The RNC's new game plan to is straightforward enough: Republicans are ready to exploit intra-party criticisms among the Dems. Hours before the polls
June 4, 2008

The RNC's new game plan to is straightforward enough: Republicans are ready to exploit intra-party criticisms among the Dems.

Hours before the polls closed Tuesday in the final two Democratic presidential primaries, the Republican National Committee began circulating a video of Hillary Clinton questioning Barack Obama’s qualifications to be commander-in-chief, and acknowledging John McCain has this important presidential credential.

“Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign, I will bring a lifetime of experience and Senator Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002,” Clinton says in the one-minute video of CNN’s coverage of a news conference she held on March 8 – the day Obama won the Wyoming caucuses. “I think that is a significant difference. I think that since we now know Senator McCain will be the nominee for the Republican Party, national security will be front and center in this election. We all know that.

“And I think it is imperative that each of us be able to demonstrate we can cross the commander-in-chief threshold. And I believe I have done that. Certainly, Senator McCain has done that. And you will have to ask Senator Obama with respect to his candidacy.”

An RNC official told CNN that Republicans would use Clinton’s criticisms of Obama “repeatedly” throughout the general election campaign.

Now, with Clinton’s help, pushing back against the RNC’s efforts isn’t too difficult. For one thing, I think most Americans realize that intra-party, like-minded rivals sometimes get a little aggressive in the midst of a heated primary. When one Dem attacks another Dem, it’s be taken with a grain of salt.

For another, once Hillary Clinton steps up to start defending Obama and going after John McCain, the RNC’s project will certainly lose its salience. By Saturday, the RNC's latest push shouldn't matter, but it's nevertheless something to keep an eye on.

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