I’ve tried to find Obama’s pushback on Hillary’s use of the Canadian NAFTA hoax, but I can’t find one.

Weird. In the past, the Obama campaign has done a great job making opponents pay for going negative, and this is a golden opportunity. So far: crickets.

A proper response might go something like this:

You may have heard that the conservatives in Canada planted a story that I was double-dealing on NAFTA, that I wasn’t serious when I said we need to revisit a trade deal that’s a bad deal for most Americans.

Well, let’s leave the Canadians aside for the moment. They’re doing their own investigation as to who made that up.

In the meantime, when Senator Clinton said I was “doing a little ‘nod, nod; wink wink,” on NAFTA, it turns out that she was the one getting hoodwinked. Must be all that “experience” she keeps talking about.

She even went so far as to plagiarize an ad from the McCain campaign, saying she’d be the one who would be ready to deal with foreign affairs when the phone rang at 3am, because she’s got all that “experience.”

Well, the phone rang, and it turns out that she wasn’t ready.

And if she can be taken in so easily by Canada, how is she going to deal with Iraq, or Iran, or Afghanistan, or North Korea? What can her experience be worth if she’s that gullible?

Now we can’t blame John McCain for making the same mistake. After all, Senator McCain has admitted on more than one occasion that he doesn’t know anything about economics. But isn’t it interesting that the two candidates who say that their “experience” is the reason why they’d make better presidents than me were the first to get suckered by this story?

And isn’t it interesting that Senator Clinton, who works in the same Senate as me, claims that she doesn’t know anything about my work in the Senate? Senator? Were you paying attention? Or is this one of those “experience” things you keep talking about?

I don’t think that’s working out for you too well, Senator. I think your “experience” is showing.

Now, why handle things this way?

First, it punishes someone for attacking. This “extinguishes the response,” making it harder for them to attack again because it’s been a loser for them.

Second, it takes what had been a weakness, the NAFTA hoax which extended Clinton’s lead to 10 points in Ohio, and uses it to attack Clinton’s strength: her supposed experience.

Third, it makes an issue of the story without whining about negative campaigning. People expect campaigns to be tough, and complaining about that will embolden your enemies and discourage your supporters. But the press can sell the spectacle of politicians being stupid. They love to do that. So making this issue about stupid rather than mean is a winner.

I mean, people know that Hillary is as nasty as the inside of a community center microwave, that’s not news. But they’d love to see her smug “experience” talk taken down, so that’s a winner.

And, finally, throwing Hillary’s words and the plagiarism issue back in her face is just gravy.

Here endeth the lesson. If the Obama people want to talk, they know where they can find me.

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