Team Obama Hopes to End Bubba’s Blubbering

bill clinton
Photo: Photo-illustration: Getty Images

Hillary and Bill Clinton both did their part in recent days to freak out the campaign of Barack Obama, but also managed to secure themselves some high-profile speaking roles at the Democratic National Convention. The image of "yelling and screaming" on the convention floor that Hillary envisioned probably didn't put Obama at ease, nor, one would imagine, did Bill's comically tepid endorsement of Obama's qualifications to be president (basically, "If the Constitution says so"). But that stirring show of confidence won Bill a nice coveted speaking slot right before the vice-presidential nominee on the third night of the convention (Hillary will speak on the second night). Does this mean the drama is over, the feud is diffused?

• Jonathan Alter writes that "both camps knew immediately after the [ABC interview with Bill] that they had repair work to do," which is why they "worked out a hasty compromise whereby Hillary Clinton will speak Tuesday night and Bill Clinton Wednesday night." Though "[t]wo nights out of four featuring the Clintons is not what Obama had in mind for his convention … he'll have to live with it." Bill is "still sore," but if he's sent to the Middle East as President Obama's special envoy, "all will be forgiven on both sides." [Newsweek]

• Ben Smith thinks the upside of the high-stakes convention drama is that it "will have everyone paying attention to [Hillary Clinton's] predictably pro-Obama speech." On the downside, however, "is that Bill Clinton will be overheard backstage trashing the nominee." [Politico]

• Nate Silver sees "more risk than the insta-pundit reaction seems to be acknowledging" in having Bill speak right before the vice-presidential nominee. The speech "will possibly upstage his wife's, and probably upstage the vice president's," and could, in a way, put "Obama in even more of a pickle in making his VP choice." [Five Thirty Eight]

• Chuck Todd and friends wonder, is the "Clinton-Obama drama finally coming to an end?" Maybe, but it could "more news come out from Clinton Land about Obama that could put the entire relationship in question again," like The Atlantic's upcoming story "that has uncovered about 200 internal Clinton campaign memos discussing Obama and campaign strategy?" [First Read/MSNBC]

• Greg Sargent expects "Bill's speech to be scrutinized endlessly by people searching for whatever hint of insufficient enthusiasm about Obama they can find." [TPM Election Central]

• Taylor Marsh believes it's troubling that team Obama were apparently considering not having Bill speak, which "hints that the people now running the show not only don't get Bill Clinton's impact, but also think they can absolutely win without him." Remember Al Gore? [Taylor Marsh]

• Kathleen Q. Seelye recounts that though the "Gore campaign had hoped to choreograph Mr. Clinton out of the picture at its convention," Bill had ended up stealing the limelight. [NYT]

• Reid Wilson says the Clintons' speaking roles give "Obama two chances to placate the two who could be a thorn in his side or a benefit to his campaign, depending on how they act." [Politics Nation/RealClearPolitics]

• Vaughn Ververs claims that the speaking roles "might help momentarily but for Obama, the problems go far beyond the convention," because many of Hillary's "staunchest supporters could be harder to bring on board." How Obama "deals with the Clintons from here on out will always be a tricky and touchy issue." [Horserace/CBS News]
Dan Amira

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.