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Bill’s Legacy, and the Risk of Swiftboating Obama

In 1992 and 1996, when Bill Clinton ran for President, he dominated the “under 30” age group — like Obama appears to be doing this year.

I was 28 in 1992. Clinton was the first candidate I was rabidly enthusiastic about, and I still think of his presidency as the best by far since I turned 18 (not surprising, I’m a Democrat). I saw Clinton speak a couple of times in small, intimate settings and was each time deeply impressed by his intellect, wide-ranging knowledge, and ability to make a great speech. I hated the incessant, divisive Republican attacks on his presidency and the bogus Ken Starr investigation.

Obama is the first candidate since Clinton that I’ve been a similar level of enthusiasm and excitement. He is in so many ways the direct heir of the Clinton mantle among the Democrats. And he may have the potential to be an even better President than Clinton.

So it is with real dismay we’re starting to see Bill Clinton lead the attacks against Obama. If he succeeds, it will be at a cost to his reputation and legacy in the view of so many of us who were once such strong supporters of him.

UPDATE

Read this:

“I understand he’s feeling a little frustrated right now. But I think Tim Russert answered Bill Clinton this morning. Every point that he raised was a question that had been answered — had been asked and answered, not only on ‘Meet the Press’ but repeatedly. It is a little frustrating for the president to — the former president — to continually repeat this notion that somehow I didn’t know where I stood in 2004 about the war. He keeps on giving half the quote. I was always against the war. The quote he keeps on feeding back was an interview on ‘Meet the Press’ at the National Convention when Tim was asking, ‘Given your firm opposition to the war, what do you make of the fact that your nominee for president and vice president didn’t have that same foresight?’ And obviously I didn’t want to criticize them on the eve of their nomination. So I said, ‘Well, I don’t know what — you know, I wasn’t in the Senate. I can’t say for certain what I would have done if I was there. I know that from where I stood, the case was not made.’ He always leaves that out. And you know, I understand why he’s frustrated. But, at some point, since we’ve corrected him repeatedly on this and he keeps on repeating it, you know, it tells me that he’s just more interested in trying to muddy the waters than actually talk fairly about my record.”

Then watch this.

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