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Bill Clinton’s New Role as Pres. Obama’s ‘Campaign Whisperer’

by Pete Souza

Politico nails the headline in the most important political article of the day, penned by Glenn Thrush and Jonathan Martin.

Team Obama has finally realized that talking about Mitt Romney as not having a “core” is a loser.

Anyone who has looked at his life, which I have, knows this is well off the mark. Romney has a deep, foundational core, which can be seen in his family life, his devout commitment to Mormonism, as well as the outreach he’s done through his church, which includes helping people.

However, there is nothing in the Mormon fundamentalist faith that is liberal or even centrist. It is a staunchly conservative doctrine with defined roles for men and women that are vastly outside of how the majority of Americans live. It’s also what allows Mitt Romney to embrace the Republican far right.

This reality is masked by whatever moves meant to get him where he wants to be, with Mitt Romney’s necessity to cater to the fringe right his most vulnerable point of weakness, because the American people are not moored on the right.

Of course former Pres. Bill Clinton would know the extremes are where Romney’s vulnerable, while also offering an opportunity to hit fringe right policies trumpeted by today’s Republican Party.

From Politico’s piece today:

Barack Obama’s top advisers are making a mid-“core” correction in their attacks on Mitt Romney – with a little nudge from Bill Clinton, who is finding a niche as an Obama campaign whisperer and fundraiser.

Romney, senior advisers David Plouffe and David Axelrod intoned time and again, was a political shape-shifter who lacked any real moral or political “core.”

The slogan was the Obama talking point for months. But Clinton, echoing survey data presented by Obama’s own pollster Joel Benenson, quietly argued that the empty-core approach failed to capitalize on what they see as Romney’s greatest vulnerability: An embrace of a brand of tea party conservatism that turns off Hispanics, women and moderate independents.

Helene Cooper did a story in the New York Times on team Obama’s new strategy last week titled “In Strategy Shift, Obama Team Attacks Romney From the Left.” This is how it began:

So long, flip-flopper. Hello, right-wing extremist.

Followed by the fill-in”:

After months of depicting Mr. Romney as the ultimate squishy, double-talking, no-core soul, Team Obama is shifting gears. Senior administration officials, along with Democratic and campaign officials, all say their strategy now will be to tell the world that Mr. Romney has a core after all – and it’s deep red.

However, the Times missed former Pres. Clinton’s “campaign whisperer” role, which is the best characterization I’ve read to date on what’s been circling.

Bill Clinton’s role is critical, because there’s been no sense that Axelrod and Plouffe have gotten a clue how to run against Mitt Romney with a candidate that’s no longer about “change” and “hope” in anyone’s eyes. It begins with the lack of a campaign slogan. That there has been no mention of what Pres. Obama wants to do in his second term isn’t surprising, because if Pres. Obama came out and admitted he’s in on some form of entitlement grand bargain, his activist base would bail. It’s about defining his opponent as a choice people can’t afford to make, which is best made through Romney’s austerity penchant for the 99%, but not the 1%, with emphasis on his far right policy approach, not populism.

America’s had many wealthy presidents, but none wanted to balance the federal budget on the backs of people, which Mitt Romney telegraphs he would by embracing the Paul Ryan economic model.

“You can’t just keep changing these things around, they have to have more of consistent message or nobody will buy it,” Politico quotes veteran GOP consultant and the man who ran Jon Huntsman’s doomed campaign, John Weaver.

Considering that’s exactly what happened to Huntsman and Weaver, he learned the lesson the hard way.

Romney’s already Etch A Sketching his immigration stance, so Democrats need to get busy with their message. Mitt Romney wants to allow the government to force women to have unwanted medical procedures; he wants to tear Hispanic families apart; and double down on austerity, expecting the private sector to take over on multiple fronts, while drowning the government safety net in the oval office bathroom if he gets the chance.

Bill Clinton knows a deeply religious man like Mitt Romney, with a beautiful family, no scandal in sight, except the sin of being rich and not caring much how he did it, except to serve at the pleasure of shareholders, can’t be carved out as having no “core.” It also alienates the financial industry and big donors that the Big Dawg is now being tapped to reach, because Obama needs them to wake up.

