Obama’s Secret Weapon: Bill Clinton

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Clinton will be holding an event in New Hampshire on Wednesday, the day of Obama and Romney’s presidential debate, and is expected to hold more events boosting Obama’s campaign in the its final weeks.  This is the latest display of Clinton’s support for Obama, following his rousing speech at the DNC and a two-day campaign swing in Florida.

This is a dramatic change from the rivalry between Bill Clinton and Obama in 2008, when the two nastily butt heads while Hilary Clinton and Obama were competing for the Democratic nomination. But four years later, with Hilary serving as Obama’s Secretary of State, it seems they are ready to put aside their differences.

So what makes Clinton’s support so valuable? Well, because it’s Bill Clinton! He’s charismatic almost to a fault, and connects to voters in a way Obama (and pretty much anyone that isn’t Bill Clinton) can’t. In fact, about two-thirds of voters have a favorable opinion of Clinton, according to a recent poll by Fox News. But on a more substantial level, in a presidential race depending so heavily on the economy, an endorsement from such an economically successful president goes a long way.

While typically the economy has been the centrifuge of Romney’s campaign and a point Obama’s campaign much more reluctantly addresses, at the DNC Clinton started talking about it right off the bat in his speech.

“He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators … President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the President’s contract you will feel it.

I believe that with all my heart.”

Meanwhile, as Obama is basking in the Clinton glow, Romney continues to do everything he can to distance himself from Bush, avoiding the least popular living president like the common cold. Howard Fineman has even called Bush the Voldemort of American Politics. “To Democrats, George W. Bush is the Voldemort of American politics, an evil force. But even to Republicans, he is He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, someone you dare not talk about as you try to win the votes of conservative Iowans.”

 Bush seems to have taken the hint, staying all but silent about Romney’s campaign. One of his only comments came from an interview on the Hoover Institution’s, Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson. “I’m interested in politics. I’m a supporter of Mitt Romney. I hope he does well. But you know, he can do well without me,” he said. Well said, Mr. President.

Romney summed things up quite nicely in the beginning of his speech at the Clinton Global Initiative: “If there’s one thing we’ve learned this election season, it’s that a few words from Bill Clinton can do any man a lot of good … One of the best things that can happen to any cause, to any people, is to have Bill Clinton as its advocate.”

-Rachel Stober

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About rowlanda12

This is a blog about the 2012 presidential election. Content is generated by students in Professor Heldman's Politics 101 class. She does not necessarily endorse the views expressed here.
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