Dems hope Clinton helps Obama with reminder of glory years
By Julian Pecquet - 09/04/12 12:05 PM ET
The Obama administration is counting on former President Clinton to remind a dispirited party that Democratic policies worked for them in the early 1990s, Democratic strategists said at a breakfast organized by The Hill Tuesday morning.
The campaign hopes the popular former president will help mitigate voters' anger over the poor state of the economy when he delivers the nominating speech on Wednesday night in Charlotte, N.C. Some 55 percent of voters say they aren't better off today than they were four years ago, according to a recent poll by The Hill, although many of them continue to blame Republican policies for the poor economy.
Clinton “reminds people of a time that under democratic leadership, they had money in their pockets,” said consultant Karen Finney, who served in the Clinton White House and is now a columnist for The Hill. “People thought of that as kind of the last good times.
“And what's interesting in focus groups and polling, unprompted when you ask people about the economy, I've heard people say 'I remember when Bill Clinton was in office, I had money in my pocket, we felt better about the economy.' So part of it is reminding Americans about what those kinds of policies brought to the country and meant for their everyday lives, versus what we then saw during the Bush years and those policies that, our argument is, this Republican nominee wants to take us back to.”
Obama's policies, added former Clinton deputy political director Linda Moore Forbes, are “very similar” to Clinton's.
“And the choices couldn't be more ... different from Mitt Romney,” she said. “So in some ways it's just a validation of Clinton policies that are continued on under President Obama.”
As an added advantage, the Obama campaign will also be able to trot out the former president to raise money. Clinton is scheduled to speak at “toast to the South” on Wednesday, which is open to donors to the Obama Victory Fund.
Mitt Romney's campaign, by contrast, kept former President George W. Bush miles away from their convention in Tampa, Fla., last week, Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) said during a separate panel hosted by The Hill.
“President George W. Bush was completely absent from the Tampa convention. There was no mention of him,” Cooper said. “Here we are celebrating Bill Clinton. Jimmy Carter's coming. We have a lot to be proud of.”