Blogs by Cynth'ya Lewis email@example.com
What's Up With Bill?
4/26/2008 11:43:14 PM
Hey, I just find the stories -- makes for intelligent inquiry.... If Bill Clinton's aim is to seize a bigger role, how do we know who is really looking out for the country, and who is looking out for themselves? Is that not a fair question for everyone who has been given the priviledge to vote?
"Love is not jealous or boastful. Love is kind. Love does not insist on it's OWN way...."read the rest in First Corinthians Chapter 13 in the Holy Bible.
P.S. What do you call a First Husband who chases everyone who is a lady except his own wife? Hmmmmm?
WWALL STREET JOURNAL ARTICLE
APRIL 26, 2008
"He's Back!--Bill Clinton gives his wife's campaign new momentum as he seizes a bigger role."
By MONICA LANGLEY
April 26, 2008; Page A1
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. -- Bill Clinton, who called himself the "comeback kid" during his first presidential run, is pulling out all the stops for Hillary Clinton's comeback.
His relentless approach to battling Barack Obama -- on the trail and inside the campaign -- is becoming key to Sen. Clinton's newfound success, as she has won four of the last six primaries. She still faces long odds in her quest to overtake Sen. Obama on the road to the Democratic Party's nomination.
[Go to the article]
Billification: The former president, here in Carlisle, Pa., has been pushing his staff to arrange more appearances for him on the stump.
Dubbed the "Billification" of Sen. Clinton's campaign by some insiders, Mr. Clinton has become something of a strategist-in-chief in recent weeks. He has been pushing for harder and sharper attacks on Sen. Obama. While she has jabbed her opponent over his "elitist" tone and controversial statements by his former pastor, Mr. Clinton delivers his own slams on the stump, calling Obama ads misleading.
The former president says he's in uncharted territory. "Being the spouse is more difficult than when I was the candidate," he says in a brief interview. "When you're running, you're out there driving every day. But when you're the spouse, you feel more protective. It's much harder."
Mr. Clinton has placed several of his own aides at headquarters, including his former lawyer and a bevy of strategists. Known as a bad loser, Mr. Clinton privately buttresses his wife's drive to push on, telling her, according to aides: "We're not quitters."
On his own daily message calls, advisers say, he implores: "We've got to take him on every time." At the Clintons' Washington, D.C., home recently, these people say, he reviewed possible TV spots and told ad makers to be more hard-hitting, faster and harsher.
Mr. Clinton also told the campaign to double the number of his daily appearances. "Look at this schedule -- you've got me down for four events," he said the week before Pennsylvania's primary, according to one operative. "Give me six, eight a day. Get me to the suburbs where I can make a difference."
The campaign, which added the events before her Tuesday victory, is continuing the same intense schedule as the race moves to North Carolina, which holds its primary May 6, and other remaining states. Mr. Clinton's appearances are designed to boost Sen. Clinton's appeal with working-class and so-called "Bubba" voters, older white men who are likely to sympathize with Democratic economic policies but supported Ronald Reagan and other Republicans. Mr. Clinton is also sending out fund-raising appeals, with strong results, two operatives say.
His role has come at a cost -- to morale among some campaign staff, relations inside the Democratic Party and with African-American leaders, and in the view of some, his own legacy. He has lost considerable credibility with many party leaders, who, as "superdelegates" to the party convention, will be crucial in determining who is the Democratic presidential nominee.
Despite his influence, Mr. Clinton isn't running the day-to-day campaign. Sen. Clinton recently added Geoff Garin, who hasn't been involved in previous Clinton campaigns, to take a lead role with her message and strategy. Her new campaign manager, Maggie Williams, has worked to ensure that Mr. Clinton's role is "managed" in an attempt to prevent costly remarks.
To accomplish this, the campaign provides a daily briefing to Mr. Clinton with a message of the day or the week. This past week, he carried index cards with questions the campaign had received and wanted him to address on health care and other hot-button issues.
The Clinton campaign says Mr. Clinton is helping Sen. Clinton far more than he hurts. "He's making the best case for his wife and converting hundreds of people at each stop," says press secretary Jay Carson. "A lot of politics is being played about the former president here. The other campaign wants to diminish the importance of our best campaigner."
In North Carolina this past Wednesday, Mr. Clinton hit rural and suburban areas, running several hours late most of the day because he stayed at each event to shake nearly every hand of lingering voters. "If you're not ready to vote for Hillary, then I'm going to keep talking," he said at one stop.
In Asheboro, Annette Milon, a 65-year-old retired housekeeper who waited four hours, burst into tears when Mr. Clinton appeared. "I love him, I love her," Ms. Milon said, and shook his hand afterwards.
