Desperation time for Hillary: Bill Clinton hits the campaign trail

So far during her campaign, Hillary Clinton has kept her husband Bill at arm's length.  This despite the former president's wild popularity with Democrats and his skills as a campaigner.

But Hillary wanted voters to accept her for who she is, not whom she is married to.

This is about to change, as a desperate Hillary Clinton, her poll numbers tanking, will unleash Bill Clinton on the campaign trail in the coming weeks.

Washington Times:

They’d kept him off the trail for months, but Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign is finally deploying former President Bill Clinton, accepting the political risks he brings as worthy tradeoff if he can shore up support for his wife among longtime Democrats and build enthusiasm among Hispanic and black voters.

The man who just months ago said he’d be little more than a backstage adviser is now out doing interviews defending Mrs. Clinton and dabbling in critiques of the GOP presidential field.

And his October schedule is shaping up to be his most high-profile on the campaign trail so far. He headlined a West Virginia Democratic Party Jefferson Jackson Dinner Friday, and is traveling out to Michigan to fundraise on October 7. He’s already notched fundraising appearances in Kansas City and Atlanta.

“[Hillary‘s] campaign has not been the easy road people thought it was going to be,” said Robert Shrum, the Democratic consultant who worked on the failed campaigns of John Kerry and Al Gore. “And Bill can be a very effective surrogate. You’d be crazy not to use him.”

Using him, however, involves risks, as Mrs. Clinton found out during her failed 2008 bid, when the former president was front and center, walking parade routes with her in Iowa and New Hampshire, introducing her stump speeches and playing attack dog with the media and the other candidates in the race, most notably then-Sen. Barack Obama.

The plan backfired as Mrs. Clinton was sometimes upstaged at her own events by her charismatic husband.

The former president had several gaffes, such as when Mr. Clinton seemed to minimize Mr. Obama’s victory in the South Carolina primary or called Mr. Obama’s antiwar position “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen” — to which African-Americans took offense, saying he was likening Mr. Obama’s candidacy to a fantasy.

This has been the story of Bill Clinton's political career; with the good, you have to accept the bad.  Clinton's political skills are undeniable.  He singlehandedly rescued the Obama campaign in 2012 with what is considered one of the best conventions speeches in history.  It brought huge swaths of the Democratic coalition home and energized minority voters.

But a primary campaign is very different.  Bill Clinton will have to dial it back a notch or two lest he upstage his wife, whose speaking style has been charitably called "pedestrian."  And let's not forget several gaffes committed by Bill Clinton in 2008 that cost Hillary dearly with African-American voters.

But it is likely that if she appears with her husband, those half-filled campaign events will be bursting to overflowing.  And is there a modern candidate who can shake the money tree like Bill? 

The former president has the potential to be a double-plus addition to the campaign.  Or he may blow it up.  That's the risk Hillary is taking with deploying him as a campaign surrogate.

So far during her campaign, Hillary Clinton has kept her husband Bill at arm's length.  This despite the former president's wild popularity with Democrats and his skills as a campaigner.

But Hillary wanted voters to accept her for who she is, not whom she is married to.

This is about to change, as a desperate Hillary Clinton, her poll numbers tanking, will unleash Bill Clinton on the campaign trail in the coming weeks.

Washington Times:

They’d kept him off the trail for months, but Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign is finally deploying former President Bill Clinton, accepting the political risks he brings as worthy tradeoff if he can shore up support for his wife among longtime Democrats and build enthusiasm among Hispanic and black voters.

The man who just months ago said he’d be little more than a backstage adviser is now out doing interviews defending Mrs. Clinton and dabbling in critiques of the GOP presidential field.

And his October schedule is shaping up to be his most high-profile on the campaign trail so far. He headlined a West Virginia Democratic Party Jefferson Jackson Dinner Friday, and is traveling out to Michigan to fundraise on October 7. He’s already notched fundraising appearances in Kansas City and Atlanta.

“[Hillary‘s] campaign has not been the easy road people thought it was going to be,” said Robert Shrum, the Democratic consultant who worked on the failed campaigns of John Kerry and Al Gore. “And Bill can be a very effective surrogate. You’d be crazy not to use him.”

Using him, however, involves risks, as Mrs. Clinton found out during her failed 2008 bid, when the former president was front and center, walking parade routes with her in Iowa and New Hampshire, introducing her stump speeches and playing attack dog with the media and the other candidates in the race, most notably then-Sen. Barack Obama.

The plan backfired as Mrs. Clinton was sometimes upstaged at her own events by her charismatic husband.

The former president had several gaffes, such as when Mr. Clinton seemed to minimize Mr. Obama’s victory in the South Carolina primary or called Mr. Obama’s antiwar position “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen” — to which African-Americans took offense, saying he was likening Mr. Obama’s candidacy to a fantasy.

This has been the story of Bill Clinton's political career; with the good, you have to accept the bad.  Clinton's political skills are undeniable.  He singlehandedly rescued the Obama campaign in 2012 with what is considered one of the best conventions speeches in history.  It brought huge swaths of the Democratic coalition home and energized minority voters.

But a primary campaign is very different.  Bill Clinton will have to dial it back a notch or two lest he upstage his wife, whose speaking style has been charitably called "pedestrian."  And let's not forget several gaffes committed by Bill Clinton in 2008 that cost Hillary dearly with African-American voters.

But it is likely that if she appears with her husband, those half-filled campaign events will be bursting to overflowing.  And is there a modern candidate who can shake the money tree like Bill? 

The former president has the potential to be a double-plus addition to the campaign.  Or he may blow it up.  That's the risk Hillary is taking with deploying him as a campaign surrogate.