We’re obviously in the home stretch here, and Flordia, while giving Obama a slight slight lead, is still very close and will likely be decided by a few points in either direction.
Given the tight race there, it’s great to see that he is bringing out all of the big guns:
Former Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic presidential contender in 2000, will be joined by his wife, Tipper Gore, at a rally for Barack Obama on Friday afternoon at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach.
Convention center officials announced the event today. It will be held in the Center’s Grand Ballroom, and is expected to be limited to about 2,000 attendees.
There was a post up yesterday on Dkos that suggested Bill Clinton was very savvily helping persuade undecideds with his analytical posture towards the race. By acknowledging that they could “like” John McCain but still vote for Obama because he’s better for the country, he was actually reaching out to undecided voters on behalf of Obama.
Now, this strikes me as wishful thinking for the most part. I don’t subscribe to the theory that says Clinton wants Obama to lose so his wife can run again. I subscribe to the theory that Clinton is most concerned with rebuilding his reputation as a senior statesman – something he knows was damaged in the primary because he became too partisan.
But on both counts, helping Obama and re-building his reputation, interviews like this one on last night’s “The Daily Show With John Stewart” are steps in the right direction, and he himself said that his strategy is to reach out to undecideds, not to placate the base.
Post-convention, the Democrats have mostly gotten together thanks to the well-received speeches of Bill and Hillary Clinton, but there is still a bit of unfinished business between President Clinton and Senator Obama, and it looks like the waters are continuing to warm up:
Senator Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton plan to meet for lunch on Thursday at Mr. Clinton’s offices in Harlem, their first extended face-to-face encounter after more than a year of tense relations, aides said Sunday.
The current plan is for Mr. Obama and Mr. Clinton to have lunch at the Clinton Foundation headquarters on West 125th Street in Harlem with one close aide each. There have been discussions about the men possibly then doing a walking tour of the neighborhood, but that has not been settled.
Thursday is the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and Mr. Obama will be in New York for a memorial ceremony at Ground Zero that morning with his Republican presidential rival, Senator John McCain, an event that both candidates say is intended to be non-political.
When Mr. Clinton learned that Mr. Obama would be in New York on Thursday for two appearances, he invited him to lunch at the foundation offices, aides said.
This does not bode well:
DENVER — Bill Clinton appeared to undermine Sen. Barack Obama again Tuesday.
The former president, speaking in Denver, posed a hypothetical question in which he seemed to suggest that that the Democratic Party was making a mistake in choosing Obama as its presidential nominee.
He said: “Suppose you’re a voter, and you’ve got candidate X and candidate Y. Candidate X agrees with you on everything, but you don’t think that candidate can deliver on anything at all. Candidate Y you agree with on about half the issues, but he can deliver. Which candidate are you going to vote for?”
Then, perhaps mindful of how his off-the-cuff remarks might be taken, Clinton added after a pause: “This has nothing to do with what’s going on now.”
The comments are unlikely to be taken as an innocent mistake by those Democrats who continue to be angry with the former president for, they say, not supporting the Illinois senator wholeheartedly, if not implicitly undercutting him.
This will predictably ignite another firestorm. And if Bill Clinton addresses the convention tomorrow with comments like this, it could permanently diminish him as a national figure in Democratic politics. Unbelievable.
I agree wholeheartely with Dan about the need for Sen. Kerrey to shut his yap, but beyond that: What in the hell is the Clinton campaign doing? Witness all of the following over the past week or so:
August 4th: Bill Clinton gives an interview that is nearly universally derided, in which he can’t bring himself to say that Obama is qualified and ready to be President.
August 6th: Time publishes a story which talks about Hillary’s general unhappiness about the campaign (including lack of help with her debt), and which also implies that she doesn’t think Obama can win.
August 7th: A video surfaces in which Hillary talks about the need for a ‘Cathartic’ convention, implying the need to put her name in nomination. This is a move that is widely seen as damaging to the party, as it would potentially reopen old primary wounds.
August 11th: Howard Wolfson engages in some revisionist history, claiming that if the John Edwards affair had been brought to light in November of 2007, then Hillary would have won the primary. It takes all of a couple of hours to debunk this claim.
August 11th: Sen. Kerrey drops his stink bomb.
So in the space of a week, we have five major stories, put out by either the Clinton’s directly, or high-level supporters, which have gotten into the mainstream media. All of which have or will cause headaches for the Obama campaign. And that does not even take into account the upcoming Atlantic story which, while certainly not pushed by the Clinton camp, will likely open up a new can of worms. So what is Clinton hoping to accomplish here? To be sure, we don’t know if this is some concerted effort by the Clinton’s and surrogates to undermine Obama. In fact, given the alleged disarray in that camp that has already been cited by Politico, I would doubt it. It’s more likely that they are just popping off at the mouth here, but I would also also venture a guess that they also know that Hillary is not going to be the VP, and are therefore venting. It certainly doesn’t tamp down speculation that they don’t want Obama to win, and have no problem undermining him. One can only wonder what we’ll be in for next.
The Bill Clinton drama has blown up in the Democrats’ faces. It has been the talk of the town, now getting extensive coverage on the nightly news telecasts. Obama, sensing that things were on the brink of getting out of hand, has moved to (partially) resolve the situation:
NBC News has learned that the Obama campaign, in an effort to quiet talk of the Obama-Clinton drama, has offered Bill Clinton a speaking role on Wednesday night at the Democratic convention — before the vice presidential running mate speaks.
Sources say that Clinton in fact will speak.
I doubt this will do much to tamp down the animus between the camps, or the media chatter about it. Frankly, it’s hardly shocking that media took this bait that Clinton served up on a silver platter. Clinton is not even trying to conceal his rage, and notwithstanding Obama’s admirable attempts to smooth things over, as the old saying goes: “It takes two.” It should be very interesting to see how Clinton responds to this gesture. Will he be more generous in his praise than his disastrous statements to ABC? He now has a prime speaking slot during the convention. Will he continue his passive aggressive behavior? If he does, we’ll know that he has no intention of helping Obama win this fall. As such, he should be relegated to the dust bins of history as a solid president who let his personal feelings and lack of self-control tarnish what could have been an excellent legacy.
Bill Clinton has been smarting about the recently concluded primary ever since it ended. While he claims to be over it (witness Terry McAuliffe’s rather exuberant “lovefest” declaration), there continues to be a rather pronounced lack of coming together between the two. This story won’t dispel that notion: