Former President Bill Clinton’s outsized presence is already a force on the 2010 campaign trail as Democrats scramble to save their hides in a rough political climate. President Obama’s political team plans to rely on Clinton heavily in the fall, but they also say they won’t leash the Big Dog too tightly.
“We won’t micromanage the former President,” one insider said. “He’s going to do what he’s going to do and it will be helpful.” From the White House perspective, Clinton will be an invaluable, not-so-secret weapon, stumping, raising cash, and firing up voters in both white blue-collar and African-American communities.
That last is a key point for Clintonistas. They felt the press unfairly declared black voters had turned on him during his wife’s failed campaign against Obama in 2008. But black voters in Arkansas came out for him. “The blowhards were wrong after all,” gloated one Clinton pal .
Obama will be on the stump this fall too, but Clinton brings an advantage a sitting President can’t match. He can go wherever he wants. Obama, for instance, would have a hard time campaigning in Gulf states with the oil-spill crisis ongoing, Lehane said. “You just don’t know where things will be in the fall,” Lehane said. “But you know Clinton will not be constrained.”