by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
He will inject an energy into her sometimes lackluster campaign, but bringing Bill back comes with a price.
Bill Clinton made a famous 1992 campaign promise that if people voted for him, it would be a package deal that included Hillary: “Buy one, get one free.” Now Hillary is in danger of reminding voters that in voting for her, they also get Bill Clinton and what he brings with him — from the dubious dealings of the Clinton Foundation to his “woman problem” and his renowned talent for evasion (“It all depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”). Democratic primary voters aren’t likely to care much, but polls show many independent voters in a general election would be leery of the baggage the couple drags with them. In a new Quinnipiac national poll, only 23 percent of independent voters view Hillary Clinton as “honest and trustworthy.”
Donna Brazile, a CNN commentator who was Al Gore’s 2000 campaign manager, has bluntly said that “one of the most important things [Bill Clinton] can do in this election cycle is basically stay out of the way. Let Hillary Clinton make the case for herself.”
But Hillary is prone to tactical stumbles. Last month she accused Donald Trump of “sexism,” prompting the real-estate mogul to fire back. Saying that Hillary’s attack left him “no choice” but to bring up Bill’s colorful past with women, he went on the attack — over and over again. He not only brought up Bill’s 1997 affair with Monica Lewinsky, a 22-year-old White House intern, but he referenced three women who had accused Clinton of sexual harassment or worse. “I hope Bill Clinton starts talking about women’s issues so that voters can see what a hypocrite he is and how Hillary abused those women!,” he tweeted Saturday.