|Clinton Rallies Battlegrounds for Obama|
|By DEVIN DWYER (@devindwyer) and ANN COMPTON (@AnnCompton)||Nov 1, 2012, 12:08 AM|
For a president who was impeached in an ugly scandal during his second term, and then suffered a quadruple bypass and heart complications, Bill Clinton is proving that he's still a political force to be reckoned with.
The 42nd president has been barnstorming the 2012 battlegrounds for President Obama, holding 13 events in seven states over four days this week alone – ratcheting up what has already been, by most accounts, an unprecedented amount of time on the presidential campaign trail by a former president.
Clinton will headline rallies today in Waukesha, Wis., and Perrysburg, Akron and Chillicothe, Ohio. He's also made stops this week in Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Minnesota and Iowa, drawing crowds of several thousand in each place.
"You just have to decide," Clinton told supporters in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Wednesday. "Obama's economic plan is better, his budget plan is better, his education plan is better, his healthcare plan is better, his plan to bring America together is better. That is worth standing up for."
The Obama campaign believes Clinton's endorsement and credibility with voters on the economy can help counter widespread dissatisfaction with the country's current state of affairs and buy the president some more time.
Fifty-four percent of Americans in the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, conducted Oct. 25-28, said they think the country is on the wrong track, compared to 39 percent who said they felt things were on the right track.
"We created 22 million new jobs and turned deficits into surpluses," Clinton says of his record in the latest TV ad he taped for the Obama campaign. "President Obama's got it right. We should invest in the middle class, education and innovation, and pay down our debt with spending restraint and asking the wealthy to pay a little more. Sound familiar?"
Clinton's return to the trial has helped to solidify his image as one of the Democratic Party's most popular elder statesmen and one with an ability to appeal to independent voters, who are nostalgic for the economic prosperity of the 1990s.
It's also been an opportunity for him to bolster his legacy and the future of the party while doing one of the things he's known to love: campaign in the spotlight.
Clinton shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen at an Obama rally last month in Ohio that drew tens of thousands. He's stumped for cash at the president's side before financial elites in New York City, and behind closed doors for his super PAC, Priorities USA Action. His convention speech in Charlotte has been hailed as one of the highlights of the Democrats' 2012 campaign.
"Bill Clinton has been an important adviser, friend and supporter for a very long time," First Lady Michelle Obama said in an interview after the convention.
She called the hug between Clinton and her husband on stage at the Democratic National Convention a "public display of the bromance."
"Barack understands that to be good at this job you've got to learn and listen from those who've done it. And because there are so few people alive today who have done this job, you know, you don't waste any of that advice," she said.
Clinton has disputed the notion of a budding "bromance," but has said the two – who were famously bitter rivals during the 2008 Democratic primary campaign – have "good" ties.
"We haven't been close friends a long time or anything like that, but he knows I support him," Clinton said in an interview with NBC.
Obama and Clinton were to appear Monday together on the campaign trail for the first time, at events in Florida, Ohio and Virginia. But those plans were dashed by Hurricane Sandy.
With five days to go before voters head to the polls, there's a good chance Obama and Clinton may still try again to unite on the road.