Chelsea Clinton and Bill Clinton applaud Sen. Hillary Clinton after her Pennsylvania primary win over Sen. Barack Obama.
"I shook his hand when he came through here running for president," said Lloyd Wright, who works for Orange County's public-works department. "I wish it was him running now."
Mr. Clinton promises something he says is even better. "For this time in our history, I believe that Hillary will be a better president than I was," he told the Asheboro crowd.
Not all the hastily arranged appearances for the ex-president have maximum impact. This past Monday, in Greensburg, Pa., so few people showed up for his appearance that the organizers unloaded the entire high school to fill up the gymnasium. The students, thrilled to be allowed to bring in their cellphones to take Mr. Clinton's photograph, talked among themselves during most of Mr. Clinton's remarks.
Mr. Clinton's influence is evident in pollster Mark Penn's continuing role in the campaign. Sen. Clinton recently demoted Mr. Penn as her chief strategist after he took part in talks with Colombia's U.S. ambassador over promoting a free-trade pact with the U.S. that she opposes.
However, Mr. Penn has helped in recent debate preparation, and proposed Sen. Clinton's last-minute negative ad in Pennsylvania questioning whether Sen. Obama has "what it takes."
At several moments in the campaign, Mr. Clinton has raised hackles with offhand remarks. He offended some African-Americans when he compared Sen. Obama's eventual victory in the South Carolina primary to Jesse Jackson's victory there 20 years earlier. Some black leaders considered that a slight against Sen. Obama's success.
A few weeks ago, he tried to explain away Sen. Clinton's remarks about a trip to Bosnia, in which she mistakenly said she faced sniper fire when getting off a plane. Instead of clarifying the matter, Mr. Clinton bungled his explanation of how his wife had made the slip, putting renewed attention on an issue the campaign had wanted to put behind it.
"Bill is blessed and cursed as a super-spouse," says one adviser. "He can go off-message, but mostly he delivers big crowds and positive results. He's fully invested and involved every single day."
Some voters say they still find Mr. Clinton a distraction. "To me, Bill Clinton has become more of a liability than an asset," said Debbie Crane, a Hillsborough, N.C., public-relations consultant, at lunch across from the town's courthouse. Ms. Crane referred to a radio interview in Philadelphia on Monday during which Mr. Clinton got defensive and said the Obama campaign had "played the race card on me" by making his comment about South Carolina into a campaign issue. "Just this week, he spouted off again," said Ms. Crane. "I can't imagine why he does this."
Her husband, George Sagar, an engineer, added, "Bill has so much charisma, he has trouble holding it back. He enjoys doing his part in a political race, whether he's beneficial or not." The couple say they are undecided.
As evidence of Mr. Clinton's impact, the campaign cites the Pennsylvania primary, which Sen. Clinton won by a margin of nearly 10 percentage points over Sen. Obama. Campaign data show that Sen. Clinton won by huge margins in several rural counties that her husband visited: 44 percentage points in Armstrong County, 44 points in Cambria County, 48 points in Carbon County and 50 points in Greene County. This compares with an edge of 26 points for Hillary among rural voters statewide. In Bucks County, a Philadelphia suburb that Mr. Clinton visited, Sen. Clinton won by 26 points, compared with only three points in suburban Philadelphia as a whole, according to the campaign data.
Mr. Clinton has been deeply involved in the campaign since the days after his wife's surprise third-place finish in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. With the Secret Service taking positions in and around campaign headquarters, he showed up for meetings, even bringing in bagels and chicken nuggets for the staff. He also brought in his own people, including former advisers Howard Paster and Steve Richetti and his foundation's chief of staff, Laura Graham.
Cheryl Mills, who had been Mr. Clinton's lawyer when he faced impeachment proceedings in Congress, suddenly took a much greater role in the Clinton campaign, where she had been the general counsel. She began arranging meetings for Mr. Clinton and presenting his point of view at staff meetings.
In recent days on the trail in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, Mr. Clinton is showing a renewed energy and the deft political touch for which he was once famous.
On the back of a pick-up truck parked on home plate in a neighborhood baseball field, Mr. Clinton, who won his first presidential race in 1992 by focusing on the economy, hit hard on the same subject for his wife.
"The economy is in the tank," he told a crowd who waited for two hours in the heat and a rain shower.
"Yeah, in the gas tank!" yells one voter.
"You got that right," Mr. Clinton says, appearing delighted to riff with fellow Southerners. "That's why we need Hillary."
Write to Monica Langley at monica.langley.wsj.com
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