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Not Exactly Extending An Olive Branch To Bill Clinton

I guess you can't exactly blame Team Obama after Clinton's recent performances. Still, this graf in a Times web story about Obama's composure felt slightly jarring:

Obama advisers say that, just as Mr. Clinton’s temperament worked for him against the patrician Mr. Bush and the cranky Mr. Perot, Mr. Obama’s steadiness is proving effective in this race against Mr. McCain. These advisers note, too, that Mr. Clinton only won a plurality of the general election vote in the three-way contest; a majority of the nation never voted for him. The advisers say they believe that Mr. Obama’s temperament is more broadly appealing than Mr. Clinton’s was, and that it will help him win over larger swaths of the electorate.

That sound you hear is a blood vessel bursting somewhere in Harlem.

For what it's worth, I really disagree with one of the main points of the piece, which is that Obama failed to connect at Tuesday's townhall-style debate:

“Obama did not vary his tone of voice at all — it’s one of his main problems in connecting,” said Ruth Sherman, a political communications consultant. “It is a beautiful voice, with lots of highs and lows of pitch, but the general tone is always the same. There is much, much more he could do, just with his voice, to increase his impact.”

“Most of the time, too, Obama pivoted to his stump speech, missing opportunity after opportunity to connect with the audience and beyond,” she added. “I can’t get over this. Why isn’t he making more of an effort? Perhaps he’s doing well and just biding his time, figuring that he just has to do O.K.? These are leadership skills, and they cannot be dismissed.”

I thought he connected pretty well--mostly by explaining his ideas in such concrete, digestible ways.

--Noam Scheiber