Former President Bill Clinton will be taking the stump on behalf of his wife in several upcoming campaign appearances. Similar to the 2008 cycle, Bill Clinton has been used in a limited role though he will appear more frequently as the first primary dates approach in February.
Report from the Associated Press:
Bill Clinton is back on the presidential campaign trail — and so is his baggage.
For months, the former president has largely stayed out of the 2016 race, mentioned mostly in passing by Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. On Monday, he heads out for his first solo campaign events, with stops planned in New Hampshire — a key primary state that gave much-needed momentum to his struggling 1992 presidential bid.
He’ll do so after days of attacks over his impeachment and decades-old sex scandals from Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
So far, Bill Clinton has remained mum about Trump’s slams — following the lead of his wife’s campaign, which believes their candidate comes across as more presidential by rising above what they see as the Republican’s crass political tactics.
But the attacks seem to have struck a nerve.
At a campaign event in New Hampshire on Sunday, Katherine Prudhomme O’Brien heckled Clinton about her husband’s sexual history, accusing her of enabling him to mistreat women.
“You are very rude and I’m not going to ever call on you,” Clinton snapped at O’Brien, after repeated shouted interruptions by the New Hampshire state senator.
The former president, too, has been known to become heated when he feels his wife is under attack, as he did during the 2008 primary with remarks about then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama that angered black voters in South Carolina.
“I love my husband and, you know, he does get upset when I am attacked,” said Clinton, in an interview with NBC’s “Meet The Press” last year. “I totally get that.”
Just days after Clinton called her husband her “secret weapon” at a campaign event last month, Trump began aiming his fire at Bill Clinton, accusing the former president of mistreating women and his wife of enabling the abuse.
Bill Clinton is both an asset and a burden to Hillary’s campaign. He’s very good on the campaign trail, very good at relating to people and coming across as much more authentic in those situations than his wife does. On the other hand, as Donald Trump has illuminated in recent days, he brings with him baggage of the 1990s including his impeachment and extra-marital affairs.
In 2008, Bill Clinton came out as the “attack dog” against Barack Obama. It remains to be seen whether he will fill a similar role in 2016 given that he has not commented so far on any of Trump’s statements.