As previously noted, I have a soft spot for Hillary. But this week's robocall squabble has me shaking my head, wondering if it's possible for her team to draw any starker distinction between their vision of/approach to politics and the Obamaniacs'. To recap: Post-Iowa, an unnerved Hillary campaign mailed out flyers slamming Obama for being an insufficiently enthusiastic champion of abortion rights. Obama's people responded by ordering up automated calls featuring an abortion rights' activist defending their man's pro-choice credentials and accusing Hillary of "last-minute smears." Team Hillary, in turn, responds by...whining that the people contracted to run Obama's robocalls may have insufficiently "scrubbed" their call list and so illegally contacted some voters on the do-not-call registry.

I may be underestimating the level of righteous indignation among New Hampshire Democrats, but this doesn't strike me as an inspired move by Hil. Maybe Obama's vendor did a shoddy job vetting their list. Maybe some people received calls that shouldn't have. Maybe Team Obama even suspected this sort of thing was happening and didn't care--or at least didn't care enough. As Hillary's people note, Republicans abused the robocall aplenty in recent years. And I realize the goal here is to slap down Obama's halo and prove to voters that he plays dirty politics just like everybody else.

That said, is this really where Team Hillary wants to focus the spotlight and its energies this week? Does a candidate already seen as too pinched and limited and obsessed with the political game want voters to see her responding to The Great Obama Challenge by sniping about some tactical misstep that most people are likely to chalk up to error or laziness on the party of a campaign contractor? Among other risks, this into-the-weeds response will suggest to many observers that the Hillary camp has no better, more substantive comeback to Team Obama's accusation that panic has driven her to play dirty.

Far be it from me to second-guess the masters of political hardball (at least as the Dems play it), but this reeks of desperation.  

--Michelle Cottle