(The Root) — It is no secret that when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were competing for the presidency, there was no love lost between former President Bill Clinton and the man running against his wife. Once Hillary Clinton moved from Obama rival to Obama Cabinet member, Bill Clinton morphed from chief Obama critic to chief Obama defender, playing a crucial role in the president’s 2012 campaign for re-election. But according to a new book, it has not been a seamless transition.
Mark Halperin and John Heilemann are the bestselling authors of Game Change, the behind-the-scenes book about the 2008 election that was the basis of an award-winning film. Their new book, Double Down, to be released Nov. 5, is the Game Change for the 2012 election, revealing previously unknown anecdotes about the candidates, their supporters and staff.
Some of the juiciest revelations revealed involve the relationship between former President Clinton and current President Obama. According to sources for the book, President Obama was not in awe of the legendary Clinton charisma, saying of his Democratic predecessor, "I like him … in doses." Also raising eyebrows is President Clinton’s assessment of President Obama’s performance on the campaign trail in 2012. Though Obama ran a far from perfect campaign, he managed to stay consistently ahead largely because Romney’s campaign was so gaffe-prone, leading former President Clinton to say President Obama was “luckier than a dog with two d—ks.”
Yes, you read that right.
And apparently he said this to multiple people. Though some may consider these revelations nothing more than tawdry gossip mixed with ancient history, they could have very real political and policy implications.
Whoever becomes the next president will play a key role in either preserving President Obama’s legacy or destroying it. A Republican president may not be able to fully dismantle Obamacare, for instance, but can certainly help chip away at it while it is still in its vulnerable infancy stages. Also, the Supreme Court is in a very precarious state, with many important decisions still coming down to one vote.
It is widely believed that Hillary Clinton will seek the presidency in 2016, and having harmony between the Clintons and Obamas on the campaign trail will be crucial to determining if she wins. As previously covered on The Root, Bill Clinton’s verbal gaffes during the 2008 campaign, such as appearing to dismiss Obama’s early primary wins by comparing him to Jesse Jackson, dented the image of the man once dubbed “the first black president” in the eyes of many black Americans. Yet black-voter support will be crucial to insuring his wife has a shot at winning the presidency in 2016, particularly if her Republican opponent is someone like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. As The Root recently noted, Christie’s popularity with black voters is far higher than that of the average Republican candidate, and he recently netted a high-profile endorsement from a black celebrity, Shaquille O’Neal.
All of which is to say, the Clintons can’t afford any perceived disharmony with the Obamas if they want to have a political future, and President Obama will need the Clintons to preserve his political legacy.
It appears that all of them need to stop running their mouths in an undignified fashion — at least until they are 100 percent ready to retire from politics.
And President Clinton should probably refrain from mentioning the private parts of anyone — including canines. It is undignified and unbecoming of a former commander-in-chief.
Keli Goff is The Root's special correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.
Keli Goff is The Root’s special correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.