Bill Clinton ready to campaign for Hillary. Is this a good idea?

Ready or not, Bill Clinton is ready to step forward to help his wife win the Democratic nomination for president. On Saturday, the former president will deliver remarks at a downtown rally in Des Moines, IA in advance of the high profile Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Other events are planned for the near future, which raises an interesting question?

Will Bill Clinton's outsize personality overshadow his wife and by campaigning, do her more harm than good?

Reuters:

The word from voters is that Bill could be a help in the Democratic primary, but should Hillary Clinton make it to the general election her campaign might want him to take a step back.

More than 40 percent of independent voters in a poll by Reuters/Ipsos were unsure whether the former president would help or hurt Clinton as she campaigns for the November 2016 presidential election. Twenty-six percent thought he would hurt her chances

By contrast, among Democratic voters, about 55 percent thought Bill would help his wife's chances of winning the election.

Bill Clinton has so far kept a low profile in his wife's campaign, but on Saturday he will deliver remarks at a rally in downtown Des Moines, ahead of the Iowa state party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. The rally and traditionally high-profile dinner come barely more than three months ahead of the Iowa caucuses, the country's first nominating contest.

The poll results may resonate because going beyond the Democratic base to win over independent voters could help Hillary Clinton compete against whoever emerges as her Republican opponent in the general election.

The poll underscores the challenges of figuring out how to deploy Bill Clinton, who was president from 1993 to 2001, on the campaign trail.

"Having a former president on the campaign trail, as far as I'm concerned, is a good thing, but it needs to be done carefully," said Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist supporting Hillary Clinton and a former aide to Harry Reid when he was the Senate Majority leader.

"I assume that the Clinton campaign is going to make sure that he doesn't overshadow her as he begins to ramp up his campaigning," Manley added.

Steven Schale, a Democratic strategist based in Florida, said the campaign should be judicious using him as a surrogate. Schale had supported a possible presidential run by Vice President Joe Biden, who on Wednesday announced he would not seek the White House.

The former president, for example, has long been popular among minority voters, who have been growing in demographic importance in the United States.

"Independents are not monolithic," Schale said. "They run the ideological gamut."

Bill Clinton loves the big stage. Giving him a platform will no doubt increase the energy in Hillary's campaign, but as pointed out above, the candidate has to weigh the costs against the benefits. This is why Bill's appearances will be rare, but tied to significant local events. He will no doubt draw much bigger crowds than his wife, which no one will fail to take note. 

Don't look for Bill Clinton to make comments about voters getting "two for one" when it comes to running the White House as he did in 1992. Everybody knows who would be the dominant partner in that arrangement and it wouldn't be President Hillary Clinton. 

In the end, that's Bill Clinton's biggest problem for Hillary: the notion that if he's anywhere near the White House, he will want his hands on the levers of power. Not able to be a master in her own house will likely be a Republican attack vector if Hillary were to win the Democratic nomination - a talking point that may be the most effective of all.

Ready or not, Bill Clinton is ready to step forward to help his wife win the Democratic nomination for president. On Saturday, the former president will deliver remarks at a downtown rally in Des Moines, IA in advance of the high profile Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Other events are planned for the near future, which raises an interesting question?

Will Bill Clinton's outsize personality overshadow his wife and by campaigning, do her more harm than good?

Reuters:

The word from voters is that Bill could be a help in the Democratic primary, but should Hillary Clinton make it to the general election her campaign might want him to take a step back.

More than 40 percent of independent voters in a poll by Reuters/Ipsos were unsure whether the former president would help or hurt Clinton as she campaigns for the November 2016 presidential election. Twenty-six percent thought he would hurt her chances

By contrast, among Democratic voters, about 55 percent thought Bill would help his wife's chances of winning the election.

Bill Clinton has so far kept a low profile in his wife's campaign, but on Saturday he will deliver remarks at a rally in downtown Des Moines, ahead of the Iowa state party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. The rally and traditionally high-profile dinner come barely more than three months ahead of the Iowa caucuses, the country's first nominating contest.

The poll results may resonate because going beyond the Democratic base to win over independent voters could help Hillary Clinton compete against whoever emerges as her Republican opponent in the general election.

The poll underscores the challenges of figuring out how to deploy Bill Clinton, who was president from 1993 to 2001, on the campaign trail.

"Having a former president on the campaign trail, as far as I'm concerned, is a good thing, but it needs to be done carefully," said Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist supporting Hillary Clinton and a former aide to Harry Reid when he was the Senate Majority leader.

"I assume that the Clinton campaign is going to make sure that he doesn't overshadow her as he begins to ramp up his campaigning," Manley added.

Steven Schale, a Democratic strategist based in Florida, said the campaign should be judicious using him as a surrogate. Schale had supported a possible presidential run by Vice President Joe Biden, who on Wednesday announced he would not seek the White House.

The former president, for example, has long been popular among minority voters, who have been growing in demographic importance in the United States.

"Independents are not monolithic," Schale said. "They run the ideological gamut."

Bill Clinton loves the big stage. Giving him a platform will no doubt increase the energy in Hillary's campaign, but as pointed out above, the candidate has to weigh the costs against the benefits. This is why Bill's appearances will be rare, but tied to significant local events. He will no doubt draw much bigger crowds than his wife, which no one will fail to take note. 

Don't look for Bill Clinton to make comments about voters getting "two for one" when it comes to running the White House as he did in 1992. Everybody knows who would be the dominant partner in that arrangement and it wouldn't be President Hillary Clinton. 

In the end, that's Bill Clinton's biggest problem for Hillary: the notion that if he's anywhere near the White House, he will want his hands on the levers of power. Not able to be a master in her own house will likely be a Republican attack vector if Hillary were to win the Democratic nomination - a talking point that may be the most effective of all.