Bill Clinton Campaigns for Democrats Where Current Leaders Cannot

Former President making more stump stops than Obama or Biden.

October 12, 2010, 9:34 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13, 2010— -- He hasn't held public office for nearly a decade, but Bill Clinton remains the Democrats' top choice of attack this campaign season.

With three weeks to go until what Republicans are hoping will be a wave election, Democrats are bringing out their heavyweights in droves to help fledgling candidates.

President Obama has crisscrossed the country to rile up the base. Vice President Biden has gone from coast to coast stumping for candidates. Even first lady Michelle Obama has stepped up campaign events for embattled candidates.

But Clinton is by far the most active and in-demand personality, even in states where candidates are distancing themselves from Obama's agenda.

An ad appearance by Clinton for Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln helped the embattled senator achieve a narrow victory in the primary. And she's hoping to achieve the same surge with another ad featuring the former Arkansas governor, who remains a popular figure in the state.

Clinton's stump events by far outweigh those of any other Democrat. By ABC estimates, he has attended or will go to more than 30 events, compared to 25 for Biden and Obama.

"It's worth reminding Americans that every election is a choice. If you have to run against the ideal, if it's a referendum, every one of us will get beat. Nobody would get elected. We'd have nobody in office, because there's no such thing as the perfect public servant," Clinton said Sept. 30 in an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews. "The choices you make in politics are like the choices you make in life. You look at the facts as best you can and you make the best available choice."

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Clinton hasn't always had a cozy relationship with the president. He was fiercely critical of candidate-Obama's policy stances in 2008 and found himself the subject of much scrutiny when Hillary Clinton was being vetted for the secretary of state position.

But for Democrats, Clinton remains a powerful force whose impact still runs deep. Clinton got the top rating of any president in a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll released last month. Of those polled, 55 percent had positive feelings for the former president while 23 percent had negative feelings toward him.

Even Republicans recall Clinton as a president who reached across the aisle on many issues -- even though his impeachment process nearly derailed that relationship.

Bill Clinton a Powerful Force on the Campaign Trail

Given Clinton's popularity with both the base and the public, it is not surprising that even candidates who are distancing themselves from Obama's policies are clamoring for the former president's support.

On Monday, Clinton attended a campaign rally for Democrat Joe Manchin, the governor of West Virginia running for the Senate. Manchin has blasted Obama on health care and his environmental policies.

But while Clinton may still hold great sway, his endorsements aren't always successful.

Former state House speaker and Clinton favorite Andrew Romanoff lost to Sen. Michael Bennet in the Colorado Democratic primary.

In Arkansas, Lincoln is trailing far behind her Republican challenger, Rep. John Boozman, in virtually all the polls.

Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway is also behind Republican Rand Paul, who attacked Clinton and questioned whether he is an honorable man after the former president called Paul's ideas radical.

Whether his endorsements help or not, expect to see more of the former president in the weeks leading up to the election as Democrats pull out the big guns for endangered Democrats.

On Thursday, Clinton will attend a rally in Albuquerque, N.M., for gubernatorial candidate Diane Denish. On Friday, he will be in Santa Ana, Calif., stumping for Rep. Loretta Sanchez's re-election campaign. He will also attend rallies for former foe and California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, and longtime friend San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Next week, he will be at a "Get Out The Vote" rally with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

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