Monday was the day the Hillary campaign unleashed Bill Clinton, once again sending him out to stump for his wife.
While she is the Democratic front-runner, email investigations are swirling and her favorability ratings are down in the dumper, so it was thought the better-liked Bubba could add some pleasant pizzazz to his bland wife’s bland campaign.
But the Great Unveiling was more like a viewing.
The rail-thin Clinton, 69 but looking far older, stood there in New Hampshire appearing as a kind of muted version of his old self. His voice was thin, his delivery flat and dull, the music of days past mostly gone. He looked like a nicely presented, well coiffed grandpa — but a grandpa nonetheless, his hands shaking as he wagged a crooked finger, his movements stiff and brittle.
Clinton’s appearances may be most notable for his contrast with Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who is the same age as Bill, but cuts a figure of far greater vigor. Energy and health are two of Trump favored weapons. He’s aimed them at GOP opponents younger than he to great effect and has already deployed them against Hillary, who has had her own share of health scares.
“She’ll do a couple of minutes in Iowa, meaning a short period of time. And then she goes home,” Trump said recently in Davenport, Iowa. “You don’t see her for five or six days. She goes home, goes to sleep. I’m telling you. She doesn’t have the strength. She doesn’t have the stamina.”
The sight of creaky Bill may only play into this line of attack. Even worse for Hillary than Bill’s current stiffness is his past suppleness. Trump has made clear that with Hillary Clinton presenting herself as the candidate of women, Bill’s reputation as a ladies’ magnet of a different sort is fair game. The more often he appears, the more opportunities present themselves for Trump to remind voters that Bill Clinton is an accused serial sexual harasser who turned the Oval Office into his private pleasure palace.
After his speech Monday, Bill was asked by Cecelia Vega of ABC News if his tawdry past was indeed “fair game.” The former president dodged, mumbling something about how he wants to talk about Hillary and how he cares about the people.
That won’t work for long.
All that said, though, the former president lost his deft political touch years ago. It seems he either doesn’t fully get politics anymore or he has some deep-seated, Freudian urge to sink his wife’s campaign. There was the time in 2014 when he revealed that it took Hillary six months to recover from a December 2012 concussion and blood clot that resulted from a fainting spell, and that her health was “a serious issue.” That opened up a big can of worms for her.
Then there was the moment during the 2008 campaign when he ruined her chances in the South Carolina primary by comparing President Obama to Jesse Jackson, injecting the race issue into the campaign. Now, older and less and less wiser, Bill has been unfurled to do new, unknown damage to Hillary’s final crusade for the office he once held.
Get ready for an oldies tour featuring the many women Clinton has allegedly wronged and who no doubt perceive another chance to get a little of the justice they feel they were denied. And get ready for the other oldies tour, featuring and effete former president who threatens to help Hillary only in that he might protect her from the burden of being president.
Two men of the people were both by happenstance at the vacation destination of the rich people when they bumped into each other Friday on the golf course. So they decided to play together Saturday.
Here’s some footage of their outing. Also with them was Vernon Jordan, a veteran Democratic operative and Washington wise man who is close to Clinton, and Ron Kirk, who was Obama’s U.S. Trade Representative.
Later Saturday, Obama, Clinton, and their wives attended Jordan’s 80th birthday party.
The Clinton Foundation charity operated acted as a de facto employment assistance program for Hillary Clinton’s once and future political advisors and should be investigated by the IRS for potentially violating charitable organization rules, according to a piece by Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel.
Strassel cites a long list of Clinton operatives who were either directly employed by or paid as consultants by the Foundation, including Sidney Blumenthal, who received $10,000 per year for doing something – just what not being entirely clear.
Strassel writes that the Foundation was notable for its unusually large – for a charity – personnel and travel costs and that such organizations normally have far more charity professionals, as opposed to political campaign workers.
One, Dennis Chang, appears to have built his fundraising rolodex at the charity and then taken it with him directly the the Hillary 2016 campaign.
