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Are You Experienced?

I think Obama has finally found an effective rejoinder to Clinton's continued attacks on his experience (or lack thereof). From an interview with ABC's "Nightline":

"I think the fact of the matter is that Sen. Clinton is claiming basically the entire eight years of the Clinton presidency as her own, except for the stuff that didn't work out, in which case she says she has nothing to do with it," Obama said, and added, referring to his relationship with his wife, Michelle, "There is no doubt that Bill Clinton had faith in her and consulted with her on issues, in the same way that I would consult with Michelle, if there were issues," Obama said. "On the other hand, I don't think Michelle would claim that she is the best qualified person to be a United States Senator by virtue of me talking to her on occasion about the work I've done."

To be sure, Hillary was probably more involved in the Clinton presidency than Michelle Obama has been in her husband's Senate career. But, up until now at least, her campaign has tried to have it both ways on this score--most strikingly when Bill tried to take the blame for the failure of her health care plan. In fact, at times her campaign hasn't even wanted to take credit for her successes (as Mike discovered while reporting his story on her foreign policy role during Bill's time in office). 

It's a tricky argument Clinton has to make about the "experience" she acquired as First Lady--since it inevitably conjures up bad memories for some of the Clintons' 1992 boasts about their partnership and "two-for-one" bargain. But it should be tricky for her--especially since that argument would only get trickier in a general election campaign, when more voters will have more bad memories of Bill's eight years in office. Let's see how (or even if) she responds to Obama.

--Jason Zengerle