Personal attacks also let a politician slip through the cracks on their policy extremism.

Pres. Obama wants a second term and former Pres. Bill Clinton beat Newt Gingrich at his own game, then beat back the right who tried to make a private consensual affair about something it wasn’t, utilizing what many have deemed unethical means through Kenneth Starr to do it, which was set up before Bill Clinton was in office by Chief Justice Rehnquist, something I talk about in the chapter of my book “Blaming Bill.” Yet, Bill Clinton survived to thrive.

The partnering of Barack Obama with Bill Clinton is long overdue and it could be something that will make a difference in the 8-12% of the electorate that will decide the presidency in November.

The rest will be about world events over which neither campaign or either big two parties have any control.

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25 Responses to Bill Clinton’s New Role as Pres. Obama’s ‘Campaign Whisperer’

  1. Solo April 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Shameless flip-flopping liar, right wing extremist, both descriptions fit Mitt Romney. The man’s chief legal adviser is Robert Bjork. Give that a minute to sink in.

  2. Ga6thDem April 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Kind of sad that the Big Dawg has to come in and try to rescue this mess but it shows us once again that the problem really is Obama and his team. They couldn’t even understand what their own pollster was saying. All this gets back to Obama’s lack of experience.

  3. cjoblak@hotmail.com April 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    Interesting body language in that photo.

    • Lake Lady April 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

      I agree cjoblak~ I always notice that when the two are in a a photo together. Very immature of the president if you ask me. I don’t think of him as immature otherwise.

      • whitepaw April 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

        It always rubs me the wrong way when Obama stick his nose in the air. That photo speaks volumes towards his arrogance (in my opinion). And very disrespectful, especially towards a former president who has done so much to help him.

        • cjoblak@hotmail.com April 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

          And who was a much better President than him.

        • T-Steel April 23, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

          I can on for days about body language among and the race angle (nothing negative from the brown dude). Suffice it to say that a sizable number of black folks do what Obama does at time with the nose up in the air. Heck I do it at times unconsciously. It’s a “listening” look. Actually a sign of respect of the person talking. I don’t know how many times when I’ve been talking to other black guys in my family and we do that. The squint of the eyes. The nose up in the air. I’ve just seen it too many times. Obama ain’t fooling me. He respects the crap out of Bill Clinton but being the intellectual that he is, gets headstrong at times.

          But hey, body language and race is stupid so I’ll just go chill in the corner with my nose up in the air reading these wonderful comments. ;-)

          • Sandmann April 23, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

            It’s a “listening” look. Actually a sign of respect of the person talking. I don’t know how many times when I’ve been talking to other black guys in my family and we do that. The squint of the eyes. The nose up in the air.

            I do the exact same thing when I’m fully-focused on what someone is saying (and I’m dictionary entry caucasian).

            Excellent observation.

          • Lake Lady April 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

            T-Steel~ I am willing to stand corrected. Now that you mention it, I can remember students listening to me that way. It was usually when they were upset at some injustice and I was trying to talk them out of doing something stupid. I think I always took it to mean that they were listening but only half agreeing.

            I have a tendency to be defensive on the behalf of WJC…I admit it. :oops:

  4. Lake Lady April 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    The hopey changey thing was all marketing anyway. It was a model that Axelrod had done before with real “grassroots” marketing and he had a trial run with Duval Patrick in MA. No way could it work again, Stupid that it worked in the first place. Never let it be said that liberals are above religious fervor.

    The political malpractice that was practiced during the 2010 midterms and surrounding the health care law tells us that the ” brilliance” of the original Obama Campaign might have been a one time deal.

    The “no core” sounded like the pot calling the kettle black. If you ask me both of them sound like they are describing themselves.

    I don’t understand why they don’t make the public aware just exactly how Bain Capitol works and highlight how job destroying it can be

    Hopefully WJC can whisper some sense to them but I don’t know if he will be respected. Just look at the body language in the photo above. It always seems like the president gets an attitude around Bill.

    • Sandmann April 23, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

      Hopefully WJC can whisper some sense to them but I don’t know if he will be respected. Just look at the body language in the photo above. It always seems like the president gets an attitude around Bill. ~Lake Lady

      Hello! I like to think they get along much better than we imagine, but who knows for sure.

