The gloves are coming off in the Democratic Presidential nomination race. Former President Bill Clinton is now directly challenging Senator Barack Obama’s experience and electability in an interview sure to be featured in Republican ads should Obama win the nomination. Patrick Healy reports for The New York Times:
Former President Bill Clinton made an unusually direct attack Friday night on Senator Barack Obama, one of his wife’s leading rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, suggesting that voters who would support someone with Mr. Obama’s experience were willing to “roll the dice” on the presidency.
Appearing on “The Charlie Rose Show” on PBS, Mr. Clinton repeatedly questioned Mr. Obama’s preparedness for the White House, noting that he took office in January 2005 and became a presidential candidate about two years later. (Mr. Obama was an Illinois state senator before that.)
“When is the last time we elected a president based on one year of service in the Senate before he started running?” Mr. Clinton said. At another point, he appeared to compare Mr. Obama to a “gifted television commentator” running for president. “They’d have only one year less experience in national politics” than Mr. Obama, he said.
Read the rest at the link above. Given that Bill Clinton is both the Democratic Party’s senior statesman and most popular figure, this is the political equivalent of nuclear war. Obama is refusing to engage, responding as he has before with references to the questions about Clinton’s experience in 1992. Those questions failed, though, because Clinton had several terms as Governor and one as Attorney General to offer as executive experience, of which Obama has none.