Bill Clinton in Portland, Maine

Bill Clinton in Portland's Becky's Diner

One political figure I haven’t seen much of this election season is Bill Clinton. He was stumping last night in Portland.

Mr. Clinton spoke at length about the economy but near the end of his remarks hinted at the consequences of a lack of experience on the part of a candidate. “Sometime in the next first 12 to 24 months, something’s going to happen that we’re not talking about,” Mr. Clinton said, noting that nobody asked the current president or his opponent, Vice President Gore, about a number of crises when they were running.

“No one asked them about 9/11, no one asked them about Katrina, no one asked them what are you going to do if Benazir Bhutto is tragically killed and Pakistan is a nuclear power…but when those things happen you have got to deal with them and if you don’t they will sweep you away.”

The argument was reminiscent of one made by Mr. Clinton’s 1992 opponent, George H.W. Bush, who in the 1992 campaign asked American voters at a debate “if in the next 5 minutes a television announcer came on and said, there is a major international crisis — there is a major threat to the world or in this country a major threat — my question is, who, if you were appointed to name 1 of the 3 of us, who would you choose?”

The whole notion of campaigning in Portland in February has taken the whole Maine establishment by surprise. I myself was convinced that the days of covering presidential events in New England would be done on January 8, now we’re almost a month past this date. Clinton himself was unprepared for a trip to Maine. He wore a light olive suit and took a trip to L.L. Bean before his speech.

For an event like the Maine caucuses, you have to dig down into details few of us are aware of. For example, In an election year that has pitted key Democratic constituencies against each other, with women and Latinos supportive of Mrs. Clinton and African-Americans for Mr. Obama, an unlikely ethnic group may emerge to make the difference in the caucuses, the largely blue collar French Canadian population which inhabits the aging mill towns of Maine’s interior, such as Biddeford, Saco and Westbrook.

“The key will be Franco-American Democrats, who tend to be conservative Democrats,” Christian Potholm, a Bowdoin professor, told me. “If they desert Clinton and go to Obama that would be a huge story.”

2 Responses to “Bill Clinton in Portland, Maine”

  1. whydidyoudoit Says:

    According to the demographics, I should be voting for Hillary Clinton: I’m a white, 60-year-old, highly educated woman from the Northeast. But I’m voting for Obama. I’ve waited all my life for a viable woman candidate for the presidency, but this is not the right woman. I want a woman of the highest ability and virtue, who would serve as a glorious role model to all young women. Hillary Clinton is not that woman.
    She rode into power with her husband, and together they’ve acquired a long and seriously flawed history of self-serving and secretive financial and political dealings. The most cursory research will prove that true. She started out her political life supporting the racist Barry Goldwater. She is as comfortable with deception and trickery as George Bush. When I hear woman saying, “Oh, but that’s how you get things done in Washington,” I literally cringe.
    I am passionately supporting Barack Obama. He can beat the Republicans; she cannot. Obama has attracted Independents and even Republicans to his camp, and in a general election they would vote for him, but not for Clinton. Clinton voted for the war, and has never apologized for it. Obama has spoken out against it from the beginning. Obama brings us hope–and not just that. Take a serious look at his ideas and experience.
    Please, I beg of you, Sisters young and old: wait for the right woman. Then we can be proud.

    Diane Wald

  2. whydidyoudoit Says:

    The Clinton campaign didn’t have a healthcare plan befor it felled and they don’t have one now. Well to be honest, if everyone is a goverment employee, then the Clinton healthcare plan will work for everyone. Unfortunately some are self employed, independent contractors or work for private employors or small business. Under the Clinton healthcare plan these people would be penalized if they don’t pay for their healthcare. This means that most of your family members and friends will have their paychecks garnished. We all know that it doesn’t stop there if it is a goverment enforcement. There will be fines and then misdemeanors which is a criminal offense defined as less serious than a felony. Why did Ms. Clinton decide on this approach? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Big business, big Corporation call it what you will, they want their money back and in order for Ms. Clinton to get their support in her race to presidency she is giving victory to one side (the healthcare providers) by promising to them that she will have the poeople wages garnished if they continue to give healthcare. Thus allowing her to shout the words “UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE” This is a shady tactic and makes fools out of every american that falls for this trick. The Obama healthcare plan is for the people. Poor people, middle class and rich people can rest assured that there is no tricks or penalties in the Obama healthcare plan. VOTE OBAMA!!

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