THAT SEN. Barack Obama sure is one ambitious guy, I tell you.

And his plan for winning the White House goes as far back as - gasp - kindergarten.

Imagine that.

Pardon my sarcasm. But, frankly, I'm annoyed at this salvo tossed by members of Sen. Hillary Clinton's camp at Obama.

Tensions are understandably high, with the polls saying that the race in Iowa is too close to call. Even former Sen. John Edwards, who many prematurely wrote off, is posing a formidable challenge.

But is it really at the point that it's necessary to reach all the way back to a candidate's elementary school record? If so, then it really must be the "silly season," as Obama remarked when asked how members of Clinton's team had sent out a memo, referencing an essay he'd written as a 5-year-old about wanting to be president. "I understand she's been quoting my kindergarten teacher in Indonesia," Obama said.

Clinton's employees, of course, were merely trying to illustrate the larger point of Obama's having long nurtured a desire to be in the Oval Office. But to make a point based on something written by a kid is downright laughable. And it trivializes Clinton.

Besides, what's so awful about Obama's harboring big dreams from a young age anyway?

Frankly, that he penned such an essay makes me think even more highly of the senator from Illinois. You can almost picture him, grasping his little crayon as he painstakingly scrawled the words across a piece of colored construction paper. Back then, how many youngsters were writing essays?

When I was in kindergarten, if you'd asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I'd have told you that I wanted to be a singer. Sadly, my lack of singing talent is legendary in my inner circle. But when I was a kid, well, I didn't let a tiny detail like not having a shred of singing talent deter me from my dreams.

Like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who admitted to a Washington Post reporter earlier this week of having once wanted to be Diana Ross, when I was a kid I dreamed of being her, too.

By the way, Edwards has come out saying he wanted to be a cowboy back when he was in the third grade.

And also Superman. Hey, while we're on this subject, somebody needs to ask Clinton what she dreamed of being back when she was a youngster. Same thing with the other candidates. Fair is fair.

Speaking of playing fair, maybe Clinton and the other candidates should remember some of the lessons they learned in kindergarten, particularly as the all-important Iowa vote approaches.

You know, the ones memorialized in the bestseller by Robert Fulghum, "All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten," which reminds adults of their sandbox lessons, such as the importance of playing nice. Even when they're trying really hard to win. *

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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