Obama’s answer on experience: But I’m such a great campaigner! Update: McCain response — “Desperate, laughable”

posted at 7:25 am on September 2, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Anderson Cooper asked Barack Obama last night to answer the claim that Sarah Palin has more applicable experience than he does. In response, he completely ignores Palin’s status as governor, and then makes the claim that a campaign counts as executive experience:

AC: Some Republican critics say, you don’t have the experience to handle a situation like this [Hurricane Gustav]. They’ve in fact said that Governor Palin has more executive experience as mayor of a small town and as governor of a big state like Alaska. What’s your response?

BO: Well, you know, my understanding is that, uh, Governor Palin’s town of Wasilly [sic] has, uh, 50 employees, uh, uh, we’ve got 2500, uh, in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe $12 million a year. Uh, uh, we have a budget of about three times that just for the month. Uh, so I think that, uh, our ability to manage large systems, uh, and to, uh, execute, uh, I think has been made clear over the last couple of years. Uh, and certainly, in terms of, uh, the legislation that I’ve passed just dealing with this issue post-Katrina, uh, of how we handle emergency management. The fact that, uh, many of my recommendations were adopted and are being put in place, uh, as we speak indicates to extent to which we can provide the kinds of support and good service that the American people expect.

Let’s take the last point first. Did Barack Obama pass legislation bearing his recommendations for emergency management? A list of “actions” taken by Obama in the wake of Katrina compiled by a supporter doesn’t exactly lend itself to that conclusion. Once one strips out all of the speeches, the actual legislative actions appear to mostly consist of adding his name as co-sponsor to the bills of others, and it’s unclear whether any of the bills Obama did introduce ever passed.

Even if they did, it gives him no experience at managing disasters.  Governors and mayors have to manage disasters, and when they succeed, they save lives.  When they fail, as we saw in Katrina, it costs lives.  Legislators have no role in disaster management itself, although honestly, disaster management isn’t usually a resumé point when voting for mayor, governor, or President.  Whatever impulse exists now to make it one stems from the irrational blame heaped on George Bush for the failures of Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco in Katrina, although FEMA certainly had its failures as well.

But the main point here is that Obama didn’t really answer the question, and he set up a straw man argument in response to Cooper.  Governor Palin is, well, governor, and not currently the mayor of Wasila.  As Governor, Palin operates a $9 billion budget, and manages $13 billion in revenue.  Furthermore, she runs a government that employs 25,000 people.

Obama blithely pretends that she’s still the mayor of “Wasilly” in order to boost himself.  However, running for office isn’t executive experience, for one good reason: Obama isn’t the campaign manager.  He has a CEO actually running the campaign, handling the budget, and managing the people while Obama makes the speeches.

If this is Obama’s best response on the experience question, the attacks on Palin’s experience will have to stop, unless the campaign wants Obama to keep embarrassing himself while making it.

Update: The McCain campaign has responded to Mark Halperin at Time:

“For Barack Obama to argue that he’s experienced enough to be president because he’s running for president is desperate circular logic and it’s laughable.  It is a testament to Barack Obama’s inexperience and failing qualifications that he would stoop to passing off his candidacy as comparable to Governor Sarah Palin’s executive experience managing a budget of over 10 billion dollar dollars, and more than 24,000 employees.” —Tucker Bounds, spokesman John McCain 2008

By that standard, anyone who ever ran for any public office has executive experience — and that also kills their own experience argument against Palin anyway.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3

Imagine if McCain answered a question about Obama’s experience by saying, “My understanding is that as state senator, Obama only had a staff of about a half dozen.”

Cato on September 2, 2008 at 8:06 PM

So if Obama doesn’t recognize the fact that Governor Palin is not a Governor, does that mean that we don’t have to recognize the fact that he’s a senator???

Oblahblah is sooooooo toast. BRING ON THE DEBATES!!!

bryan2369 on September 2, 2008 at 8:43 PM

I’d like to see Obama debate Palin. It wouldn’t happen but it would be great to watch her destroy him.

