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Obama Needs the Support of Both Bill Clintons

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Ticker: Age Difference

By Margaret Carlson

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had make-up sex last night. At a fundraiser on Broadway, the former president -- playing the Good Clinton -- said that a Mitt Romney presidency would be "calamitous" for the country.

Finally, on-message. Problem is the Good Clinton never quite erases the Bad Clinton (just think back to the dark days of Monica). The Bad gets wall-to-wall coverage; the Good, not so much. Clinton's performance last night followed one from last week in which he gave a shout-out to Romney, praising him as a man who could be president and "has been governor and had a sterling business career."

"Sterling" is not the adjective the Obama campaign has been using in reference to Romney's tenure at Bain. In fact the campaign has been arguing that Romney's job-destroying habits at Bain disqualified Romney from the presidency, and here was Clinton saying they qualified him. Ouch.

Like other Democrats who've embraced Bain, Clinton has had a long love affair with Wall Street. When he raised taxes on the 1 percent in 1993, launching a period of sustained prosperity, he apologized for it. They remember that, and compare it unfavorably with Obama calling them fat cats for taking taxpayer money on the one hand and granting themselves bonuses with the other. The apology has continued to pay off for Clinton, who has raised massive amounts from this group for his Clinton Global Initiative.

Clinton may never reconcile himself to Obama, his wife's one-time nemesis. He took defeat harder than she did. Maybe we should cut the former president some slack. June is the cruelest month for him. He had to watch his wife concede the nomination to Obama in June 2008 -- and after all his hard work!

Life is always up and down with Bill Clinton. When he was president, some days he was the mesmerizing politician who could get whatever he wanted; other days he was the irresponsible playboy who could throw it all away. He may now be a silver-haired philanthropist and statesman, but he still loves a roller coaster. Obama should fasten his seat belt.

(Margaret Carlson is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow her on Twitter.)

 

-0- Jun/05/2012 20:04 GMT

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