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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Clinton's Experience Claim Under Scrutiny

The debate over readiness for the global arena is emerging as the flash point in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, crystallized by a dramatic Clinton campaign commercial asking who is best prepared to answer a 3 a.m. phone call to the White House during a crisis.

Clinton says she is the answer, arguing that Obama's major achievement was his early opposition to the Iraq war in 2002. Indeed, Obama doesn't have much in the way of experience managing foreign crises, nor does Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, for that matter. In fact, it is rare for any president to have that kind of experience before coming into office.

In Clinton's case, she may well have exercised influence on foreign policy that is hard to document because she had a unique opportunity to offer private counsel to her husband, President Bill Clinton.

But while Hillary Clinton represented the U.S. on the world stage at important moments while she was first lady, there is scant evidence that she played a pivotal role in major foreign policy decisions or in managing global crises....

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