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Slick Willie references will do little to help Romney

Posted: May 22, 2012 3:06 p.m.
Updated: May 23, 2012 5:00 a.m.

The most awkward hot dog lunch in U.S. history must have taken place March 5, 2008. On that spring day four years ago, Sen. John McCain traveled to Washington, D.C., to enjoy a nice ball park frank at the White House before happily signing his presidential campaign death warrant.

McCain was meeting with then-President George W. Bush after wrapping up his second attempt at the GOP presidential nomination.

What wonderful conversations must have been had that day. Perhaps the two enjoyed a belly laugh over the time Bush squashed McCain’s chances to win the presidency in 2000.

Bush unleashed an onslaught on McCain during the Republican primaries 12 years ago. After running what some considered a dirty campaign, particularly in South Carolina, Bush only lost seven states en route to the nomination.

But nevertheless, there stood McCain, ready to grit his teeth, smile, and shake hands with the man who held the office he coveted for nearly a decade.

It was a different scene last week when Bush offered his official “endorsement” of current Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

There were no ceremonies, no long, drawn out network news interviews, not even a hot dog lunch organized at the Bush ranch in Texas.

Bush’s big confirmation of Romney actually came in a four-word reply to a question from ABC News reporter Matt Negrin.

Negrin approached the former president after he made a rare trip to Washington last Tuesday to make a speech on human rights.

“Who are you supporting in November?” asked Negrin. “I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush quickly replied as the two elevator doors in front of him inched to a close.

No one in the Romney household is likely losing sleep from Bush’s rather concise “endorsement,” but perhaps a little more grandeur in the proceedings was expected.

While Romney is getting a nod from one former president, the Republican nominee himself is doling out support for another former Commander in Chief -- Democrat Bill Clinton.

Two weeks ago in Lansing, Mich., Romney praised Clinton as a “New Democrat,” while claiming Obama had missed Clinton’s mark by using failed liberal policies of the past.

“President Clinton said the era of big government was over. President Obama brought it back with a vengeance,” Romney said to a crowd of students at Lansing Community College.

Romney cranked it up a notch last week, suggesting there was a “personal beef” between the last two Democratic presidents.

According to the GOP nominee, Clinton understood that new governmental programs couldn’t solve society’s programs, whereas Obama “tucked away the Clinton doctrine in his large drawer of discarded ideas.”

Romney went on to say -- “It’s enough to make you wonder if it’s a personal beef with the Clintons … but it really runs deeper.”

The former Massachusetts governor was obviously trying to make centrist Democrats weary of Obama, while painting Clinton as a middle-of-the-road pragmatist.

Despite his aim to pick off supporters of President Clinton and even those from Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, Romney’s smoke and mirrors will not work on Democratic-leaning voters.

During the ‘08 election, there were obviously rifts between the Obama and Clinton campaigns. However, politics make strange bedfellows and any “personal beefs” as Romney describes it were put aside long ago for the sake of governing and probably even more so for the sake of campaigning.

Obama may not be a policy clone of President Clinton, but the two still see eye-to-eye on what’s important for the Democratic Party: beating Mitt Romney.

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