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Bill rides to the rescue?

June 21, 2007 |  5:18 pm

We haven't seen much of Bill Clinton around his wife's campaign so far. He's quietly been doing closed fundraisers with big-hitters, a bio video for HillaryClinton.com and issued email appeals for funds. They've only appeared together at a civil rights rally in Selma. So she could be seen as her own person.

Bill_clinton But all that's changing, as Top of the Ticket wrote the other day. Is it the polls? The boos over her war stance at the leftie rally in Washington this week?

An Associated Press story today confirms the former president is now expanding his involvement even more, planning three days with her in Iowa early next month, where her campaign has had problems, and traveling together to appear jointly in New Hampshire. "The president's plan all along was to gradually escalate his involvement," a spokesman claims.

Clinton has cut back on his lucrative speechmaking, which earned him millions last year, and finished a book on civic activism to clear the decks for more time on the campaign trail. He is a huge draw among Democrats.

But, as we've already noted, there are very real dangers to this strategy, the wife looking like she needs help from her husband. And Bill Clinton's public presence tends to overshadow anyone else in the vicinity, including the actual candidate. The senator's campaign, which could conceivably face early losses in both Iowa and South Carolina, has clearly decided the pluses of the president's higher profile outweigh the negatives, at least during the primary season.

Later in a general election campaign, the obvious presence of the former president could create the appearance of a mere drive for a third Clinton term. And that would be something else.

--Andrew Malcolm

Photo: Ex-President Bill Clinton; Credit: Jamison C. Bazinet/AP

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