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Hillary Campaigns for John McCain, While Berating Barack

Obama has never argued publicly that a leading GOP candidate brought a better background to the table than a leading Democratic candidate.

I can appreciate, when the pressure's on in a competitive primary, there must be a temptation for a presidential candidate to say literally anything to stop a rival. But if for no other reason than the strength of the party, that temptation has to be kept in check.

I'm afraid Hillary Clinton may have forgotten this point yesterday, when she praised John McCain while attacking Barack Obama.

At times, it seemed Clinton was all but accusing Obama of being an empty suit. She warned voters not to be swayed by speeches that left them thinking, "That was beautiful, but what did it mean?"

Defending her provocative television ad suggesting he was not up to the challenge of answering the White House phone at 3 a.m. in a crisis, she told reporters at a news conference Monday in Toledo: "I have a lifetime of experience I will bring to the White House. I know Senator McCain [the presumptive Republican nominee] has a lifetime of experience he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he made in 2002Åç -- a reference to the address in which Obama, before being elected to the Senate, had publicly opposed the Iraq invasion that she and McCain had voted to authorize.

I noticed that different media outlets had reported her remarks in slightly different ways, so I thought it was at least possible Clinton had been misquoted. But then I saw that Aravosis had posted a YouTube clip (it's to your right).

It's a tough primary fight. I get that. But while Republicans are coming together and preparing for the general election, we shouldn't see leading Democratic candidates suggesting John McCain is preferable to the Democratic frontrunner. It's divisive and unhelpful.

On MSNBC last night, Keith Olbermann read a report that got the quote slightly wrong, but got the gist of the story. From a Nexis transcript:

Steve Benen is a freelance writer/researcher and creator of The Carpetbagger Report. In addition, he is the lead editor of's Blog Report, and has been a contributor to Talking Points Memo, Washington Monthly, Crooks & Liars, The American Prospect, and the Guardian.

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