On the campaign trail, Obama gently reminds voters that Clinton and Edwards are not so experienced: She is a second-term senator who has never run a government or business. Edwards served one term in the Senate.
"I've been in public office longer than Hillary Clinton has," he said Monday, counting his seven years in the state Senate and not counting Clinton's three decades in public life with her husband. "I've been in public office longer than John Edwards has."
However, the AP's Ron Fournier, who is apparently no longer content to write news reports since returning from his failed Hotsoup.com venture, still frames Obama as inexperienced in the story. After opening with the lede that "Barack Obama knows it's a stretch to think of him as president," Fournier even goes so far as to offer advice to the candidate:
Obama could close the stature gap by producing more detailed plans for lowering health care costs, taming the federal debt, resolving the Iraq war and addressing other issues. Edwards, so far, has the edge on the so-called policy primary.
It would help had Obama spent more time overseas. Clinton has made several trips to Iraq and other foreign spots.
...He has a relatively thin resume, but it's not without accomplishments - working across party lines to change ethics, death penalty and racial profiling laws in Illinois. Ethics and nuclear proliferation are his signature issues in the Senate.
Many political journalists seem to think they should be political consultants. But no one asked for Fournier's opinion on how to overcome the so-called "stature gap" and it doesn't seem appropriate for him to offer it in an AP report.
Also, lest Fournier forget, it's not his job to define the important issues that candidates should address. It's not even clear how well he understands them. For instance, the major fiscal problem this country faces is looming federal deficits in the future due to President Bush's tax cuts and increasing Medicare costs, not "taming the federal debt," which is reasonable by historical standards as a percentage of GDP.