Experience Gap

I've been waiting for the moment when one of the many former Clinton administration national security officials now working for Barack Obama would come out and call Hillary Clinton a liar for exaggerating her level of experience with these issues. Greg Craig who used to direct the State Department's Policy Planning staff comes close in a new memo:

When your entire campaign is based upon a claim of experience, it is important that you have evidence to support that claim. Hillary Clinton’s argument that she has passed “the Commander- in-Chief test” is simply not supported by her record.

There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton played an important domestic policy role when she was First Lady. It is well known, for example, that she led the failed effort to pass universal health insurance. There is no reason to believe, however, that she was a key player in foreign policy at any time during the Clinton Administration. She did not sit in on National Security Council meetings. She did not have a security clearance. She did not attend meetings in the Situation Room. She did not manage any part of the national security bureaucracy, nor did she have her own national security staff. She did not do any heavy-lifting with foreign governments, whether they were friendly or not. She never managed a foreign policy crisis, and there is no evidence to suggest that she participated in the decision-making that occurred in connection with any such crisis. As far as the record shows, Senator Clinton never answered the phone either to make a decision on any pressing national security issue – not at 3 AM or at any other time of day.

The memo goes on to debunk some specific assertions she's made about Northern Ireland, Macedonia, etc., but the general point is clear enough. It's not a slam on Clinton to observe that she, like Barack Obama and most presidential contenders, doesn't have much foreign policy experience. But she's been running around the country talking as if she was Madeleine Albright rather than a former First Lady.