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Why Barack Needs Hillary

Many Democrats still see the pair as the ultimate dynamic duo — and the best shot at victory in November.

by
Taylor Marsh

Bio

July 3, 2008 - 11:10 am
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Does Obama need Clinton? Or do they actually now need each other? Or maybe it’s the Democrats who need them both.

After all, not long after the journalistic stories started popping on President Clinton’s “kiss his ass” line, you had Hillary’s former campaign director Terry McAuliffe on CNN saying Bill and Barack would talk within “24 hours.” The next thing you knew, the Democratic nominee reached out in a call to WJC, then released a statement to calm the clattering.

“Senator Obama had a terrific conversation with President Clinton and is honored to have his support in this campaign. He has always believed that Bill Clinton is one of this nation’s great leaders and most brilliant minds, and looks forward to seeing him on the campaign trail and receiving his counsel in the months to come,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

Can’t have the only two-term Democratic president in modern history seen to be dissing the current nominee, especially since the former’s wife not only finished in a virtual tie for the nomination battle, but now is the strongest female political vote getter in Democratic Party history, having far greater importance today than when she began running in 2007. Hillary Clinton’s star has not stopped rising after losing the nomination, especially in the demographics battle Obama is looking at in order to reach 270 electoral votes. Obama’s “new” map to win in November is still far from certain. It’s just one reason some are saying Obama may need Hillary to seal the deal. He certainly cannot do it without her.

The question remains, in what way would the Obama — Hillary team work best? Some clearly believe it’s in the vice presidential slot, part of what Gail Sheehy reports in her Vanity Fair piece for August. As an aside, I bumped into Ms. Sheehy at Clinton’s big generational women’s event in Washington, D.C, when she was talking to people about the pending outcome of the race. Her piece touches on all sorts of elements, including the inevitable swirling veep rumors:

Later that month Bill Clinton let it be known, through anonymous friends who talked to Time magazine and The New York Times, that “if she’s not going to be the nominee, then [Bill] wants her in the second spot.” ABC News’s chief Washington correspondent, George Stephanopoulos, reported that Bill believed his wife had “earned the offer of vice president.”

Anonymous friends of Bill Clinton? Having covered Clinton for the last eighteen months, I learned long ago to not buy into any blind, anonymous, once removed, an adviser said, a close Clinton confidant told me, on condition on anonymity quotes that reveal anything at all revelatory, let alone something as important as “Bill believed his wife had ‘earned the offer of vice president.’” No matter the respect of the reporter writer the tale, most of this stuff turns out to be untrue.

That said, there is a huge amount of truth in the substance of that particular Bill quote, anonymous or not, because many Clinton supporters agree with it, so how could WJC not? After winning 17 million votes, finishing stronger than the nominee, with a voting base he doesn’t have, why wouldn’t Senator Obama seriously consider Hillary Clinton as his top choice as running mate?

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