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Clinton vs. Obama

The New York Times writes up yesterday's back-and-forth. Clinton "sharply criticized" Obama "for the first time yesterday as inexperienced on national security, calling him 'irresponsible and frankly naïve' for saying he would be willing to meet without preconditions with leaders of Iran, North Korea and three other nations during his first year as president. Mr. Obama responded swiftly, saying the Clinton campaign was concocting a 'fabricated controversy.' He also contended that Mrs. Clinton's skeptical view of such meetings was similar to that of President Bush."

The Boston Globe writes that in this "tussle over foreign diplomacy … Clinton claimed the mantle of wisdom and experience, while Obama argued that America needs to chart a new course."

The New York Daily News gets right to it and hails, "It's finally on!" The paper adds that Clinton will use the spat "to shore up her standing among key voter blocs, such as Cuban-Americans in bellwether Florida and Jewish voters who may find the idea of a sitdown with the Holocaust-denying president of Iran disturbing."

The Des Moines Register's Beaumont writes, "Experts say the disagreement will have little impact on whom Democrats choose as their nominee but could cause Obama problems if he is the party's standard-bearer next year."

The Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet called the spat with Clinton a "political minefield" for Obama and said, "The exchange in the debate marked the sharpest divide between Clinton and Obama, the Democratic front-runners. It was most perilous for Obama because it raised questions about his inexperience, an area where polls show voters have the most reservations about Obama, while giving Clinton an opportunity to appear more seasoned."

The Miami Herald -- again -- did Obama no favors when it comes to Florida politics. Here's today's header: "Clinton, Obama spar over `meeting Castro'"