If you watched even a few minutes of the Democratic debate on Thursday night, you're well aware that many of the biggest applause lines were swipes at Republicans. Clinton had a good (though recycled) line about the president, and Obama took shots at Romney and McCain. Obama continued his attacks on McCain yesterday by saying:

“There was a time when Senator McCain courageously defied the fiscal madness of massive tax cuts for the wealthy in the midst of a costly war,” Obama said.  “That was before he started running for the Republican nomination and fell in line.”

Generally I think it's good for Obama to be a little harsher in his condemnations of the GOP, but I am not sure that attacking a Republican who happens to be extremely popular with independents is a good strategy. In California, for example, a state where he has a lot of momentum, Obama most likely needs the independent vote to put him over the top (independents can only vote in the Democratic primary). In short, it's probably more effective for Democrats to attack the president--at least until the nomination is sewn up.

--Isaac Chotiner