The Atlantic Monthly magazine, according to Politico.com, will report this week that Clinton's former top campaign strategist, Mark Penn, wanted to run a more aggressive campaign against Obama than what unfolded during the primaries. Penn wanted to strike at the very heart of imagined voter uncertainties as to how "American" Obama is.CNN's "talking heads" were discussing whether the McCain camp could use these same strategies against Obama. It might be a bit tricky - McCain was born in Panama, but his "American creds" have never been questioned because his family was living on a military base. Obama's mother was American, he was born in the US state of Hawaii, and he was mostly educated in US schools, including an elite prep school and Harvard, except for that brief sojourn in Indonesia (Source: Obama's Dreams from My Father - which I highly recommend).
In two excerpts printed yesterday by The New York Times, Penn wrote memos saying:
"All those articles about his boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared towards showing his background is diverse, multicultural, and putting that in a new light. Save it for 2050."
"I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values."
In another excerpt posted by Politico, Penn advised, "Let's explicitly own 'American' in our programs, the speeches, and the values. He doesn't."
As it was, the Clinton campaign periodically embarrassed itself as volunteers and high-level surrogates created firestorms by passing along right-wing rumors that Obama is Muslim, said his youthful cocaine use made him unelectable, or diminished him as an affirmative action baby. It is small wonder that with friends such as these in his own party, Obama, a Christian, continues to battle the notion that he is Muslim. Newsweek polls in April and May and Pew Research Center polls in March and July are all frozen at between 10 and 13 percent of Americans who think Obama is Muslim.
If Obama can't be considered American, just think how many other US citizens will find their nationality called into question. If the standard is being born in one of the continguous continental states, that rules out Hawaiians, as well as Alaskans (I won't even go into the status of Puerto Ricans). Not a very intelligent strategy, should McCain decide to go there - as the CNN pundits said themselves, it could seriously backfire.