March 26, 2008
War Stories (Bob Franken)
@ 10:22 am
Barack Obama made, perhaps, one of his smartest moves of the campaign. After a brutal week last week, he took a little vacation, took some time on the beach. He got out of Dodge, so to speak, escaping the political shootout for a few days.
Hillary Clinton stayed behind, which was probably a tactical mistake, considering all the fire she was under. It was a barrage of sniping about sniping, or the lack thereof.
By now we all know that candidate Clinton had, uh, embellished her resume a bit, when talking about her experience facing possible hostile bullets in a 1996 visit to Bosnia.
The problem is that her dramatic description of the danger-filled arrival was disputed by just about everyone else there, to say nothing of countless videos showing a leisurely stroll from the plane to an unhurried ceremony. It was hardly the situation she described, where she and her entourage had to keep their “heads down.”
The way she painted her Tuzla trek was hardly artful. Finally, the Hillary folks knew it was time to head off any more of the damaging ridicule. So she called a news conference.
She “misspoke,” said Clinton. “I made a mistake. That happens. It proves I’m human, which, you know, for some people, is a revelation.”
Actually, that was a nice touch. A little self-pity has proven to be very effective in this campaign.
But what we’re seeing, perhaps, are instances that challenge the claims made by all three candidates.
In the Hillary Clinton case, the claim that she brings superior experience to the table is challenged by charges that experience is exaggerated, too peripheral to really count.
John McCain had to deal with some doubts about his oft-stated expertise during a trip that was designed to show off how familiar he was with the foreign policy terrain.
The problem is he kept tripping on that terrain with his mistakes about al Qaeda and Iraq/Iran. It caused some to wonder just how valuable all those Senate trips overseas had been over the years.
As for Obama, we’re discovering that, much as he’d like, he cannot put the racial issue behind. We cannot. His speech, necessitated by the incendiary rhetoric of his pastor, was well received, but did little to persuade those who were just looking for an excuse to not vote for an African-American.
All in all, Obama came up with the best campaign strategy of all. Stop campaigning. BRILLIANT!!!