In a development that has exposed a two-year-old rift within the Democratic Party, Bill Clinton this week endorsed former Colorado state House speaker Andrew Romanoff's candidacy for Senate. President Obama has thrown his support to Romanoff's opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who was appointed after Obama named former senator Ken Salazar as Interior secretary. Is this a significant split, or just a harmless difference of opinion ahead of the state's Aug. 10 primary? (Watch a local report about Clinton's endorsement)
This is no big deal: The Romanoff endorsement is grabbing headlines, says Alex Altman at Time, but with Bennet far ahead in the polls, "its impact on the race itself may be largely symbolic." Clinton won't even be fundraising or stumping for Romanoff. That's probably why the former president "felt comfortable" opposing Obama on this one.
"Colorado's Senate race: How big is the Bill factor?"
This is a sign that Hillary might run in 2012: "Bill Clinton is the master of political maneuvering and gamesmanship," says the blog Scared Monkeys. Obama's poll are numbers falling and the BP oil spill is an ongoing crisis. If the Democrats lose big in November and Clinton's endorsement helps Romanoff, Hillary will be more likely to "jump ship" and challenge Obama for the 2012 Democratic nomination.
"Trouble in Obamaland..."
Regardless of the spin, this raises eyebrows: It's hard to write off Clinton's endorsement as insignificant, says Sean J. Miller in The Hill. It's rare for a party leader like Bill Clinton to oppose an incumbent. Moreover, this is an embarrassment for the administration, as it shines a spotlight on Romanoff after the White House tried to discourage him from running by dangling a job offer.
"Clinton endorses Sen. Bennet's opponent"
Clinton's paying his political bills: This is part of the "Bill Clinton loyalty tour," says Felicia Sonmez in The Washington Post. Romanoff, like other candidates the former president is helping, supported Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency, and this is his reward. The endorsement may not put Romanoff over the top, but it will raise his profile.
"Bill Clinton backing Romanoff in Colorado Senate race"