Sunday, December 17, 2006

Bill Clinton, help or harm?

Recommended read over at the Washington Post that outlines how Bill Clinton could both help or harm the almost certain Hillary for President in 2008 campaign. Some selected paragraphs I found especially noteworthy:

Yes, Bill can deliver political superstardom. He's a razor-sharp political strategist. He knows the institution of the presidency. His fundraising chops are unrivaled. All that is well and good -- perhaps too good, according to a September CNN poll, which showed his favorable rating higher than hers, 60 percent to 50 percent.

But there's the other Bill, the one who could be a massive and messy distraction. That Bill is the ex-president known for his outsize appetites and indiscipline, the Bill who still revels in the limelight, who runs with global jet-setters. He is prone to pop up in the press for even the smallest of curiosities, like being spotted at dinner with another woman -- bad news for an ex-president already infamous for marital infidelity.

Her campaign strategists also have to be "very careful" about managing Bill because "he sucks up the air around everybody when he's there," says Thurber. "And he needs to be loved. She is more self-assured, doesn't need as much adulation as he does. And that's trouble."

Asked how Hillary's presumed rivals might deal with the Bill factor, an aide to one of them said, "Everybody knows everything there is to know about the Clintons." The aide spoke anonymously to avoid any damaging blowback for the comments. "No one needs to point out to them 'guess what? Bill Clinton was impeached [after] having an affair' . . . It's obvious to everyone that her husband is a huge benefit and he comes with some baggage."

Spokesmen for both Clintons steadfastly refused to discuss the theory that Bill might pose obstacles should Hill, as the New York tabloids call her, run for president.

"He campaigned for her in 2000. He campaigned for her in 2006," says Howard Wolfson, a Hillary Clinton adviser. "In both instances, we found, as did many other candidates across the country, that his presence on the campaign trail was a huge boost."

In the past several months, Bill has appeared to be her chief campaigner, publicly saying Hillary would be a great president, even better than him, because she would enter the White House with more experience.

It's a four page article so there is of course much more at the above link.


Me4Prez said...

I think Bill Clinton hurts more than helps Hillary because people will get into comparisons. She isn't as personable or witty and always appears angry or like she is bored having to talk to people. Hillary may be extremely intelligent, but she is not the person who "feels your pain" or even seems to care about it.

Anonymous said...

I think Hillary will most definitely be affected by the "Bill factor." A commentator on "Meet the Press" on Sunday summed it up well: voters are going to feel queasy voting for Hillary knowing that Bill is right there with her.

Sad, but probably true.

Anonymous said...


Hooda Thunkit said...

I think that Bill helping Hillary would be of great benefit..., to her opponent.

His presence and (I admit it) style, can certainly outclass hers...