Bob Lewis: Clinton "lends McAuliffe powerful and undeniable advantages"

Monday, April 27, 2009

With Bill Clinton stumping for Terry McAuliffe today in Richmond and Roanoke, the AP's Bob Lewis analyzes the potential impact:
...Bill Clinton lends McAuliffe powerful and undeniable advantages.

He wakes up Virginia's sleepy primary and affixes McAuliffe's brand to it.
That's critical to McAuliffe's novel strategy to win by expanding the June 9 turnout well beyond the tiny contingent of party die-hards who typically turn out for state primaries. Fewer than 156,000 votes were cast in the 2006 Democratic primary that gave the Senate nomination to Jim Webb over party insider Harris Miller.


Also, Clinton ruled the White House during the largest peacetime economic expansion in modern U.S. history, and that portfolio comports perfectly with McAuliffe's message of revving up the state's economy and bringing in jobs.

And while Bill Clinton in northern Virginia--McAuliffe's and Moran's home turf and Washington, D.C.'s back yard--barely causes a stir, Bill Clinton south of the Occoquan River could bring front-page, top-of-the-newscast coverage to the downstate constituency McAuliffe has targeted with his television ads thus far.

"If he's successful, we'll all think he's brilliant," Funk said. "And if he's not, we'll all think he was crazy."
Given Bill Clinton's popularity among Virginia Democrats (yes, I realize that Hillary Clinton lost Virginia's primary, but I'd argue that's far more a testatment to Barack Obama's popularity than to anything bad about the Clintons), I vote for "brilliant," but we'll find out soon enough.