For the second time in less than a week, Bill Clinton has undercut President Obama's re-election campaign by pushing policies that directly contradict Obama's stated positions. Nobody doubts that the "Comeback Kid" is a legendary campaigner, and the Obama campaign surely appreciates the $3 million he helped raise this week, but first and foremost, Clinton is a better campaigner for himself than others.
Clinton's latest "gaffe" stems from an interview he gave on CNBC yesterday in which he advocated an extension of all the Bush-era tax cuts. "That's probably the best thing to do right now," he told Maria Bartiromo. "I don't have a problem with extending all of it now." Of course, that's the exact opposite of Obama's position that the tax cuts should expire for high-income Americans, which he mentions frequently in his campaign speeches and is the stated Democratic party strategy outlined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last month. Clinton's reps tried to take it back but it didn't come soon enough for House Speaker John Boehner's staff to run with it. "The fact that former President Clinton supports stopping all of the tax hikes scheduled for January 1 is very, very big news," his spokesman said, somewhat disingenuously.
He made one of the biggest strategic mistakes of her entire campaign: He insisted she seriously compete in South Carolina. Hillary’s staff wanted to spend its time and resources elsewhere, judging that South Carolina, with its large black electorate, was unwinnable.
But Bill felt that with his Southern roots and proven appeal to black voters, Hillary could beat Obama there. And Bill campaigned all-out. At Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., an angry, finger-wagging Bill had called Obama’s campaign a “fairy tale.” Jim Clyburn, a highly respected black congressman from South Carolina, felt insulted and publicly told Bill to “chill a little bit” and “tone it down.”
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.