Friday, August 22, 2008

What Will Bill Clinton Say at the Convention?

Excerpt from Barack Obama's aides worrying over what Bill Clinton will say in his convention speech

The episode has contributed to growing tensions in the Democratic Party before the convention, where some party leaders are exhibiting signs of buyer's remorse about Mr Obama, who has failed to open up a big lead in the opinion polls over Republican John McCain as many had hoped and expected.

Mr Clinton is apparently reluctant to be shackled to a set text and would prefer, in the words of one of his former aides, to "just go out and say what's on his mind".

But that is exactly what has Obama campaign staff on edge, given Mr Clinton's previous off the cuff interventions in the campaign. When he dismissed Mr Obama's campaign as a "fairytale" and compared him to the twice-failed black presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, his words were widely interpreted as racist.

Recently asked whether Mr Obama was qualified to be president, Mr Clinton responded: "You could argue that nobody is qualified to be president." Those familiar with Mr Clinton's views say that his continuing scepticism about Mr Obama is real enough.

A senior Democrat who used to work for Mr Clinton said: "Bill Clinton does not think Barack Obama will be a great president and he doesn't want to say so.

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