Jewish World Review June 8, 2012/ 18 Sivan, 5772
Two Bills and a Bull
By Roger Simon
After giving the president a manly hug, the Good Bill said that Obama deserved a second term because "the alternative would be, in my opinion, calamitous for our country and the world."
Of all the reasons to vote for a guy, preventing a world calamity would be high on my list.
But the Good Bill has a flaw: He has little staying power. The Bad Bill always seems to bubble to the surface.
Bad Bill had appeared last week when he went on CNN and said Mitt Romney had a "sterling" record while running Bain Capital. Bad Bill added that Romney was "a man who has been governor and ... crosses the qualification threshold."
But that was last week. And those fundraisers in New York Monday were a sign that Good Bill had taken over permanently, right?
Nah. If you catch Clinton at just the right moment, you can actually see Good and Bad Bill fighting for control of the same body.
NBC's Brian Williams did this Tuesday in a sit-down interview with Clinton, less than 24 hours after Good Bill had pronounced his undying love for Obama's policies.
Williams began his "NBC Nightly News" interview with my two favorite words in the English language.
WILLIAMS: "Roger Simon, the political writer, has a piece on the Web today, the headline of which I noticed this morning is, 'Bill Clinton Out of Control in 2012.' People are wanting to find room between you and the president on issues like Romney, Bain Capital, your quote that they had — a sterling record in their line of work. Is there any difference between you and the tack the Obama campaign has taken?"
This was a straightforward and highly pertinent question — did I mention I liked how it began? — and it should have been an easy one for Good Bill to answer. The correct answer should have been any variation of, "There is no room between myself and the president."
But Bad Bill has a thing about clawing his way onto TV. Perhaps Clinton was angry he was being asked on national television about what some dopey columnist had to say, but his answer was not exactly what the Obama campaign wanted. The answer begins, by the way, with my other two favorite words in the English language.?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: "Mr. Simon may think I should be an employee of the campaign, but I'm not."
Whoa! What? Supporting Obama would make Clinton an "employee of the campaign"? You could see Bad Bill's wounded pride spilling all over the place.
Clinton did say Obama's "health care bill is a step in the right direction" and praised Obama's energy policy by saying that "on balance" it was good.
"Step in the right direction" and "on balance" are the kind of qualifiers the Obama campaign does not need right now, however. Heck, just a matter of hours before, Clinton was saying Obama was necessary for the survival of the planet! But that was Good Bill. And now Bad Bill was glowing and glowering under the TV lights.
"I've been aghast by all this flutter," Bad Bill said about the media attention over the differences between his views and Obama's.
But I covered President Clinton full time, every day, as a White House correspondent in 1998 — the year of Monica — and believe me when I say the record will show that few things make Bill Clinton "aghast" at anything.
Bad Bill went on. "I don't think I should have to criticize Romney personally to disagree with his politics," he said.
Why is this Bad Bill? Because nobody had asked Clinton to criticize Romney "personally." The Obama campaign was just hoping Clinton would stop going around the country saying that Romney had a "sterling" career at Bain at the same time Obama was running a TV ad attacking Romney's career at Bain.
But, wait, there was more. With Good and Bad Bill there is always more.
In a CNBC interview Tuesday with Maria Bartiromo, Clinton said that the Bush tax cuts, which are due to expire with Obama's blessing, should be temporarily extended until the nation is out of its "recession."
Oh, my. Bad Bill just can't resist headlines (or anything else). Even though Good Bill later put out a statement denying what Bad Bill had said, the media knew which was the true Bill.
The Chicago Tribune wrote: "Clinton's remark is not in line with the position held by the White House or Capitol Hill Democrats. ... Asked last week about a possible temporary extension, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the notion 'fairly stupid.'"
Politico's Seung Min Kum wrote, "Congressional Republicans are embracing their latest gift from Bill Clinton, blasting out one statement after another backing the former president's comment that the Bush-era tax rates should be temporarily extended."
Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News, "I think (Clinton) really is now a bull in a china shop, and there's a lot of crockery that's being destroyed."
Actually, the Obama people are not worried about the crockery that Bad Bill destroys. They are worried about the re-election campaign that the old bull is smashing up.
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