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Bill Gone Wild

Is there a method to the madness? Will we see more angry outburts from President Clinton? Ben Smith thinks so:


The logic is clear. Bill Clinton's approval rating stood at 79 percent among Democrats in one CBS poll this summer, and interviews with voters in the early states often find Democrats saying that her access to her husband's advice is a key reason for supporting Hillary Clinton.

"While some observes have warned the campaign not to allow the former president to 'steal the limelight,' [Bill] Clinton has the ability to validate the candidate and launch aggressive push backs on [Hillary's] opponents, including those of us in the media," said Donna Brazile, a former Clinton aide and CNN commentator who was recently one of his critics.

He's "a beloved figure in the Democratic party," she added.

What's still unclear is whether Bill Clinton's performances on his wife's behalf could wear thin over time, either with Democrats or in a general election contest, and possibly amplify complaints that her presidency would reprise the 1990s rather than look forward.

For now, there is one sure sign that his words are having their effect: Now Sen. Barack Obama, after absorbing the former president's assaults with a sort of bemused silence, has chosen to engage him.

"One of the things we're going to have to do is to directly confront Bill Clinton when he's not making statements that are factually accurate," Obama said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

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