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Obama banks on Bill Clinton to clinch close states

Associated Press Modified: November 3, 2012 at 7:45 am •  Published: November 3, 2012
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Clinton still runs late, even at morning events. Former Vice President Walter Mondale had to spin political yarns to kill time this week as voters waited in Minneapolis.

But the man who once headlined nine events in one day for his wife in the 2008 North Carolina primary — when Hillary Rodham Clinton was battling Obama — still feeds off crowds' energy and affection.

In Green Bay, Wis., Clinton gave a 57-minute dissertation on why the economy is better than many think. The only reason the Obama-Romney race is close, he said, "is because Americans are impatient on things not made before yesterday, and they don't understand why the economy is not totally hunky-dory again."

Clinton campaigned for Obama on Thursday in Wisconsin and Ohio. Earlier in the week he was in Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota and New Hampshire.

He will join Obama on Saturday for a rally in Virginia and on Sunday morning for an event in New Hampshire. Clinton also will campaign Sunday in North Carolina and Minnesota. And on Monday, the Obama camp hopes Clinton will snuff out any possible Romney eruption in Pennsylvania, scheduling stops for him in Pittsburgh and Scranton, plus two in Philadelphia.

No state underscores Clinton's value more than Florida, where the Republican Bush family looms large. While Obama makes every possible use of his party's most recent president, Romney can hardly mention George W. Bush, who left office amid an economic collapse and an unpopular war in Iraq.

Romney campaigned Thursday in Tampa, however, with Bush's brother Jeb, a former Florida governor who remains widely popular.

Much has been made of Clinton's once-frosty relationship with Obama. Clinton, among other things, in 2008 called Obama's history of opposing the Iraq war a "fairy tale."

The two men may never be chums. But Clinton's endorsements now seem full-throated. It delights Democratic loyalists.

"The Republicans have nothing to match the personal appeal and persuasive power of President Clinton," said Doug Hattaway, a consultant with close ties to the Clintons. "He can energize Democrats and close the deal with moderate swing voters."

Bruce Marvin, who attended Clinton's event in Chillicothe, Ohio, said the ex-president explains Obama's plans even more understandably than does the nominee.

"I think it's backing up what Obama may not have been able to get across," Marvin said.

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Associated Press writers John Seewer in Ohio, Brian Bakst in Minnesota and Carrie Antlfinger in Wisconsin contributed to this report.