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Bill Clinton's legacy aids his wife in South Dakota

May 14, 2008 | 11:47 am

The Rapid City Journal in South Dakota today carries a reminder of the advantages that Bill Clinton -- for all the debate over whether he has lost his political touch at times -- still brings with him as the chief surrogate for his wife's White House campaign.

The ex-president campaigns this afternoon in South Dakota (site of one of the final two primaries on June 3), appearing at Pine Ridge High School. He's been there before -- in July 1999, while he was still in office. And, the Journal reports:

"Many members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who greeted Clinton nine years ago will be in the crowd today.

"They will include Leatrice “Chick” Big Crow, the director of a boys and girls club dedicated to the memory of her daughter, SuAnne, a star athlete and honor student who died in an automobile accident in 1992.

"The new SuAnne Big Crow Boys and Girls Club at Pine Ridge was built because of Clinton’s 1999 visit and the subsequent federal grants that he directed to the project. The center opened in June of 2001.

Not surprisingly, Big Crow ...

... is a Hillary Clinton supporter.

The entire Journal piece can be read here.

The early line among pundits -- based more on instincts than firm polling data -- gives Barack Obama the edge in South Dakota. But along with the story on her husband's visit, Clinton won notice in today's Rapid City newspaper for mentioning a local resident in her Tuesday night speech celebrating her landslide in West Virginia's primary.

She called attention to Florence Steen, 88, who voted for her by absentee ballot shortly before she died Saturday of congestive heart failure.

Said the candidate: "Florence was born before women had the right to vote, and she was determined to exercise that right, to cast a ballot for her candidate who just happened to be a woman running for president. Florence passed on a few days ago, but I am eternally grateful to her and her family for making this such an important and incredible milestone in her life that means so much to me."

-- Don Frederick