Time for Clinton's and Sanders' Campaigns to Cool It on Who's Qualified to Be President


The Clinton and Sanders campaigns are harming themselves and each of their chances of defeating the Republican nominee by descending into the gutter of charges over whether or not the other is qualified to be President.

Whatever your respective views of Clinton and Sanders, their strengths and weaknesses, either is more qualified to be President than any of the Republican contenders and they should each say so.

Politics ain't beanbag. And New York politics can be particularly rough, but both campaigns are risking going over the edge.

Right now, the campaigns are squabbling over who started it. It seems to have begun on the very night of Bernies's double-digit win in Wisconsin with the Clinton campaign pooping on his victory party with leaks that their strategy going forward would be to disqualify Sanders in the eyes of voters and worry about unifying Democrats for the general election later. CNN reports that a fundraising appeal from Clinton's deputy communications director, Christina Reynolds, "argued that Sanders is unqualified."

Wednesday morning Clinton gave a wink and a nod to Joe Scarborough's question of whether Sanders is qualified. She didn't dispute the premise of Scarborough's question but said she'd leave it to the voters to decide. But as New Yorker Paul Simon sang on his Graceland album, "everybody knows what I'm talking about." It may be been artful, but there could be little doubt that Hillary was questioning Bernies's qualifications to be President.

Unfortunately, Bernie took the bait. Speaking later in Philadelphia, Bernie doubled down, accusing Hillary of being unqualified because of her donations from special interests, her vote for the Iraq War, and her past support for job-killing trade agreements.

These are key elements of Bernie's critique of Hillary as too beholden to Wall Street and the military-industrial complex and have been part of Bernie's standard stump speech. His point was amplified by a report on NBC this morning that Hillary's Super Pac contributions show that Citizens United is helping Hillary Clinton's White House bid.

But Sanders going tit-for-tat and saying this disqualifies Clinton from the Presidency is a bridge too far. And frankly, as a Sanders supporter, I must say that it harms his brand.

Indeed, whoever started it, these charges and counter-charges about who's qualified to be President are harming both candidates.

It smacks too much of Trump's insults of "Little Marco" and Rubio's response about Trump's "little hands."

Stop it and grow up! Both campaigns should call a truce and state that whatever their differences, either is more qualified for the Presidency than any of the Republican contenders.

The Brooklyn native and the adopted resident of Chappaqua can have a good old-fashioned New York brawl over whose values and policies would make for a better President.

But please, keep it out of the gutter.