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Everywhere you look now, there's a Clinton talking

September 28, 2007 |  5:15 pm

It seems only fair, since President Bush recently offered an opinion about the strength of the leading candidate in the Democratic race to succeed him, that the candidate's husband, Bill Clinton, offer some thoughts on the Republican contest.

Al Hunt of Political Capital offers him just that chance tonight on Bloomberg Television. No talk about his new book. Clinton promptly presents a rambling critical assessment of Fred Thompson's campaign launch and how Thompson has "a great manner and that macho stuff you know they love, and was vague enough so that you could read whatever you wanted to in him and maybe he could sop up some of the moderate vote; that's what they had with President Reagan in 1980, that's what they had with President Bush in 2000 -- that brilliant, compassionate conservative slogan."

He sees Mitt Romney as strong in Iowa and New Hampshire but strangely weak in national polls. "I also think Giuliani so far has proved more durable than I thought he would,"  Clinton says. The wild card, he adds, is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another native of Hope, who, Clinton says, is the Republicans' best speaker.

The real question though, he opines, "is can Romney maintain his lead in Iowa, New Hampshire until New Year's Day.  If he does, but he doesn't move to second in the national polls, then the whole thing is going to be determined, in my opinion, by whether Iowa and New Hampshire voters stick with him from New Year's Day through voting."

On Sen. John McCain: "I've never seen a man more abused by his support staff than McCain was; they wasted too much money and it's scandalous because he deserves to be a major candidate in this race.  He's an admirable human being."

Hunt asks if there's a parallel between Clinton's youth and inexperience running in 1992 and Barack Obama's youth and inexperience in this election cycle. Clinton disagrees, citing his years of executive experience as a senior governor and head of numerous organizations.

"I think," Clinton replies, "in terms of the experience relevant to that moment, I had more experience than anybody else running that year, including President Bush on the experience relevant to the American people then, which was how are we going to solve our domestic problems and get the country moving again."

This is a familiar Clinton pattern. The interview will be broadcast at 8 p.m. Pacific time tonight and 13 other times over the weekend. And if that isn't enough Bill Clinton for you, he's also scheduled to talk about politics and his global bid to save the world on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday and ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," which isn't as good as his wife appearing on all five Sunday talk shows last weekend. But he's a presidential has-been and she's a wannabe.

--Andrew Malcolm

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