Many have written about the bitter division between the Clintons and Obamas stemming back to their battle for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, including most notably of late Ed Klein in his “Blood Feud.”
But could this hatred have run so deep that President Clinton himself would have actually worked to sabotage then-Senator Obama’s 2008 campaign once Obama had locked up the Democratic nomination?
While Daniel Halper, author of the new bombshell book, “Clinton, Inc.,” will not go that far, he does have evidence, including John McCain’s own words, that Bill Clinton actually advised the GOP presidential nominee down the stretch of the 2008 election.
“By the time Bill Clinton hit the hustings for his enemy, Barack Obama, it was pretty apparent that Hillary’s next candidacy for president was already under way. The Clintons would not be blamed as party poopers or sore losers. In the worst-case scenario, she was a doable eight years away from the White House. Or in the best case, four years if somehow Obama managed to lose the general election.
That tantalizing thought preoccupied Bill Clinton for the rest of the campaign. So much so that he did something no self-respecting politico would do in a presidential race—he flirted, quite obviously, with the enemy. In this case, that was the Republicans’ nominee, Hillary’s old friend John McCain.”
How did Clinton support McCain during the general election season?
“During the 2008 campaign I talked to President Clinton on several occasions,” McCain tells me with a slight smile, as if realizing what he is about to let slip. “We talked about the campaign. We talked about various aspects of it.”
McCain shied away from calling Clinton’s outreach “advice,” “It wasn’t ‘you should do this, you should do that,’” McCain says.
“It was sort of ‘well, here’s where I think things are standing and here’s the issues I think you should emphasize.’”
Lest one thinks that Clinton’s counsel for McCain wasn’t brazen enough, Halper writes:
The conversations continued well into the fall, even after Clinton endorsed Obama at the convention. McCain recalls that Clinton called him to share thoughts about the 2008 financial bailout, which had led McCain to “suspend” his campaign against Obama and urge a legislative solution.
“He’s a policy wonk and we would talk,” McCain says. “We talked about why the bailout was important and why, who the players were, who you could trust, you know, that kind of thing.”
This leads to the natural question — could it have been that President Clinton rooted for John McCain to defeat Barack Obama?
McCain stops just short of saying Clinton had hoped McCain would defeat Obama. “I can’t say he favored [my candidacy over Obama's],” McCain says, “but I have to say that he wouldn’t be talking to me if he didn’t feel that he and I…that it would be helpful to have the communications.”
The extent of Clinton’s tacit — if not more than tacit support for McCain is reflected in the recollection of one aide, as well as Clinton’s own words, which in some way parallel his positive comments about Mitt Romney’s “sterling” business record during the 2012 presidential election. Halper adds:
McCain’s longtime aide Mark Salter confirms the two spoke on occasion during the last stages of the presidential campaign. Salter describes the conversations as Clinton and McCain talking about the sate of the race.
As late of September 2008, two months before what promised to be a close election, Bill Clinton was publicly gushing about the Republican. “The American people, for good and sufficient reasons, admire him,” Clinton told the women of ABC’s The View. He’s given something in life the rest of us can’t match.”
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