The Republican presidential candidate joined the former president in New York to extol the power of free trade and private investment to defang radicalism abroad.
NEW YORK -- It was definitely one of the stranger moments in Campaign 2012. Bill Clinton, the man who more than any other helped turn the presidential contest away from Mitt Romney, welcomed him on the stage Tuesday morning at the Sheraton New York Hotel for his annual Clinton Global Initiative conference, where Romney was the featured morning speaker.
Was it going to be a set-up? And if so, for whom? Was Romney going to make a dig at President Obama at the conference hosted by the Big Dog himself? Or would Clinton deftly use the appearance to create a contrast between the former governor and the president, as well as media anticipation for his own moment on the stage with Romney? In many ways, it seemed a natural audience for Romney -- the wealthy former corporate leader, come to talk to a community of his own -- and the appearance drew so many members of the New York and national press the ballroom reached capacity and spilled out into overflow press rooms.
In the end, it turned out not to be that awkward. The wizened, lean, former president, a few inches shorter than Romney, warmly welcomed the robust former Massachusetts governor, barely a year his junior, thanking him for his support for the nonprofit City Year program, a public-private partnership that began in Boston and which the Clinton Administration used in the early 1990s as a model for the national AmeriCorps youth service program.