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Frank Rich Overdoes It

I've heard all the arguments about why the Bosnia sniper-fire story is a huge problem for Hillary--it casts doubt on the idea that she has all this experience; it revives all the suspicions about the Clintons' honesty; etc.--culminating with this scathing Frank Rich column today. And they certainly could be right. I got an earful about the controversy from several people on the various call-in shows I did last week.

Still, I just don't buy it on some gut level. It strikes me as an embarrassing gotcha moment for Hillary. And an amusing bit of YouTube footage for the rest of us. But the idea that it overturns the central argument of her campaign, or dredges up some damning liabilities, is really hard for me to believe. It's not like Hillary was running on a record of combat experience that turns out to be made up. And it's not like she had a history of telling heroic yarns about herself that repeatedly turned out to be bogus. 

I doubt most people think Hillary's experiences as First Lady--even the embellished versions--somehow qualify her to be president. I think she does well with voters who value experience because a lot of voters think Obama's too young and green, and because they think Bill will be in the picture if Hillary wins the White House. But, as I say, I could be completely wrong about this.

--Noam Scheiber