Barack Obama agrees with me

He says the tough Democratic primary will get him in shape to fight Republicans.

Published January 24, 2008 8:18PM (EST)

Yesterday I said I thought the rough and tumble of the Democratic primary was good for Sen. Barack Obama, because if he's the nominee, "it will get him in fighting shape for the fall battle against the GOP." I added: "If Obama supporters really think the Clintons are being too tough on their guy, wait until he has a Republican opponent (who isn't Alan Keyes)."

Readers have been debating my point ever since.

But today Obama himself agreed with me. "I don't feel like the candidates are getting bloodied up. This is good practice for me, so when I take on those Republicans I'll be accustomed to it," he told reporters in South Carolina. Obama also said that "black voters shouldn't blame Senator Clinton for running a vigorous campaign against me. That should be a source of pride. It means I might win this thing." He went on to defend a radio ad that says "Hillary Clinton will say anything to get elected," noting it's a reply to her ad trying to tag him with liking Republican ideas. (For the record, I think both ads are fair.)

Honestly, I've been thinking this for a while: I like Obama better than I like his campaign. He seems to be listening to some of his Democratic critics, rather than just attacking them as partisan Clintonistas. Here's to more honest debate, and less name-calling.

By Joan Walsh

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2008 Elections