Hillary has a secret weapon in Bill Clinton (News Analysis)

Washington, July 28 (IANS) Despite all the controversy surrounding Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, she has one secret weapon — her husband, former US President Bill Clinton.

Bill Clinton, one of the country’s most popular presidents, spoke on her behalf on Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and experts said that will help Hillary in the race for the White House, Xinhua news agency reports.

“Bill Clinton did a terrific job presenting the human side of his wife. He showed how she is a change agent and has a demonstrated record of impact throughout her life,” said Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies of the Brookings Institution.

The folksy Bill Clinton is an asset to Hillary in that he is comfortable and at ease in front of an audience and has thrived on connecting with large audiences during his nearly 40-year career in politics.

While Hillary is often criticized as stiff and robotic in public, Bill is relaxed and adept at reading audiences and understanding what resonates with them.

In a bid to humanize Hillary, he spoke at length about how the two met 40 years ago, both being students at Yale law school.

Cracking jokes from time to time in the self-deprecating style he’s known for, Bill Clinton told the enthusiastic crowd how he pursued and eventually married Hillary.

The speech resonated with the crowd, and experts said it will help Hillary in her bid to capture the country’s highest political office.

“Bill provides an unparalleled amount of expertise and political charisma to the campaign — if he remains disciplined and on message,” Dan Mahaffee, an analyst with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, told Xinhua.

Bill could also help Hillary peel off some of the white working-class voters on whom Trump is depending to whisk him into the White House.

Analysts said Trump needs around 92 percent or 93 percent of rank-and-file Republican voters — many of whom are white blue collar males — in order to clinch the White House.

If Bill Clinton could make more inroads with this group, who supported him while he was president, that could bode well for Hillary.

Moreover, Bill Clinton’s White House oversaw one of the largest economic expansions in US history although critics argued that the invisible hand of the market — particularly the rise of the Internet and technology — was responsible, not the government.

But whatever the case, many voters over age 40 hold fond memories of the Bill Clinton years and feel the idea of Bill being back in the White House — this time as first husband — is appealing.

Bill Clinton is also one of Washington’s most talented fundraisers, and could be of enormous help in that area.

“He will help on the fundraising front. A former president brings star talent to an event and helps to raise cash for the campaign,” West said.



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