Hillary Clinton’s Spouse Hits Campaign Trail to Offer Personal View of Candidate

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Bill Clinton Campaigns for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.
Former president Bill Clinton appears at a rally for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, in Nashua, New Hampshire.Photo: Brooks Kraft/Corbis

Hillary Clinton is in Iowa today, greeting voters as time runs out before the caucuses. Over in New Hampshire, however, campaigning continued as she unveiled her secret weapon: her husband. (It is a truth universally acknowledged that a presidential candidate in search of political fortune must be in want of a campaigning spouse who will most definitely be called a secret weapon by the press or politicians.)

Bill Clinton, who has mostly shied away from the campaign trail, preferring to focus on being a grandfather or doing his philanthropy work, told personal stories about his wife on Monday in a clear attempt to humanize the candidate with primary voters, who mostly see Clinton as a serious, issue-focused politician. 

He recalled meeting Hillary at law school — "I thought she was the most amazing person … all she was really interested in was providing legal services to poor people" — and he explained why he was glad he was happy to leave politics to his spouse: "I’m a happy grandfather not mad at anybody." He added that he had supreme confidence that his wife was the most qualified person in the presidential race. "I do not believe in my lifetime anybody has run for this job at a moment of great importance who was better qualified by knowledge, experience and temperament to do what needs to be done now," Clinton’s top cheerleader told voters.

Clinton declined to answer questions about the current Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, who has recently tried to make him a campaign issue. Trump, who has called Bill Clinton “sexist” and “one of the great woman abusers of all time,” tweeted on Sunday, “The worst thing Hillary could do is have her husband campaign for her. Just watch.”

The Democratic front-runner’s husband, who has received a moderate amount of attention for his fashion choices recently, wore a variation on “that shirt” to the event. He did not discuss his passion for healthy eating, something he shares with current First Lady Michelle Obama, on Monday. During the last Democratic debate, a moderator asked Hillary Clinton, “Secretary Clinton – first ladies, as you well know, have used their position to work on important causes like literacy and drug abuse. But they also supervise the menus, the flowers, the holiday ornaments and White House decor. You have said that Bill Clinton is a great host and loves giving tours but may opt out of picking flower arrangements if you’re elected. Bill Clinton aside, is it time to change the role of a president’s spouse?”

Clinton, a former presidential spouse herself, said that she would probably still deal with the flowers, showing that there are still limits to how far you can go in trying to make a former president endure the same amount of scrutiny and clichés as most of his fellow candidate spouses, past and present.