is bill trying to get hillary elected or not?

Posted on April 11, 2008

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Is Bill Clinton serious about getting his wife Hillary picked as the Democratic presidential nominee and elected president of the United States?

Sometimes, it seems like the former president is working against his wife.

Just when the flap about Hillary’s Bosnia sniper story is dying down, Bill had to go and resurrect the sorry saga all over again.

To make matters worse, Bill himself added more errors through his account, getting the year of her visit wrong, saying Hillary has only recounted the story once and that she had immediately apologized for her oversight.

But most damaging of all, Bill, in trying to explain away Hillary’s gaffe, said she was tired at 11 pm and hence misspoke.

“Now I say that because, what really has mattered is that even then she was interested in our troops. And I think she was the first first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to go into a combat zone. And you woulda thought, you know, that she’d robbed a bank the way they carried on about this. And some of them, when they’re 60, they’ll forget something when they’re tired at 11 at night, too.”

Oh dear.

Trying to defend his wife is one thing, but did Bill think through before he said Hillary is forgetful at 60 and tired at 11 pm? Has he thought about how much ammunition he has just supplied to Hillary’s enemies with those remarks? Did he not think they would gleefully seize on that and undermine her argument of answering the 3 am phone call?

Bill just seems to have gone from un-stuffing one foot from his mouth just to put another one in. That has cost Hillary dearly at the polls. Just look at what started in South Carolina. She would have had a lot more support from African-American voters there if Bill had not alienated them by callously casting Barack Obama in the mold of Rev. Jesse Jackson, a politician who only has appeal with African-Americans.

Bill was supposed to have been an asset for her campaign but so far, that mantle seems to have fallen more accurately on their daughter Chelsea’s shoulders instead. Bill’s outbursts and statements are only making Hillary’s job harder. He is hurting her every time he makes a mistake that would be quickly picked up by the media, which then go to town with it.

Often called one of the greatest political minds of his generation, Bill Clinton cannot be so totally clueless about the cause and effect of his words and faux pas. Speculations abound about whether Bill’s mistakes are honest flubs or a more disturbing sign that deep down, he actually does not want her to win. That of course, remains pure speculation. But what is clearly not speculation is how little control Hillary has over him and would have over him if she does make it to the White House. Would she have to waste her time cleaning up after him or explaining away something Bill might have said that could result in some kind of serious diplomatic rift?

In a statement, the Clinton campaign was forced once more to offer another mea culpa it should not have had to. “Senator Clinton appreciates her husband standing up for her, but this was her mistake and she takes responsibility for it.”

Note to Hillary and her staffers — as things tighten up in the crucial battleground of Pennsylvania, they have to reign Bill in and keep him from saying anything else that could damage his wife’s chances. That might help her a lot more than anything else.

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