For the record, Clinton says he’s “aghast” at all the “flutter” about him wanting Obama to lose. In other news, my dog is aghast at rumors he likes bacon.
Still, the more interesting question is: Why does Obama need Clinton to be his Surrogate Numero Uno in the first place?
It’s not like Obama and Clinton love each other. Obama’s been dissing Clinton for years, saying Bubba’s presidency wasn’t “transformative” and all that. And then there was the unpleasantness in the 2008 primaries. And yet, Bill remains the White House’s go-to guy.
It’s a fascinating weakness of this presidency: Obama has no reliable surrogates. Joe Biden is the vice president, and 90 percent of his job description is to be a carnival barker for his boss. But, particularly since Biden forced the president’s hand on gay marriage, it’s apparently dawned on the White House that Biden is less than dependable as a wingman. Sure, he might begin a statement by saying, “This president saved us from another Great Depression.” But you never know if he’ll finish by adding, “My neighbor has three rabbits,” or, “These are not my pants.”
The president has tried to be his own surrogate, personally going on the attack against Romney. But all that does is remind voters that Obama doesn’t want to talk about his own record — and further diminishes his tattered bipartisan brand.
That’s probably one reason they tried out David Axelrod as an anti-Romney hatchet man in Boston the other week. But you know your audition as Obama pitch man hasn’t gone well when 90 percent of the media coverage boils down to either stories about how you were booed by Romney supporters, or stories about how everyone’s asking, “What meth-head thought Axelrod would be a good surrogate?”