Politics

Bogus “Missing in Action” Argument

In the last debate, Senator Clinton attacked Senator Obama by noting he’d not chaired any meetings of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on European Affairs. He took on chairmanship of that in 2007.

Senator Obama, in the debate, flatly admitted he indeed had not chaired any such meetings as he became chair of the subcommittee just as he started campaigning for President.

Clinton has continued to escalate the attack, today saying he was "missing in action" by not holding any such hearings. This is getting silly. As Andy Fisher, who works for the ranking minority member (Republican Senator Richard Lugar) noted yesterday:

The chair sets the agenda for a subcommittee and Obama could have asked to hold a hearing on NATO and its role in Afghanistan.

But Clinton’s claim, while technically true, is unfair, said Andrew J.
Fischer, a spokesman for Republican Sen. Richard Lugar. Lugar now
serves as a minority member of the Foreign Relations Committee, but he
was the chair, from 2003 to 2006, when Republicans controlled the
Senate. He is the ranking Republican on the committee.

Fischer, who is a minority staff member of the Foreign Relations
Committee, said something as major as NATO’s role in Afghanistan would
typically be held before the full Foreign Relations Committee, rather
than Obama’s European subcommittee.

In fact, the Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on Afghanistan
on Jan. 31, 2008, and NATO was a part of the discussion. Obama attended
a Democratic debate in California that day. Clinton is not on the
committee.

Standard