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The presidential election is due to take place in less than fifty days...
Over the last few hours, the race has become close again, with the two candidates tied in polls, and tension growing. More and more negative ads have been broadcast by the two camps.
Last week, former president Bill Clinton welcomed Barack Obama in his Harlem offices, and promised he would campaign for him very soon. Obama was even cheeky enough to say : "We're putting him to work"
Yesterday, Bill Clinton started to work as promised : he was on CNBC for his first interview since the Denver Convention.
So everybody was probably expecting him to show his strong support for his wife's victorious rival.
And, what did he do ?
He praised the Republican ticket !
He had very kind words for John McCain and Sarah Palin, his supposed adversaries, and remained reserved about the candidate of his own camp.
And he described his wife's economic plan, not Obama's, as the more efficient one...
Bill Clinton was appearing on CNBC, interviewed by Maria Bartiromo.
First, here is what he said about John McCain :
"I've never concealed my admiration and affection for Sen. McCain. I think he's a great man."
Of course, he qualified his statement immediately , as if realizing he belonged to the other camp :
"But, I think, on the issues that matter to our future, the Obama-Biden team is, is more right," Clinton said of the Democratic ticket. "And I believe they're gonna win. But, I think that it will be competitive until the end."
However, a few minutes later, he could not prevent himself from continuing his tribute to the Republican duo, being asked if he was surprised by the bounce McCain received in the polls after choosing Palin as his vice presidential candidate.
Clinton said he wasn't, and expressed his admiration for John McCain's running mate, calling her an "instinctively effective candidate."
Here are his exact words :
"She's a-- she's an instinctively effective candidate," he said, "And with a compelling story. I think it was exciting to some, that, that she was a woman. It was exciting that she was from Alaska. It was exciting that she's sort of like the person she is. And she grew up in a, came up in a political culture and a religious culture that is probably well to the right of the American center. But, she didn't basically define herself in those terms."
And he went on, and on :
"She handled herself very well. (...) I get why she's done so well. She, she's, it's a mistake to underestimate her. She's got good intuitive skills. They're significant."
As if his words were not strong enough in Palin's favour and implicitly, in Obama's disfavour, Bill Clinton then started to speak about the economic and financial crisis and the solutions proposed by the candidates. Instead of trying to convince his public that Obama has the best plan to make the nation recover, he spoke about his wife's competence on such issues, and asserted she was the one who had given "the most detailed position I've seen on what she felt we ought to do on the finance crisis."
Concerning Obama's plan, the former president contented himself with recognizing that Obama "has offered some very specific and sensible economic reforms and healthcare reforms."
And as if compelled to do so, Clinton predicted the Democrats would win back the White House in November because voters are ready for a change.
"I think what, what typically happens in these elections if you look throughout American history when the country's in a fix and you know where we're going is not sustainable, then there is typically a breakthrough."
"I think that the, the people said, 'Well, they [Republicans] had the Congress and the White House for six of the last eight years. We're in trouble. We liked Senator McCain. We recognize he's a little bit of a different kind of Republican. But, we're gonna make a change.' And I think that's where they'll be and I think that you'll see a victory for Obama and Biden," Clinton added.
As we see, he did not say the Democrats would win because they had the best candidate, but because people wanted "change", probably implying that they would be ready to vote for anybody who is not Republican !
And mysteriously, he added one last thing, that is probably going to make the Obama reflect a lot in future days :
Clinton, said there could still be "some unforeseen development," perhaps in the debates, he said, that could threaten a Democratic win.
"Barring some unforeseen development like in-- something happens in the debates we don't know about. I-- I-- I-- it may not be apparent in the polls until last week or two of the election. But, I believe that it will be apparent on election day. I think that-- I think Senator Obama will win this election."
So, Bill Clinton predicts there might be "some unforeseen development" that could prevent Obama from winning...
Surely, he must know what he is speaking about...
Remember the rumors of an "October surprise" during the primaries ?
What an incredible performance !
The former Democratic president campaigning for the Republicans !
Can you imagine such a situation, in France ?
In 2007, president Jacques Chirac campaigning for Ségolène Royal while Sarkozy was the candidate of his own party ?
How original !
Really, Bill Clinton should appear more often on television...