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Halloween might be political fright night this year.

When asked in the AP-Ipsos poll which candidate would be best suited as a scary Halloween costume, 37 percent of those surveyed chose Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner. Who would be most scared of this costume? Barack Obama, of course.

Obama is staring down the barrels of the Hillary Clinton double-barrel shotgun political machine. She is mowing 'em down, and Obama has finally decided to fight back.

Over the weekend he gave an interview or two attacking Hillary and seeming to dump his above- it-all politics of hope. For instance, he savaged Mrs. Clinton with the observation that she has not been candid in describing her views on critical policy issues.

When you look at the polls and see he is behind more than 20 points nationally — and three or four points in the all-important Iowa caucuses — you'd think Obama could be tougher than that.

She has not been candid? That's attacking Hillary? Obama better wake up. That isn't even throwing an elbow.

Yes, she's been vague and less than candid. That's because she's already running against a Republican in the general election. Obama doesn't realize she thinks she has already beat him and doesn't have to explain anything for him.

So maybe that explains why there is a sudden profusion of newspaper stories that Obama is going to go on the offensive and attack. Maybe he figures he's got to do something before it's too late.

Problem is, he's already staked his reputation on a style of politics that is above it all. And while floating on high hasn't been a winning position, it's what he's known for.

Will anybody believe Obama is suddenly tough? Will it matter? If he's playing catch-up has he jumped into the mud too late?

I think if Obama is going to close the gap with Hillary, he needs a new attack. And right now it's hard to imagine what hasn't been thrown at her already.

That's My Word.

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