Other senior officials have floated back and forth from Hillary’s political world to the charity:
Longtime aide Cheryl Mills served as general counsel to Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 campaign, then worked at State. She then joined the board of directors of the foundation and remains on it still, even as she works on Clinton 2016 . . .
Maura Pally was until recently the acting CEO of the Clinton Foundation. Her training for this important job was working as a lawyer in the Clinton White House, as a counsel to Hillary 2008, and in cultural affairs at the State Department.
Then there’s Mrs. Clinton’s longtime aide, Huma Abedin, who worked as traveling chief of staff during the 2008 campaign, then went to State. There she was granted a special arrangement to continue earning money as a private-sector consultant. Among those she consulted for? The Clinton Foundation. Ms. Abedin has transitioned back as vice chairman of Mrs. Clinton 2016 campaign.
Just think if the Clintons get back into the White House. Beyond Hillary and Huma, there will be Bill, with absolutely nothing to do as First Gentleman other than think of ways to parlay his residence into cash, power, extravagant travel and sumptuous events.
It will make the Lincoln Bedroom racket and the Johnny Chung scandal look like phony phone call pranks.
Wow. I have to give it to the mainstream media. They are not using the kid gloves with the Clintons, and if anything, going after them harder than the Republicans.
Because for reporters, even though many are indeed tilted toward the Left, the most exciting thing is not ideology, but digging up great scoops. Great scoops tinged with scandal are a friggin’ opiate rush. And when it comes to scandal, the Clintons have been generously providing for two and a half decades.
This latest is a combined reporting effort by Brian Ross of ABC News and Michael Isikoff of Yahoo – two of the best investigative reporters around – along with a couple of other ABC reporters. They’ve dug up that a lavish Clinton Foundation event held this week in Marrakesh, Morocco is bankrolled not only by a foreign government entity, but one accused of human rights violations.
Former President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation’s Global Initiative are being hosted this week at a five-star luxury hotel in Morocco by one of the world’s most controversial mining companies, criticized for “serious human rights violations” by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice.
The Moroccan government-owned mining company OCP operates in disputed international territory in a remote part of the Sahara Desert, and the firm has been criticized for removing the resources without adequately compensating the impoverished people who live there.
Here’s ABC’s version.
Man, what a great time ol’ Bill has been having these past several years. Center of attention, beautiful locales. The Man from Hope.
Honestly, honestly honestly. I think there is some secret, dark part of Bill Clinton – not that he actually has many “secret” dark parts, but stick with me here – that does not want his wife to be president. How else can one explain how this most sublime of politicians seems to do everything possible to destroy her chances?
He constructed a shady charity/business empire when he knew full well she would run for president. He helped screw up her 2008 effort with some dumb remarks about race.
The most recent unforced Bill Clinton error is his revival on the Today show this morning of the “We were so poor” theme, which Hillary already took for a test flight and crash landed with a few weeks ago.
Let me remind you, when we moved into the White House, we had the lowest net worth of any family since Harry Truman.
The explanation for Bill’s behavior is very simple: It’s male ego combined with grotesque infantilism.
If Hillary became president, she would then clearly eclipse him, having already been a New York senator and Secretary of State, while he was the governor of Arkansas, which I think has the population of Brooklyn or something.
So he was the governor of Brooklyn.
No offense to the people of Arkansas. I’m from New York City. I dig Brooklyn. But still.
I watched Bill Clinton closely when I covered him during during the final couple of years of his presidency, met him several times, and feel like I get him.
He is, at his core, a child stranded in the Freudian oral stage of development, ever seeking the next scrumptious thing to place into his mouth. And only his mouth. Nobody else’s.
He is America’s Greatest Living Narcissist, which is not an easy title to seize and hold. I know many pretenders to the throne in Washington.
More from Bill on Today:
Question: So she’s now running for president. Will you continue to give speeches?
BC: Oh yeah. I gotta pay our bills.
I mean, would his Secret Service detail get in the way at this point if Hillary tried to sequester him in a safe house in Kamchatka until December 2016?
Hillary’s campaign is already off to a bad start. And there is no way it will ever get to a good finish with Bill in the copilot seat.
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