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Bill Clinton to do lunch with Senate Democrats, look at 2010 elections without healthcare reform

President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton at Ted Kennedy's funeral Aug. 29, 2009

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid put out the word last night -- this is a must-attend event.

Former President Clinton, whose presidency and arguably his marriage were clouded by his failure in 1994 to enact healthcare reform, is doing lunch today with Senate Democrats.

His expected topic: what the 2010 elections might look like for Democrats if the Senate fails again to pass healthcare reform.

The weekly lunch is of course closed to reporters, but already speculation is rife that Clinton -- on a mission for the Obama White House -- will focus his attention on the moderates whose votes could prove pivotal.

And he has personal ties to most of them. Clinton knew Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson when they both were governors. There's the Arkansas connection to the state's two Democratic senators -- Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor. And he and Connecticut independent Joe Lieberman were once close personally. Of course that was before Clinton was impeached for lying about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which Lieberman decried as immoral.

Here's a younger Clinton, addressing Congress on healthcare in 1993.

Then as now, as MSNBC's First Read noted, "Clinton's at his best when he's giving others political advice, and he excels at framing an argument better than just about anyone on the political stage today."

Aside from politics, no word yet on what they are having for lunch.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: President Obama and former President Clinton at the Boston funeral for Sen. Ted Kennedy. Credit: Getty Images

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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