This Can’t Be Good
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:
The former president in many ways ended the Democratic primary campaign more isolated than his wife, with his own friends and allies unhappy with his flashes of anger and ill-chosen words and blaming him in part for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s defeat. With a negligible relationship with Sen. Barack Obama — he has spoken to him just once since the primaries — Clinton has been shut out of the Obama campaign almost entirely and does not know even basic things, such as the role he will play at the Democratic convention.
In a session that lasted more than 45 minutes, Clinton described his role in the 2008 campaign as “a privilege, an honor,” and said, “I loved it,” but he declined to discuss any of his own possible mistakes, describing them as a distraction. “Next year, you and I and everybody else will be freer and have more space to say what we believe to be the truth” about the primaries, he said.
Clinton volunteered very little praise of Obama, beyond describing him as “smart” and “a good politician” when asked about him toward the end of the interview. He did, however, muse at length about the role that race could play in the general election — the issue that some of his former black allies angrily accused him of introducing in the Democratic primaries — as a factor, if not a decisive one.
This is sure to ignite another round of media chatter about the relationship between President Clinton and Obama, as well as more pontification about whether Obama has to put Hillary on the ticket in the name of unity.
It should be noted that some of the conclusions raised in the piece–most notably Clinton being “shut out”–aren’t actually supported by anything in the article. Clinton himself doesn’t actually say he’s been “shut out” (and that presumes he wants some major role in the campaign), and there aren’t any other quotes to explain how it is the case. The concerning quote for me is about President Clinton saying he will be “freer” to discuss things after the election. That tells me he is still very upset about the primary, and once the election is over, he won’t be shy about telling everyone how he feels. Including, his real feelings on Obama