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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Campaign spotlight is not being shared

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bill Clinton - you remember him as the former president - these days is out campaigning for his wife. That much is expected. But what's funny is that Clinton is talking much more about himself than his candidate-bride. And that has some Iowans scratching their heads and wondering just what this powerful man is really doing.

Clinton - the former president, not the senator from New York - has always had a healthy ego. But even that large ego has come under scrutiny as of late. Take his hour-long campaign stump in Des Moines, Iowa, last week for example.

Clinton told an assembled crowd of 400 that his wife was by far the best candidate in the Democratic field. But then in the first 10 minutes of his speech, he used the word "I'" a total of 94 times and mentioned "Hillary" just seven times.

Before he mentioned Hillary, the former president first took time to defend his record as president, including rewriting history along the way. Seasoned reporters who had covered Clinton in office were quick to note that some of what the former president said was clearly not completely true. But they were there to cover Clinton the campaigner and thus they let him slide. But his ego did not go unnoticed.

Bill Clinton has the best of both worlds right now. He can defer all questions about his past and simply say he is not running for office but rather supporting his wife. And then decline to answer questions about his revisionist history. The audience is not present to re-examine the Clinton presidency so Billy boy gets a free pass.

But increasingly the press is noting that the campaign - when the former president is speaking - is more about Bill and a lot less about Hillary. I strongly suspect it will be that way until next November.

All you need do is pay attention to the first 10 minutes of his Iowa speech from last week. When the spotlight hits Bill Clinton he wants no one to share that attention. And obviously that includes his wife regardless of the office she seeks.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen