Obama Advisor: ‘They’re Both Not Ready’

Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s chief foreign policy adviser, agrees her candidate isn’t ready to answer that 3 a.m. phone call — but says Hillary Clinton isn’t, either:

“Clinton hasn’t had to answer the phone at three o’clock in the morning and yet she attacked Barack Obama for not being ready,” Ms. Rice said. “They’re both not ready to have that 3 a.m. phone call.”

I’m glad she cleared that up.*

via Kate Phillips

*For the record, I think the whole “3 a.m.” meme is silly. While I think McCain’s foreign policy experience and military training has better prepared him for crisis situations than either Clinton or Obama, crisis decision making is done by committee. It’s the longer-term foreign policy visions of the candidates that the voters should be worried about.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    First an Obama supporter can’t articulate any accomplishment of Obama that led him to support Obama other than “gosh hes inspiring’ and now a rice adviser says that he is not ready to handle the sudden crisis.

    Of course given how Obama is fumbling handling the dangerous Canadians, I suspect she may be right.

  2. Tlaloc says:

    McCain’s foreign policy experience has lead him to be right once in the last 8 years- when he condemned the use of torture.

    Every other position he’s taken has been a continuation of Bush’s massively failed policies.

  3. John says:

    What a doofus.
    Train of change has infinitely stalled.

  4. Bob says:

    So Obama’s foreign policy advisors are two women (Rice & Powers) who haven’t actually haven’t worked in or accomplished anything in foreign policy. He sure is putting a lot of trust in “Hope as a Method”…

  5. graywolf says:

    Make a good commercial for McCain, EXCEPT the Republicans are too weak/stupid to use it.

  6. Beldar says:

    Ms. Rice immediately went on to say that neither Clinton, Obama, nor McCain has had that “3 o’clock phone call” — more or less restricting that phrase to mean a call that could only be received by a sitting president:

    Mr. Carlson: So Hillary Clinton runs this ad, the famous red phone ad, that says when the phone rings at 3 o’clock in the morning, you know, who do you trust to make those snap decisions that could hold all of our lives in the balance? And the Obama campaign, I thought very wisely, came back and said, name one that you — you know name a situation where you’ve judged a foreign policy crisis, and she couldn’t.

    I’m going to ask the same question to you. Where has — Barack Obama been in a position where he has to make those kinds of decisions?

    Ms. Rice: He hasn’t and he hasn’t claimed that he’s been in a position to have to answer the phone at 3 o’clock in the morning in a crisis situation. That’s the difference between the two of them. Hillary Clinton hasn’t had to answer the phone at 3 o’clock in the morning. And yet she attacked Barack Obama for not being ready. They’re both not ready to have that 3:00 a.m. phone call.

    The question is and what Barack Obama raised is, when that phone call is received for each of them for the first time, who’s going to make the right judgment? Who is going to make the right decision?

    On the critical foreign policy issues of the day, whether it was a decision to go to war in Iraq or the decision to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt and beat the drums of war with Iran, Hillary Clinton has made the same wrong judgment as John McCain and George W. Bush. Barack Obama has made a very different judgment.

    So neither one of them, and nor John McCain for that matter, have had that 3 o’clock phone call that others have had. And I think we have to be honest about that.

    Obama’s relevant experience, however, can be written on half a matchbook cover. Most of that will read: “Chaired an important Senate oversight subcommittee on Afghanistan that he never bothered to convene for a single meeting.”

  7. floyd says:

    “”Obama Advisor: ‘They’re Both Not Ready’””

    Did she mean that “neither is ready” or is she saying that “together they wouldn’t add up to one president”