you two leave me alone

Posted on January 21, 2008

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Barack Obama is tired of having to fight more than one imposing opponent in his quest to gain the Democratic party’s nomination as its presidential candidate.

No, we are not talking about having to deal with both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. Or even Dennis Kucinich.

In an interview with ABC, Obama complained of former President Bill Clinton’s intense involvement in his wife Hillary’s campaign, going as far as to call it “troubling”.

“You know the former president, who I think all of us have a lot of regard for, has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife to a level that I think is pretty troubling,” Obama said. “He continues to make statements that are not supported by the facts — whether it’s about my record of opposition to the war in Iraq or our approach to organizing in Las Vegas. This has become a habit, and one of the things that we’re going to have to do is to directly confront Bill Clinton when he’s making statements that are not factually accurate.”

“I understand him wanting to promote his wife’s candidacy,” Obama told ABC. “She’s got a record that she can run on. But I think it’s important that we try to maintain some — you know, level of honesty and candor during the course of the campaign. If we don’t, then we feed the cynicism that has led so many Americans to be turned off to politics.”

In the spirit of not engaging in negativity, someone should (gently) wake Obama up and tell him that he is in an election afterall, not an anointing.

Hillary is entitled to harness the support of her spouse, just as Obama himself is. Hadn’t his wife Michelle been campaigning vigorously for him in Nevada? She hadn’t been a total saint herself, taking swipes at the Clintons, the most underhanded being the “if you can’t run your own house, you can’t run the White House” moment. We did not hear Hillary jumping all over her, saying that it’s not fair that Michelle makes remarks like that. Is Obama suggesting that it is fine for his wife to make snide remarks for him, but not for Bill to hit back for Hillary?

It is a clever tactic the Clinton’s are employing – Bill plays the pugnacious defender, while Hillary concentrates on talking about the issues, blissfully free of the scrimmage.

But Obama should toughen up and refrain from sounding like a whiner or a sore loser. Afterall, if he cannot take the heat from the Clintons, how is he able to survive when the Republican party sinks its even more vicious claws into him?

And it’s not a good sign if he actually took on the most stressful job in the world – is he going to complain every time the likes of Hugo Chavez, Ahmed Ahmadinejad or Fidel Castro, leaders from countries who routinely rail against the United States, start calling him names, like they have done in the past against George W. Bush?

Instead of acting so entitled, Obama should realize that he has to fight for first the party’s nomination, then in the general election, if he seriously wants to be the next occupant of the White House.

And don’t dump on the Clintons for playing the race card – Obama was doing exactly that when he spoke at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s former church today. Addressing a black audience, Obama appealed for unity, calling it “the great need of the hour”.

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