The Michelle Obama "Experience"

One last observation from Iowa this week. At a late afternoon rally in Des Moines on Wednesday, Michelle Obama bit into critics who toss around words like "inexperienced" when they describe her husband. She's said most of this before, but it was striking, all the same.

"This experience question is funny to me when we live in a country where [people say that] someone with the background of Barack Obama doesn't have experience.... the only thing he doesn't have is years in Washington."

She continues: "He's one of the only candidates who has experience organizing on the ground."

And then she admonishes the crowd: "Don't let anybody talk about inexperience, especially on this side!"

The questions aren't out of bounds, and they won't be. HIllary Clinton's campaign argument is predicated on her promixity to executive experience and unmistakably draws a contrast with Obama's lack of executive experience.

When Barack and Michelle Obama say "experience," they mean experience with hardship, experience with diverse ranges of people, experiece derived from broad educational background, experience with community organizing and poverty law, experience with state politics, and experience with legislating. They draw Obama's life experiences into this picture, too.

Hillary Clinton primarily means "executive" experience -- how to set up a White House, how to negotiate with Congress, how to interact with world leaders, how to synthesize information, how to manage people.