      • Lake Lady April 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

        I hope you are right Sandman. It does not show in public.

  5. Lake Lady April 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    I just read the Politico article. Same body language in that photo. For some reason whenever Bill is around Obama’s chin goes up. Like a teenager getting lectured by his grandfather.

    They should NOT listen to Bob Strum. His claim to fame is Teddy’s win in MA,well he had an exceptional candidate. He was totally flatfooted for Kerry when the swift boat attacks came around.

    • whitepaw April 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

      Honestly! What is it with Obama and the regal chin in the air! I also saw it in the Politico pic.

      I notice he does this a lot, but did not realize he did it so much in the presence of Bill Clinton.

  6. Sandmann April 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    Obama’s chin :roll:

    • whitepaw April 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

      Should have said regal nose… Sorry but it annoys me.

  7. Lake Lady April 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Hey whitepaw and sandman :smile:

  8. StrideHyde April 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    The picture is really cracking me up. Especially after the punditry claims that Obama was going to “end the Clinton era.” Delicious irony. Lake Lady, you speak my mind on Plouffe and Axelrod–so much for AstroTurf movement. Not gonna work this time. And saying Mitt has no core is dangerous for Team Obama.

  9. secularhumanizinevoluter April 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    I would be willing to bet there are allot of repugnantklan/teabaggers shitting gold bricks over that picture.

  10. fairmindedindependent April 23, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    I don’t no that even Bill Clinton can save President Obama. This election is between Obama and Romney, which we should have better candidates than this. I long for the days of Bill Clinton. That picture does not make President Obama look any better.

  11. T-Steel April 24, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    T-Steel~ I am willing to stand corrected. Now that you mention it, I can remember students listening to me that way. It was usually when they were upset at some injustice and I was trying to talk them out of doing something stupid. I think I always took it to mean that they were listening but only half agreeing.

    LOL! My wife said the same thing Lake Lady. And about defending WJC, it’s all good. To be honest, I’ve never voted for a Democrat or Republican in my life. I’ve been a third-party protest voter since 18! But I do respect WJC’s political savvy. I said this during Campaign 2008 many times to people I know. Your dealing with Professor Obama. He acts, walks, and talks just like this black guy I had as a professor in my college days. Cool dude. And I learned a lot. But he had these “things” about him that would rub people the wrong way even if the intention was otherwise.

    Maybe it’s a professor thing…

  12. whitepaw April 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    I suppose he is just “listening” here as well…

    http://images.politico.com/global/2012/04/120422_clinton_obama_1.jpg

    Just rubs me wrong… but apparently I am in the minority.

  13. Sasha April 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Just rubs me wrong… but apparently I am in the minority.

    I am with you whitepaw.
    His body language is very telling.

  14. ogenec April 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    Seriously, who cares? For the record, I think T-Steel and Sandmann are right: It’s a listening posture. But let’s say you’re right, and it’s evidence of arrogance. So what? Is the problem arrogance in general, or that he is acting that way towards WJC? And if the latter, does it equally disturb you that Clinton said of Obama “A few years ago, that man would have been getting us coffee”? Somehow I suspect not. What you seem to want is unilateral respect – Obama must show appropriate deference to WJC, but the latter is not required to reciprocate. I say, {expletive deleted} that {expletive deleted}.

    In any event, isn’t the issue moot? The two appear to have a good – if not amiable – working relationship. WJC’s political instincts remain first-rate, and it’s good to see Axe etc. taking his advice. What more do you {expletive deleted} want? Silly {expletive deleted}.

    • Lake Lady April 24, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      Hey ogenec ;-) if you are addressing me. I have rethought it regarding a listening posture. No I don’t think he has to show deference just not outright disrespect. But like I said before I have rethought it with T Steel’s help.

      As for the coffee comment, I think I would have to actually hear it myself before I could believe WJC said it. If he did say that it would be a huge dissappointment to me because it would make Clinton a different person then I think he is.

      As for taking his political advice it would be fool hardy not to and pardon me for saying it but Obama just does not have the political instincts I wish he did. I get a little sick of the Reagan worship when the best living Democratic politician is waiting to help.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong