Opinion: Michelle Obama cries foul against Bill Clinton

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She doesn’t quite have Bill Clinton’s political pedigree. But Michelle Obama has truly become an active combatant in the nasty fray that has pitted her husband against the ex-president: Her name is on an e-mailed letter that seeks to use the quarrel as a way to raise money for Barack Obama’s battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

‘What we didn’t expect’ is the subject line for the appeal. And here’s the text that follows:

‘In the past week or two, another candidate’s spouse has been getting an awful lot of attention. ‘We knew getting into this race that Barack would be competing ...


with Senator Clinton and President Clinton at the same time. ‘We expected that Bill Clinton would tout his record from the nineties and talk about Hillary’s role in his past success. That’s a fair approach and a challenge we are prepared to face. ‘What we didn’t expect, at least not from our fellow Democrats, are the win-at-all-costs tactics we’ve seen recently. We didn’t expect misleading accusations that willfully distort Barack’s record. ‘Barack Obama isn’t relying on a former president of the United States to campaign for him. ‘He’s relying on us -- you, me, and hundreds of thousands of people like us who are giving whatever they can afford to support this movement. ‘Please stand up in the face of these new attacks. Make your first online donation of $50 today and own a piece of this campaign ...’

Initially, Michelle’s husband and his crew seemed knocked off stride -- like many before them -- by the barrage the Clintonites directed at the candidates. Now, perhaps a bit belatedly, they’re attacking the attacks -- and hoping that turns into a plus for them.

Here’s the looming question: Will this tactic be as successful for Obama as it proved to be, over and over again, for the Clintons in previous battles?

-- Don Frederick