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Is Mark Penn Serious? Clinton, McCain and the "National Security Card"

POSTED:

Clinton Strategist Mark Penn is quite the comedian, when he wants to be.

Take today's memo on Clinton's electability:

"The Republicans will not be able to play the national security card against Hillary Clinton."

[One minute break for laughter.] Whew! That's rich.

Um, has Penn even been listening to John McCain? You know, the guy whose biggest applause line these days is:

Senator Clinton decided that she wants to surrender, she wants to raise a white flag, she wants to set a date of immediate withdrawal from Iraq after we've been winning. My friends, I will not let that happen as president of the United States of America. I will not let that happen.

There's may be an argument to be made that Obama, lacking Senate Armed Services service, is marginally more vulnerable on this front than Clinton. But for Penn to declare flatly that, with Hillary, "the Republicans' national security argument [is] blunted and the election debate will shift to healthcare and the economy -- areas of decisive strength for Hillary" is the best joke I've heard in weeks.

Listen: John McCain is a war hero who spent five-plus years in a POW camp. Hillary's military claim to fame is that her 1975 attempt to become one of the few, the proud was thwarted by Marine Corps recruiter or something.

There's no way either Democrat battles John McCain to a draw on national security experience.

There could be a contrast drawn on national security judgment. But Clinton, who was for the war before she was against it and who famously derided the successes of "the surge" by telling Petraeus that his Senate testimony required "a willing suspension of disbelief, would have a hard time winning that argument -- even against the dude who wants to stay in Iraq for the next 10,000 years.

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