone call. Only a commander in chief has shouldered that unique burden and you don’t get that kind of experience merely by being married to a commander in chief, as Senator Clinton suggested today.”
When I asked why the Obama campaign was choosing this moment to step up its attacks about Clinton’s claims of experience, Rice and Greg Craig, another Obama foreign policy adviser on the call, said they had been making it all throughout Texas, and expressed some bewilderment that it had not been getting much attention from the press.
On the call, the campaign was also asked to respond to Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson, who today compared Obama to Ken Starr for calling for Clinton to release her tax records.
“It really is one of the most outrageous things I have heard from the Clinton campaign in a long time,” Craig said.