Bob Novak picks up on the Clinton-Obama fight this AM:
WASHINGTON -- Democratic sources believe that the harsh response by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign to criticism by Hollywood producer David Geffen stems from an overreaction by Bill Clinton to any attack on his pardon policy as president.
Geffen sniped at the Clintons in his interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd because President Clinton had pardoned financial contributor Marc Rich instead of American Indian activist Leonard Peltier. Geffen, a longtime backer of Bill Clinton, is backing Sen. Barack Obama for president.
The movie mogul's comments marked the first time Bill Clinton had been subjected to an attack from his party since the 1992 campaign. The former president was reported as infuriated, raising the question of whether he will rise to the bait in any further intraparty criticism of his wife.
Close supporters of Sen. Barack Obama's presidential candidacy were pleased for the short term by his campaign's sharp retort to Sen. Hillary Clinton's criticism of him but are concerned by its long-range implications.
Obama backers said his tough response demonstrated that as a newcomer to big-time politics, he could take a punch and then hit back. The broader problem is whether Clinton and Obama will engage in a continuous head-to-head struggle that would open the way for another candidate (especially former Sen. John Edwards).
A footnote: Obama's strategists were happy about him skipping the first Democratic presidential candidate forum last Wednesday at Carson City, Nev. (preceding the inaugural Nevada caucuses next Jan. 19). Obama did not want to tear up his schedule in order to get five minutes at the forum and felt Clinton wasted her time doing so.
I think this was a loss for Hillary. If Bill's political radar is so far off, and he's going to force Hillary's campaign to veer wildly over every attack on him or the candidate, then it's not going to be a smooth campaign.
I would not expect this Hillary-Obama fight to be a permanent thing though - as Obama's supporters fear. I would think it at least somewhat likely that Obama will be contrasting himself with both Hillary and Edwards. He represents the future; while they symbolize the past.
Check out Mickey as well, who seems to have sunken his teeth into this.