Another Comeback for the Comeback Kid?

By Caitlin Taylor

Aug 5, 2009 11:48am

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: The images and the results could not have been better for former President Bill Clinton. Or, for that matter, for President Obama. The complicated political path of the Clintons takes this twist: The former president returned to the international stage this week with a moment of triumph. The mission could be a template for a complex figure who’s been left in the political wilderness under the Obama era. With feelings still raw from last year’s campaign — and with his wife’s service as secretary of state complicating his private and public roles — the former president has been searching the appropriate role for himself in recent months. Now, associates say, they hope he’s found it. “Things like this are terrific, because he Is a national asset,” said Al From, a longtime Clinton friend who founded the Democratic Leadership Council. “There will probably be other things like this that he can do. . . . Clinton is a guy who is smart, who understand politics, and understand policy. He understands how to get things done. I hope President Obama will use him.” The situation involving North Korea may be unique. Former Vice President Al Gore’s connection to the journalists — plus the North Koreans’ specific request for Bill Clinton to come — made him a natural fit. And as some critics, most notably former UN Ambassador John Bolton, have noted, the mission could send the wrong message to world leaders. But the message the trip sends domestically is one of peacemaker and dealmaker — precisely the role the former president has sought to fashion for himself. It suggests that President Obama is open to having him play that role — delicately, of course, given his entanglements. Clinton’s work through his foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative takes place largely outside the public spotlight. Now, the former president is back in that spotlight — in a situation that could be a boon to his legacy, as well as his future projects.

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