The Bill Comes Due

By Dotcomabc

Apr 26, 2008 12:57pm

Lots of talk about former President Bill Clinton these days.

Perhaps, as Bono once said, too much talk.

He is a force out there on the trail, as ABC News’ Sarah Amos reports.

And yet . . .

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., tells Fox News that “Many of the surrogates in the Clinton campaign of recent days have been saying things that have been angering African-American voters over again.

“I mean, who ‘played the race card’ on President Clinton?” Clyburn said, referring to comments made in an interview Clinton gave to WHYY-FM in Philadelphia and later denied making. “What does he mean by that unless he is trying to send some kind of signal on race?”

Clyburn, the highest-ranking African American in Congress, has remained neutral throughout this contest, but he has continually expressed concern about the tactics of the Clinton campaign.

“I am concerned … that the conduct of this campaign could very well make the nomination not worth having,” Clyburn told Fox. ““Our party is much bigger than Bill Clinton. It is much bigger than Sens. Clinton or Obama. It is a party that is here to serve the American people. … And I don’t want to see us conduct a campaign in such a way that it does irreparable harm to our being able to do that. When this campaign is over, if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, she cannot get elected president if 25 to 30 percent of black people vote for McCain. She is going to have … to have that same 92 percent of black people that Obama [has] now. And if [Obama] is the nominee, he is going to need her help and her husband’s help getting white voters that he is not now getting. And I don’t see how you can go back to these people and get them to vote for the nominee if you have done all these things and said all of these things about him during the campaign … because you are not going to be able to reverse field in the middle of general election.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Monica Langley today takes a look at what some “insiders” are calling the “Billification” of the campaign.

“Mr. Clinton has placed several of his own aides at headquarters, including his former lawyer and a bevy of strategists. Known as a bad loser, Mr. Clinton privately buttresses his wife’s drive to push on, telling her, according to aides: ‘We’re not quitters.’ On his own daily message calls, advisers say, he implores: ‘We’ve got to take him on every time.’ At the Clintons’ Washington, D.C., home recently, these people say, he reviewed possible TV spots and told ad makers to be more hard-hitting, faster and harsher.”

Langley says that Bill Clinton’s “role has come at a cost — to morale among some campaign staff, relations inside the Democratic Party and with African-American leaders, and in the view of some, his own legacy. He has lost considerable credibility with many party leaders, who, as ‘superdelegates’ to the party convention, will be crucial in determining who is the Democratic presidential nominee. … ‘Bill is blessed and cursed as a super-spouse,” says one adviser. ‘He can go off-message, but mostly he delivers big crowds and positive results. He’s fully invested and involved every single day.’”

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