As I've predicted in this space for years, Bill Clinton is proving to be a huge factor in his wife's presidential candidacy. I don't agree with everything Mark Penn says (and boy, is Chris Mathews still mad at him for saying "cocaine cocaine" on his show) but when he points out that Bill Clinton is the most popular former president in memory he's not making up those numbers. A lot of voters agree with the button that says "Miss Bill? Vote Hill!"
So it's shouldn't be a surprise that the Clinton campaign is using Bill Clinton in the role frequently played by vice-presidential nominees. On the road all time, saying some of the sharper things the nominee would just as soon steer clear of. No big deal.
Nor is Hillary Clinton's new radio "attack" ad by any means out of bounds. If you saw the clip of Obama being interviewed on the subject of Ronald Reagan and the Republicans' "new ideas" you knew he was making a mistake. (And if you were a political professional, you thought, "That would make a great spot.")
Reagan's famous "11th Commandment" was "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican," and the Democratic version could easily be "Thou always shall." Obama may have been trying to make his point (which I ridiculed Tuesday in the Christian Science Monitor) that Republicans and Democrats can lie down like lambs and find common ground, but that is no way to win a party nomination, let along a general election.
I would have made this commercial too, if I were advising the Clinton campaign. Only I might not have confined it to radio, where campaigns traditionally place their most hard-hitting advertising in the hopes of not offending too many people. (Now, of course, they also use the web). There's no reason to be defensive about this commercial, especially now that Obama has countered with one of his own.
Like they say, politics aint beanbag!