President Obama has gone into commander-in-chief mode to deal with Hurricane Sandy, taking him off the stump just when he was supposed to make his closing pitch ahead of next week's election. Now, Obama is counting on surrogates to pick up the slack, led by Joe Biden and Bill Clinton. The former president seems up to the task, slamming Mitt Romney on Monday, particularly the GOP nominee's claim that Chrysler is moving Jeep factory jobs from Ohio to China. That's "the biggest load of bull in the world," Clinton said, energizing crowds with some of the lines he used in his spirited defense of Obama's record during the Democratic convention. Is Obama actually better off staying out of the fray and looking presidential while Clinton makes a final spirited plea on his behalf?
Clinton could give Obama an advantage: Nobody is better at "drumming up excitement among party faithful and/or the media" than Bill Clinton, says Josh Voorhees at Slate. Romney will no doubt trot out his own allies to stand in as long as he "chooses to remain on the shelf because of Sandy," but Mitt lacks "a bold-faced name" capable of matching Clinton's star power. If "the hurricane turns the election's home stretch into a battle of surrogates," Team Obama will be very lucky to have Clinton on board.
"Bill Clinton and the (storm-induced) empty campaign trail"
But will Clinton fire up young voters? "Clinton has been a campaign star since his lengthy, spirited convention speech," says Peter Z. Scheer at TruthDig, "which made a better argument for the president’s re-election than Obama himself was able to manage." Still, a 66-year-old retired leader is "an odd pitchman" to the young voters Obama desperately needs. They'll remember Clinton's presidency, before 9/11 and the Great Recession, "through the eyes of a 6-year-old."
"Bill Clinton to the rescue"
And Clinton could hurt Obama — intentionally: Clinton and Obama are hardly BFF, says Ken Blackwell at Townhall. Remember the bitter 2008 primary battle? You have to wonder, "Why would Bill Clinton want Barack Obama to be re-elected?" Clinton has made some good speeches, but he also convinced Obama to attack Romney as a hardline conservative instead of a flip-flopper, a strategy that crumbled when Romney moved to the middle. Obama must be wondering if his frenemy will help him, or subtly undermine him.
"Et tu, Bubba?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- What political elites don't understand about Scotland's push for independence
- Why gay people of color are still losing
- The U.S. dollar has been strengthening for 3 straight years! (That's not good news.)
- Can we lead spiritually fulfilling lives without religion?
- Is 'feminism' just another word for 'liberalism'?
Subscribe to the Week