(Video) Bill Clinton to the Rescue? Bill Clinton Does Political Ad for Barack Obama
Polls show that former President Bill Clinton is now one of the most popular political figures in the country. In recent weeks the Romney campaign has suggested that President Barack Obama is the kind of left wing Democrat the more centrist Bill Clinton supplanted to win the White House. Suddenly Bill Clinton has become the GOP’s best bud. Only Bill Clinton doesn’t see it that way. Not only will he deliver a major speech at the Democratic Convention (a speech will get widespread attention) but he has now made the a major political ad for Obama:
Salon’s Kornacki gives this must-read take on the ad. Here’s a bit of it:
* Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan aren’t mentioned by name: This could be a nod to Clinton’s status as a former president. To attack the GOP candidates by name might have given the spot the feel of a more conventional negative ad, something that it might be undignified for Clinton to appear in. At the same time, criticizing “the Republican plan” might be a way of tapping into voters’ negative feelings toward the GOP brand. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll yesterday gave the Republican Party a 36-45 percent favorable/unfavorable score.
* The Bush card is played. Even if his name isn’t used either. But “that’s what got us into trouble in the first place” is a clear reference to the economic meltdown that played out on George W. Bush’s watch, and there’s good reason for the Obama campaign to look for ways to remind voters about it: Voters continue to blame Bush more than Obama for the current state of the economy, and it appears this has insulated Obama from political damage he otherwise would have incurred with joblessness so persistently high.
* This isn’t 1984. The most famous ad for a president seeking reelection was Ronald Reagan’s “morning in America” spot from 28 years ago, which mixed syrupy music and patriotic themes with reminders that unemployment, inflation and interest rates were all falling. It painted a picture of Reagan’s first term as a triumph, one that had made America “prouder and stronger and better.” It was an easy sell; most voters really were feeling better about the country than they had been when Reagan was first elected, and a reelection landslide was the result.
Obama is running in almost the exact opposite atmosphere….
* It’s also not 2008: By all accounts, Obama and Clinton aren’t close personally, but there’s also far less tension between them than there was four years ago.
And his most important point — I agree with totally:
* If the ad works, Republicans can blame themselves: One of the reasons Obama’s team is eager to enlist Clinton is that he’s never been more popular. Polls now show his personal favorable score nearing 70 percent, making him one of the country’s best-liked political leaders. The same goes for his wife. This can be directly tied to the GOP’s decision to end its decade-and-a-half war with the Clintons in 2008 and to begin portraying them as “good” Democrats. Thus, Republicans have spent the last four years expressing nostalgia for Clinton’s presidency and claiming that his legacy has been betrayed by Obama. They may have scored some cheap points by doing this, but it’s also greatly enhanced Bill’s (and Hillary’s) stature – which the Obama team is now using to its advantage.
FOOTNOTE: I’m now in Trinidad, CO about to check out of my motel. The airwaves here in Colorado are crammed with political ads. Some of the Romney ads are now infamous ones about Obama and welfare — the ads that many analysts say are patently false, have Romney’s name on it, and are run over and over. You can tell this is a battleground state. My reaction as an independent voter watching the ads — not as a blogger and political science junkie — is to turn off TV and read, go to cable, or go online. I suspect there will be a saturation point for many voters on these self serving ads. If you see an Obama or Romney ad you know who they’re going to attack and can see an attack line coming a mile away.