Just as the old Clintonites in Arkansas are starting to warm to Sen. Barack Obama, the weekend flare-up over what Clinton ally Wes Clark said about Sen. John McCain's military service is causing a lot of bitterness among state Democrats. Many tell our Suzi Parker that they are angered with Obama's criticism of Clark, the Arky and former NATO boss who rapped McCain by saying on CBS's Face the Nation, "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president." Here's what Suzi Parker E-mailed us today: "Obama can kiss Arkansas goodbye. A lot of Dems are mad that Obama threw Clark under the bus and denounced his comments about McCain. If anything, they think the Obama camp should have just let the comments lie. A lot of the Dems I am talking to are Clintonites but also supported Clark in 2004 [when he ran for president]. Also hearing from Clark supporters who were in the draft movement that the Obama folks must have forgotten Clark has a massive database of supporters that has only gotten bigger since 2004 because Clark has been out campaigning for Dems since then."
Of course, outside of Arkansas, few think Clark's rap on McCain did Obama any favors, especially since it's become a major distraction on the campaign trail and a big issue in journalism circles over how it was covered . Not only did Obama issue a statement criticizing Clark, but he gave a speech on his patriotism yesterday in which he promised never to question McCain's love of the nation.
Also, Clark's comments and the campaign's reaction could have ended Clark's bid to be Obama's vice president.