Beltway Happenings
March 10, 2008--As back and forth continued between the Clinton and Obama campaigns over who is best qualified to serve as commander-in-chief, the Obama campaign held a press conference with its top military advisors. 

Above (L to R) former Secretary of the Army Clifford Alexander, Jr. (Carter Administration), former Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig (Clinton Administration), senior Obama foreign policy advisor Susan Rice, and former Secretary of the Air Force F. Whitten Peters (Clinton Administration) speak to reporters. 

The three Secretaries largely focused on Obama's leadership qualities.  For example Danzig remarked on "what an extraordinary commander-in-chief he would be."  Alexander said, "This is not about misgivings about her [Sen. Clinton]."  However Rice was more critical, pointing to the irony in the Clinton campaign's recent suggestions that Sen. Obama is not ready to be commander-in-chief while they have at the same time touted him as a potential running mate.  Rice also questioned Sen. Clinton's crisis management experience.  "What exactly is the experience?" she asked.

The campaigns have traded barbs on this subject since Sen. Clinton delivered a major foreign policy speech on Feb. 25; the Clinton campaign's 3 a.m. phone call television spot ("Children"), run in Texas starting late February, accelerated the debate. 

Earlier in the day the Clinton campaign held a conference call to discuss Sen. Obama's Iraq plan.  Present on that call were Gen. Wesley Clark, Lt. Gen. Joe Ballard, the campaign's national security director, Lee Feinstein and its communications director Howard Wolfson.

Also seen at this event, but not speaking, were Lawrence Korb, who served as an Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Reagan Administration and is now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a senior advisor to the Center for Defense Information, and Denis McDonough, who is the campaign's national security coordinator.

ed. note, March 11: See also Obama campaign memo.
Copyright © 2008  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action