The Clinton campaign thinks that the sort of questions Barack Obama faced last night—tough in a way that angered Obama’s sympathizers, but not at all unexpected—were appropriate.
On a conference call now, New Yorker legal writer Jeffrey Toobin just gave Howard Wolfson and Phil Singer the chance to perform some media criticism, asking them if questions about Barack Obama’s acquaintances and other “trivia” were a valuable part of the political process.
“In an ideal world,” said Wolfson, Clinton would only focus on policy, because she is a “policy wonk.” But, he added, “we have learned that campaigns are about more than that.”
Wolfson said that the questions were worthwhile because Obama’s weak responses in the face of tough questions last night showed that he’d be flawed in a general-election race.
“I do believe,” said Wolfson, that the sorts of questions about Obama’s relationships with Weathermen members were made so “appropriately, effectively and candidly.”
His response, Wolfson said, “does not speak well about the kind of candidate he’d be against John McCain.”
Phil Singer then added that with the range of questions asked of candidates in the modern political and media culture, “the full measure of the candidate is taken by the public and it makes you a tougher candidate.”
A few minutes later, in a sharp interaction with a reporter over a Bill Ayers questions, Singer pointed out that “Senator Clinton did not raise this question last night. It was raised by the moderators.”