Some months ago, I said that I thought Senator Barack Obama ought to take a pass on the 2008 presidential race. Though undeniably brilliant and someone it's easy to see in the White House, I said that his sparse Washington experience might be insufficient.
But I was shocked to hear this Linda Wertheimer report on NPR today. African-American women torn between supporting Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton were interviewed and several said that Clinton was the more experienced of the two.
I suppose it's how one measures experience. But when considering elective political experience, of the three Democratic frontrunners--Obama, Clinton, and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, Obama has the most experience. By my reckoning, counting his time in the Illinois state legislature, Obama has spent twelve years in elective office. Clinton has just over six years and Edwards has six, from his single term in the Senate.
Whichever of these three is nominated for the presidency, if any of them become the eventual nominee, will have to bring someone onto their ticket to shore up questions about experience deficiencies. (The way George W. Bush attempted to do in 2000, when he brought Dick Cheney onto his ticket.) But the one with the least experience deficiencies is Obama.
[Note: I wrote a bit about this experience issue, raised repeatedly by Senator Clinton, here.]
[THANKS TO: Deborah White at About.com's U.S. Liberals site for linking to this piece in a very interesting post weighing the debate among Democrats regarding Clinton v. Obama.]