Count on Bill Clinton to Give Charlie Crist a Helping Hand

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: September 3, 2014 3:55 AM
Bill Clinton and Charlie Crist

Bill Clinton and Charlie Crist

Now that he has the party’s nomination sewn up to take on Rick Scott, Charlie Crist can expect the help of leading Democrats including Bill Clinton.

The former president is headed down to Miami on Friday to help Crist. This hasn’t been Clinton’s first appearance in the race. Back in May, Clinton hit South Florida to help the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) raise money.

But if Crist can count on Clinton to help him out against Scott, Floridians should not expect to see another two-term Democratic president. To be sure, Barack Obama remains popular with his Democratic base, something Republicans didn’t quite fully realize in 2012. But Obama is underwater in most states, including Florida. After six years, Americans tire of most occupants of the White House and Obama is just the latest example.

Clinton scores points with Americans on a host of fronts. His eight years in office are still seen as the high watermark of the American economy. While there were some conflicts and military actions during his time in office -- Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia -- essentially the Clinton years were peaceful. Despite his personal failings and the impeachment effort that haunted his last years in office, Americans generally hold Clinton in high regard and he looks even better when compared with the two men who followed him in the White House: George W. Bush and Obama.

Of course, Clinton has other reasons to help out Democrats in Florida and other important states. Hillary Clinton is the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 -- a position she was in in 2008 before Obama caught her. This time, the Clintons don’t want to be surprised by a primary foe, meaning Bill Clinton will be front and center as he tries to collect IOUs for his wife to cash in come 2016. This includes calling in political debts from the likes of Crist and other Florida Democrats.

Besides helping Crist, Clinton should also pitch in to help other Florida Democrats. Back in 2012, Clinton pushed Joe Garcia’s and Patrick Murphy’s successful bids to defeat Republican congressmen. With Garcia expecting a tough fight from Carlos Curbelo in November and Murphy looking like a rising star, Clinton could be back to help them out. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is an old Clinton ally and should be able to count on his support, and he might even pop up in North Florida where Democrats have high hopes for Gwen Graham against Steve Southerland.

But Clinton’s support isn’t enough to help a Democrat in a close race in Florida. Earlier this year, Clinton went to bat for Alex Sink in the special election for an open congressional seat in Tampa Bay. Jolly beat Sink out in the final tally.

Clinton also offers Republicans a chance to paint Crist as a flip-flopper. When he ran for the Senate in 1998, Crist, then a conservative Republican, was calling for Clinton’s impeachment in the aftermath of revelations about Monica Lewinsky.

Still, Clinton is much more of an asset than a liability on the campaign trail. Despite Obama beating Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries, the former president was a star for the Democratic ticket in 2012, giving a well-regarded speech at the convention and hitting the campaign trail.

As Obama continues to sink in the polls, look for Clinton to be front and center for Democrats across Florida. Clinton will help get Democrats out to the polls for former Republican Crist and won’t come with the baggage Obama offers.

Tallahassee based political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Comments (6)

2:21PM SEP 3RD 2014
Must be Clinton can make himself some money off the Florida people. Otherwise he wouldn't be helping Crist. Too of a kind....not for the people but for what they can do for themselves.
12:54PM SEP 3RD 2014
The Clintons are backing Crist,no doubt,the Bushes have Scotts back.They're all after the same thing,grow the size & scope of government to benefit themselves & their cronies.What a snakepit.#WyllieForGov
12:23PM SEP 3RD 2014
Only in the Democrat Party that they would welcome and embrace a serial sexual predator with open arms.
12:23PM SEP 3RD 2014
Only in the Democrat Party that they would welcome and embrace a serial sexual predator with open arms.
11:47AM SEP 3RD 2014
I hope he doesn't win and the same for Scott. I am voting for Adrian Wyllie.
Why vote between 2 known liars? Florida, we are fortunate enough not to
be stuck picking one liar or the other this time. We actually have an
alternative. Take advantage of the opportunity. Adrian Wyllie deserves
my vote. He is a honest average Floridian just as you and I , that is
willing to stand up and do something for the interest of all of us here
in Florida. The other candidates both Republican and Democrat are owned
and controlled by special interest, like puppets and will lie to your
face to gain your vote, then continue the same old agenda that we
complain about year after year. Time to get off this merry-go-round,
election after election, thinking it will be any different. Take a
stand, vote for the candidate that loves this state and is willing to
take time out of his life, effort and money to SERVE the people of
Florida and stop voting for these ‘paid for’ career politicians that are
only out for money and fame and have zero interest in us Floridians.
Even if it’s just for honesty alone, vote for Adrian Wyllie instead of
the other two (Scott/Crist) which are proven liars. The choice is yours
and yours alone, if you want the same old corruption and slap in the
face, go ahead and vote for one of the two puppets (Scott/Crist) OR do
what is right for our (yours and your children’s) future and vote for
Adrian Wyllie. Support him by donating to his campaign, spreading the
word and contribute to the super brochure program which I think is very
powerful. Visit his website today.
10:58AM SEP 3RD 2014
I am counting on Billy helping Charlie, the same way he helped Alex.......sink.

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