THE THINK TANK OF MY ENEMY IS MY FRIEND.

Yesterday, the Hillary Clinton campaign charged Barack Obama with "shameless ... potential plagiarism" for offering economic proposals that the Clinton camp claims resemble Sen. Clinton's. While one has to admire the studied imprecision of the phrase "potential plagiarism", unlike the much-discussed provenance of the new Obama campaign slogan "We are the ones we have been waiting for," the source of the charges against Obama's economic proposals is clear: Kevin A. Hassett, Senior Fellow and Director of Economic Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute. Yes, that American Enterprise Institute. How odd that a few weeks after attacking Obama for saying nice things about Ronald Reagan, Clinton is now attacking him with talking points gleaned from the very pro-business, pro-war, anti-tax, anti-government think thank of which Ronald Reagan said "stands at the center of a revolution in ideas of which I, too, have been a part."

Update: Commenter Benjamin notes that the Hassett quote was "an addition to the text of the [Clinton] memo from the myDD poster," and that the Clinton memo itself doesn't actually quote Hassett. Fair enough, though Garance Franke-Ruta also writes that the Clinton campaign has been circulating the comments. The quote is also featured on the Clinton campaign's blog.

Jonathan Chait suggests that the reason that Hassett, one of John McCain's advisers, is attacking Obama's economic plan is that McCain would rather face Clinton in the general. Chait writes: "McCain is trying to pick his opponent here, the way Richard Nixon tried to sink Ed Muskie's primary campaign in 1972, but without the illegality." Sounds right.

--Matthew Duss

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