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How to deflate Hillary Clinton's 'experience' argument

February 21, 2008 |  1:30 pm

the University of Texas at Austin gym which will host tonight's debates At times, as Barack Obama has heard Hillary Clinton invoke her "35-years-of-experience" mantra, he must have been tempted to broach the historical reminder that columnist George Will does today.

Perhaps he'll feel that temptation tonight in Texas, when he squares off with Clinton in a crucial debate on CNN (starting 5 p.m. PST) and she again, no doubt, touts her resume as far better suited for the presidency than his.

But Obama knows he can't raise the caveat about the value of experience because, by doing so, he would be linking himself to an American deity. And that would be presumptuous, despite the rarefied status Obama has achieved for some supporters.

But Will can make the point. And, after a big wind up, so he does at the end of his piece:

"The president who came to office with the most glittering array of experiences had served 10 years in the House of Representatives, then became minister to Russia, then served 10 years in the Senate, then four years as secretary of state (during a war that enlarged the nation by 33 percent), then was minister to Britain. Then, in 1856, James Buchanan was elected president and in just one term secured a strong claim to being ranked as America's worst president. Abraham Lincoln, the inexperienced former one-term congressman, had an easy act to follow. "

You can read the prelude to the payoff paragraph here.

-- Don Frederick

AP photo of the the University of Texas at Austin gym which will host tonight's debates by Harry Cabluck