“Getting Bill Clinton on the campaign trail is like force-feeding sugar to an ant,” said Mr. Clinton’s former adviser Paul Begala. “You don’t have to ask him twice.” [New York Tiimes]
SURROGATE IN CHIEF Bill Clinton was in Kentucky on Tuesday campaigning for Alison Lundergan Grimes, who still has a tough climb to beat Mitch McConnell. “I love Kentucky,” President Clinton intoned in his best Arkansas drawl, raising $700,000 for Grimes. In 2014, Bill Clinton is the Democratic go to politician, but not even he can pull a House majority out of his hat. The goal right now is to simply keep the Senate, which won’t be easy for Democrats either.
It’s clear Alison Lundergan Grimes isn’t afraid to play hard ball, even using the leader of the party to do it.
From Jonathan Martin today in the New York Times:
Ms. Grimes sought to do just that in the interview. She praised the enactment of the health measure in Kentucky, saying that the state was “leading the nation” in carrying it out.
But she was quick to work in a not-so-subtle dig at Mr. Obama.
“When Washington politicians make promises that “˜if you like your plan and your doctor, you can keep it,’ we actually live up to it,” she said.
It will get down to turn out, as is the case in all midterms, especially when the American voter is so disgusted with everyone, including governors, which is a new development.
“There are ways in which we can help using the president’s grass-roots network or through targeted appeals,” Mr. Pfeiffer said, noting that Mr. Obama’s extensive list includes supporters even in states that are overwhelmingly Republican. “The challenge this year is to get Democrats to come out to the polls, and the president has a unique ability to do that.”
To spotlight turn out a bit more, just imagine if working poor in Texas turned out for the Democratic Party this year. Wendy Davis might not be looking like such a long shot, with little chance of winning the governorship. But turning Texas blue is still years away, though it’s not because the constituency isn’t already there.
In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell has a primary challenger he has to defeat before turning to Grimes. Once he does he’ll face an opponent like none other he has before. An attractive female Democrat who’s already won state-wide and who isn’t afraid of McConnell and challenges his incumbency at a time when his approval is at a low ebb.
President Bill Clinton is longtime friends of Grimes’s father and someone who Kentucky Democrats can relate to.
So, it’s not by accident that Senator Rand Paul began using Bill Clinton as a punching bag recently, dredging up the long-buried and put to bed Lewinsky scandal. It’s not just about Paul’s 2016 presidential candidacy.
Republicans need to hobble Bill Clinton any way they can. They remember very well his tour de force at the Democratic convention that gave Democrats the energy that led to the edge up they needed to put Mitt Romney away. The last thing they want is for Bill Clinton to be effective in 2014.
It could mean the difference in keeping the Senate.
“Albert Einstein could have written that bill in a closet, and there would have been problems with it,” Mr. Clinton said. The peril posed by what conservatives call Obamacare underscores the limitations of just what Mr. Clinton, popular as he may now be, can do for Democratic candidates running in conservative-leaning states this year. [New York Times]
This post has been updated.