Political jujitsu at its best.
You take the opponent's best issue and flip it. . When you see the force coming at you, you redirect your opponent's momentum. His best issues are heartbreakingly turned against him. It takes the wind out of a campaign.
Obama's ambivalence about playing the political game has given the Clinton's the chance to successfully upend his message.
They have used the strength of his persona and his core themes --- that he is above politics; that he is educated, articulate, thoughtful; that he is a transformational figure --- against him.
When Obama says "I don't play those games"...
When Obama talks about being above politics...
The Clintonistas hiss: he thinks he is above you, he thinks he is better than you.
The Clinton image mongers are trying to paint Obama as an unelectable Adlai Stevenson or George McGovern.
Clearly the Clinton campaign has been patiently waiting for such a character revealing gaffe from a starry-eyed political novice...... but this shrewd manuevering may have come too late to do her much good. In the next few days, the polls will surely show a big uptick for the comeback kid.
But she needs something more..
In 2004 The Republicans crippled John Kerry by discrediting his strengths ---his patriotism, Catholicism, character and well-documented war hero record --- with innuendos and falsehoods --- a classic Rovian Republican tactic.
If Hillary doesn't get him first, McCain may finish the job.