This campaign season has seen more than its fair share of surrogate flubs and staffer gaffes, but no two men have continuously embarrassed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama more than Bill Clinton and Reverend Jeremiah Wright (respectively). Both seem unable, or perhaps unwilling, to simply avoid saying things that damage the campaigns they ostensibly support. So in light of the renewed scrutiny of Bill Clinton and Reverend Wright’s unwelcome reemergence, we compare the two presidential headaches below.
William Jefferson Clinton
Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr.
|Relationship to Candidate||Uncontrollable husband who frequently alienates black voters.||Uncontrollable ex-pastor who frequently alienates white voters.|
|Embarrassing Quote||"Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ‘84 and ‘88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here."||"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people.”|
|Candidate’s Response||After Bill’s wholly inaccurate defense of Hillary’s wholly inaccurate Bosnia recollections, Hillary told him, bluntly, to stop. “‘You don’t remember this, you weren’t there. Let me handle it,’” she told Bill, as he recounted. His reply: “Yes ma’am.”
||Last month Obama condemned Wright’s more offensive statements without distancing himself from the man entirely. “As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me,” Obama said. Tuesday afternoon, a day after Wright spoke to the National Press Club, Obama got a lot tougher: “I gave him the benefit of the doubt before my speech in Philadelphia [but] … the person I saw yesterday is not the person I met twenty years ago.”|
|Key Shared Experience||Married Hillary Clinton, fathered her kid.||Married Barack and Michelle Obama, baptized their kids.|
|Personal Project to Promote||Circumventing those pesky constitutional limits on holding a third term as president by getting his wife into the White House and becoming a “roving ambassador” as Hillary has suggested.
||A book to be released “later this year.”|
||Recently, Representative James Clyburn, who said Bill’s behavior was “bizarre” and “incensed” black people.||Rush Limbaugh: “This is a man who hates the country. Jeremiah Wright is a hatemonger. He hates America. It is patently obvious."|
|Future Liability||No telling what could happen if he roves White House hallways once again.||Bizarrely, has pledged to “come after” Obama if Barack manages to overcome the obstacles Wright is creating for him and makes it to the White House.|
|Approval Ratings||47 percent favorable.||8 percent favorable.|
|Hidden Upside||Driven to make more campaign appearances than either Hillary or Obama.||Helps to inform the frighteningly sizable number of voters still unclear about Obama’s religion that the senator is, in fact, Christian.|