Selling Clinton in Iowa
Former president steps into spotlight in wife’s campaign.
There’s at least a bit of irony in the fact that Iowa is now looking like a better state for Hillary Clinton than New Hampshire.
The Iowa caucuses have never been a field of dreams for Clinton or her husband, Bill, arguably America’s most powerful Democratic couple. In their previous campaigns, the Clintons have skipped the state, been encouraged to skip the state and most recently, in 2008, recorded a third-place finish.
But there was Bill Clinton on Thursday afternoon in Iowa’s second-largest city, Cedar Rapids, standing in front of the state’s flag and with a standingroom-only crowd of hundreds to sell his spouse and a second Clinton presidency.
“I do not believe in my lifetime we have had a president that was more prepared, not only by experience, but by temperament, to step in to this incredible mix of promise and peril,” he said of his wife. “I don’t think it’s close.”
The former president also sought to project the economic growth enjoyed by the nation during his tenure in the White House onto the 2016 Clinton campaign.
“This election, in my opinion, is about how to restore broadbased
RESPONSE TO NORTH KOREA’S NUCLEAR TEST
prosperity,” he said. “We’ve only had it once in 50 years, in the 1990s, when I had the honor to serve.”
Clinton made his public campaign trail debut on his wife’s behalf Monday in New Hampshire, after spending the first eight months of her candidacy behind the scenes, advising and fundraising out of sight of voters and the media.
That New Hampshire was Bill Clinton’s first stop signals the greater urgency there than in Iowa.
The New Hampshire and Iowa appearances are to be followed by many more nationwide by the former president in the weeks and months ahead as the Clintons seek to dampen the grassroots fire Bernie Sanders has ignited.
While he at times struggled with message discipline during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, the former president has so far demonstrated a tighter grip on what he says.
That was on display when reporters asked him about Donald Trump’s comments regarding his past sexual transgressions as he was walking out of an indoor market in Cedar Rapids, where he’d spent roughly an hour making small talk and posing for photos.
Clinton said he didn’t want to respond or engage in the Republican presidential nomination race. If Trump is the Republican nominee, “We’ll have plenty of time to talk about it, if Hillary wins,” he said.