Mojave Mark on September 2, 2008 at 9:29 PM

A chink in the armor. They’re going to keep hammering the fact that she was a small town mayor, and every small town mayor between Alaska and Florida is going to have steam rising between their ears listening to Obama belittle their work.

This is a brilliant analogy. Yes bryan2369, you got it right! Therefore the nominee of the Democrat ticket is a Chicago community organizer!!

itsspideyman on September 2, 2008 at 9:36 PM

Therefore the nominee of the Democrat ticket is a Chicago community organizer!!

itsspideyman on September 2, 2008 at 9:36 PM

…a failed “community organizer”!!

landlines on September 2, 2008 at 9:46 PM

Obamalogic: running for president is qualification enough to be president.

Just as creating a mock-up presidential possum seal is the sign of a Fearless Leader.

profitsbeard on September 2, 2008 at 10:29 PM

Obamalogic: running for president is qualification enough to be president.

Just as creating a mock-up presidential possum seal is the sign of a Fearless Leader.

profitsbeard on September 2, 2008 at 10:29 PM

Obama believes that he’s already President! LMAO!

Chakra Hammer on September 2, 2008 at 11:37 PM

Obama just stays in a job long enough to build his resumé for the next job. He’s not at all concerned with the job he’s actually doing at the time, it’s just a stepping stone.

Well BHO, stepping stones work in both directions.

Mojave Mark on September 3, 2008 at 12:35 AM

Whats that obamatheliar? Your such a great B.S’er? Nothing new to see here folks, move along.

christene on September 3, 2008 at 12:50 AM

This needs to go in an ad immediately.

Who is more qualified to be President? A small town mayor or community organizer?

Let’s compare:
- Mayor of Wasilla, AK- elected official with responsibility for managing all aspects of a city, including roads, public services and utilities, municipal planning and development, job creation, city emergency response and municipal budgets and staff
- Community Organizer- an individual lobbyist who, in Obama’s case, made $17,000/ yr. to represent housing projects to the city government.

- Chairperson, Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission- Chief Executive of and an independent agency of the U.S. state of Alaska. This Commission is responsible for overseeing oil and gas drilling and production, reservoir depletion, and certain other operations on private and state-owned lands in Alaska.
- State Legislator- 1 of 59 part time elected officials. Represented a district of totaling approx. 20 sq. miles.

- Governor of Alaska- Chief Executive of the largest US State. Manages a budget of over 10 billion dollars, and more than 24,000 employees. CoC of National Guard
- State Senator- 1 of 2 State Senators from IL who represent the States interests to the US Federal Government.

Which do you thinks is more qualified to be Vice President?

Oh wait, Obama is running for President.

Damiano on September 3, 2008 at 4:32 AM

Alaska State Employees vs. Obama Campaign Employees

Campaign Challenge Hockey Game

Fuse Hockey MYSTERY with MIRACLE pro-Palin!
The only ‘champions’ of Obama are thugs waiting outside of the rink to terrorize voters.

maverick muse on September 3, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Obamalogic: running for president is qualification enough to be president.

Just as creating a mock-up presidential possum seal is the sign of a Fearless Leader.

profitsbeard on September 2, 2008 at 10:29 PM

Feckless Leader of Possible Truth

maverick muse on September 3, 2008 at 10:51 AM

What is no one reporting on this:

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NmI0NmM2NWZmMmUyNjQ2ODJhYWRjMTJiNWY4YmYyYmI=&w=MA==

I know it’s all floated around the blogs for some time, but David Freddoso did a nice job of concisely packaging it.

Too bad that the MSM is above reporting on actual scandal and corruption.

Damiano on September 3, 2008 at 12:43 PM

..and I’m not a doctor, but I played Operation when I was a kid. Hand me that scalpel.

vcferlita on September 3, 2008 at 2:02 PM

Uh…Uh This is supposedly a great speaker? He can’t even put together a cohesive sentence, let alone tell the truth about his record.

jencab on September 2, 2008 at 7:41 AM

He sounds more like Butthead than the ‘messiah’.

I hope Palin cleans his friggin’ clock tonight.

techno_barbarian on September 3, 2008 at 6:31 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3