What Bill Clinton Can Do for Barack Obama
There was a time when Bill Clinton would have scoffed at the notion of helping Barack Obama win an election.
The two men effectively became enemies four years ago, when the political differences between then-opponents Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama grew personal. And no one appeared to take every slight more personally than Mr. Clinton, whose frustration that a man he saw as a political lightweight was successfully challenging his wife in the Democratic primary hardened into barely-disguised animosity.
The relationship has come a long way since then. That’s due in part to Mr. Obama’s decision to reach out to the former president (the two men bonded over golf last September), partly because he tapped Mrs. Clinton to be Secretary of State, partly because the two men are now both members of a very exclusive club, and partly because it is to the benefit of both to move on from their past differences. They may not be particularly close personally - the introverted Mr. Obama was never likely to develop a strong rapport with the glad-handing extrovert who preceded him - but they’ve managed to develop a solid bond since the relationship thawed in 2010. Solid enough, in fact, that Mr. Clinton now seems nearly as enthusiastic about Mr. Obama winning reelection as the president himself.
“2008 was obviously directly impacted by the primary campaign, and there was some sorting out that had to happen after that campaign, but I think the relationship has really blossomed since then,” said Mike McCurry, who was Mr. Clinton’s press secretary for four years. “They talk to each other, I think, pretty regularly - there’s a relationship that’s grown and matured in the last two years.”