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Old Bill, new Bill and Donna Brazile

January 8, 2008 |  5:45 pm

Manchester, N.H. --Sometimes, the words just speak for themselves.

This was Bill Clinton talking in December at a Nashua, N.H., VFW hall about his regard for the slate of Democratic contenders before the polls -- and the votes -- for his wife began shrinking like a New Hampshire snowbank in spring.

"I like this election because I don't have to be  against anybody. ... Tell the truth. How many times have you ever gone to the polling place and looked at the list of candidates, taken a deep breath and said 'Well, I'll have to go with B, Candidate B, because I would just die if A got elected.' We've all been there, haven't we?

This was Clinton talking today in New Hampshire about his current regard for a certain member of the slate of Democratic contenders.

And this was Donna Brazile, longtime Democratic strategist, talking about Clinton's public comments about Obama on CNN's "Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer, and Bill Bennett, a former Reagan cabinet member and current conservative pundit:

"I can understand his frustration at this moment. But, look, he shouldn't take out all his pain on Barack Obama. It's time that they regroup, figure out what Hillary needs to do to get her campaign back on track. It sounds like sour grapes coming from the former commander in chief, someone that many Democrats hold in high esteem. For him to go after Obama, using fairy tale, calling him a kid, as he did last week, it's an insult. And I tell you, as an African American, I find his words and his tone to be very depressing.

[cut]

"If Bill Bennett had said some of the things Bill Clinton is saying about Barack Obama, I would have called Bill Bennett out of his name and said that Bill Bennett should shut his mouth, because he is -- is -- is not speaking in the right tone. I think his tone. I think calling Barack Obama a kid. He is a United States senator. He's experienced. The people of Illinois elected him. And, regardless of what kind of items are on his resume, this is a man who has worked all his life. He's proven -- he's been a college professor.

"I don't have to give Barack Obama a resume. I'm not for anyone at this point. But I think, for Bill Clinton to go out of his way to become a distraction to Hillary Clinton and to launch the kind of attacks on Obama, it's just out of character for Bill Clinton. I think it's time that he helps Hillary talk about her message and not go down this road.

In the coming days, watch for the analysis pieces -- Bill Clinton: Does he help, or does he hurt?

-- Scott Martelle

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