Are You Experienced? Obama Attempts to Parry Clinton Meme in Iowa

03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Barack Obama heads to Mason City, Iowa today, as part of a campaign offensive he's calling the "Experience and Judgement Tour," which, according to the Washington Post's Dan Balz, is "designed to make the perfectly sound argument that time spent in Washington or on the national stage does not equate to good judgment."

Behind in the polls, this is the press meme Obama is battling, especially after former President and presumptive First Lady nominee Bill Clinton helped to advance the "Obama Lacks Experience" ball a few weeks ago, telling Al Hunt, "I was, in terms of experience, was closer to Senator Obama, I suppose, in 1988 when I came within a day of announcing," adding that he opted against a presidential run because, "I really didn't think I knew enough, and had served enough and done enough to run."

Of course, there's nothing wrong with thoroughly examining Obama's experience*. Naturally, one might be inclined to note the lack of similar concern when the then fresh-faced Obama was tapped to deliver the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention--he hadn't even won his U.S. Senate seat at that point.

We find Bill Clinton's side of things more interesting, however. Waiting the extra four years to run obviously paid off handsomely for him, and he comes to the table now with eight years under his belt as President and an enviable additional surplus of knowledge and public service. So what might the future hold for him in a possible Hillary White House?

Asked [on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos"] if he'd want an office in the West Wing, Clinton replied, "If Hillary wins, I want to do whatever she wants me to do...If they want to give it to me in the basement of the White House, I'd be happy."

Ooooh! The White House basement! Sounds like just the place to stow all that experience!

*Looking for some historical perspective on "experience" and the Presidency? Some time ago, Matt Bai, writing for The New York Times Magazine wrote that "Obama would set a new precedent for inexperience in the White House." Atlantic's Matt Yglesias, however, found that assessment to be a bit off the mark.

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