Bill Clinton is one of the Democrats' best spokespeople. He's grown more popular as a former president, particularly among the party faithful. He can make complicated policy arguments relatable to ordinary people. And he's one of the best speakers in American politics.
There's no wonder he has a primetime speaking role at the Democratic convention in Charlotte. But his relationship with Barack Obama, the Democratic president he's arguing tonight that voters should re-elect, has some rocky patches. Clinton, after all, has twice endorsed an Obama challenger. One of those challengers, recall, happened to be Clinton's wife.
|Clinton Supports Obama's Opponent|
When Barack Obama first ran for congress – and lost – Clinton actively helped the man Obama was trying to unseat, incumbent Rep. Bobby Rush.
Not only did Clinton provide his vocal support of Rush but he even recorded short TV commercials on behalf of the incumbent.
Rep. Bobby Rush went on to not only keep the congressional seat but he won with 62 percent of the vote to Obama's 30 percent.
|The 2008 Primary and the Race Card|
Obama's primary battle against Hillary Clinton dragged on for months. And one of Hillary Clinton's most vocal supporters was her husband, the former president, who at one point referred to the Obama "fairy tale."
In April 2008, former President Bill Clinton said the Obama campaign "played the race card" against him. Clinton told a Philadelphia radio station that his South Carolina-primary comparison of Obama and Rev. Jesse Jackson is an example of his being the victim in the game of ugly racial politics.
"Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in '84 and '88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here," Clinton said.
The controversial comment was made by Clinton in response to a question about it taking "two Clintons to beat" Obama. In the inquiry, Jackson had not been mentioned.
After receiving flak for the comments, Clinton claimed that Obama took his Jackson remarks and "twisted it for political purposes."
"I think that they played the race card on me," Clinton said. "We now know, from memos from the campaign that they planned to do it along."
|Clinton Shows Some Love For Obama|
The Clintons and the Obamas seem to have a rocky history but sometimes Democrats have to stick together. In 2008, former president Bill Clinton released a campaign ad supporting the democratic candidate, Barack Obama.
The ad touts, "Now one of Clinton's law of politics is this- if one candidate is trying to scare you and the other one is trying to get you to think… if one candidate is appealing to your fears and the other one is appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope."
|Clinton Steals Obama's Press Conference|
In December of 2010, a presidential double take appeared at the White House for an impromptu press conference. Former president Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama made an appearance to tout Obama's tax cut deal with Republicans.
Though the duo took to the podium together, a bizarre twist to the joint conference left Clinton conducting his own question and answer session after Obama left. Clinton, who made himself comfortable on the conference stage, fielded twice as many questions as Obama took during his own briefing room press conference.
|Clinton Praises Romney's Work in Private Equity Industry|
In a television interview on CNN with guest host Harvey Weinstein, Clinton said President Barack Obama's re-election campaign should quit attacking Mitt Romney's work in the private equity industry.
"I think he had a good business career," Clinton said of Mitt Romney. "There's no question that in terms of getting up and going to the office and, you know, basically performing the essential functions of the office, a man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold."
Clinton continues to say that he has "friends" in the private equity business, suggesting that it was not smart for the Obama campaign to go after Romney's record at Bain Capital claiming that in private equity, "like anything else you try, you don't always succeed."
"I don't think that we ought to get into the position where we say this is bad work," Clinton said. "This is good work."
In the interview, Clinton said that he believes Obama will triumph over Mitt Romney when he begins to focus on the "real issue" of how his record will compare with what Romney could do as president.
"The Obama proposals and the Obama record will be far better for the American economy and most Americans than those that Gov. Romney has laid out," Clinton continued. "And that's what the election ought to be about."
|Clinton Says His Wife Didn't Want to Be VP|
In 2008, Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton said that she would be "open to" accepting the VP slot for President Obama if offered. Her husband, former president Bill Clinton, however, claimed that his wife didn't want the spot.
When asked by ABC's Barbara Walters whether Sen. Hillary Clinton wanted to join the Obama ticket, Bill replied, "Not really, she didn't."
Not only did Bill Clinton claim that his wife didn't want the veep nomination, but he also said that his wife, not VP Joe Biden, would have been "the best politically."
"It's a very personal decision who should be vice president. I like Sen. Biden a lot. I think he was a good choice. [Hillary Clinton] would have been the best politically at least in the short run because of her enormous support in the country," he said.
Though the former president declared that Hillary didn't want the seat, he says she would have accepted if asked.