Does Obama Really Want 'Change'?

The senator's nastiness is, if anything, just more of the same.

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As someone who has covered Washington politics for a long time, I am more than just a mite skeptical when a candidate for any office promises change, bipartisanship, and unity. Change can happen only if both sides really want it and are willing to compromise on important issues to get it. Congressional and even would-be-presidential Republicans have shown no propensity to compromise on any of their basic issues (guns, God, gays, and taxes). How can Barack Obama promise change unless he plans to give in to the GOP on all issues Democrats hold dear?

But what makes me even more skeptical he's no more capable of change than the next guy is the nasty give-and-take he's gotten into recently with Hillary Clinton. It got even nastier over the weekend, as Clinton went on NBC's Meet the Press and again accused Obama's campaign of peddling a misinterpretation of her comments about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. last week.

Obama's response to Clinton's comments was hardly above the fray or indicative of the type of behavior one might expect from a highly diplomatic chief executive:

Asked about Clinton's Meet the Press comments on a telephone conference call with reporters this morning, Obama had a blistering response, calling Clinton's suggestion that his campaign was involved in pushing the story line "ludicrous."

In fairness, Clinton's tone has been about as brash, and she has used her husband as the heavy in making most of the nasty charges about Obama. But Clinton's emphasis has been on her experience in national affairs, while Obama has positioned himself as an agent of change. There's hardly anything different about the type of slugfest he has recently engaged in to win votes.

So how can he claim credibly that he'd be a "different" type of president? He has shown persuasively he cannot.