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Bill Clinton tries to rescue Democrats

Bill Clinton is baffled. The former president’s friends say he is in disbelief that in the closing weeks of the midterm campaigns Democrats have failed to articulate a coherent message on the economy and, worse, have allowed themselves to become “human pinatas.”

world Updated: Oct 23, 2010 00:14 IST

Bill Clinton is baffled. The former president’s friends say he is in disbelief that in the closing weeks of the midterm campaigns Democrats have failed to articulate a coherent message on the economy and, worse, have allowed themselves to become “human pinatas.”

So Clinton is deploying himself on a last-ditch, dawn-to-dusk sprint to rescue his beleaguered party. And as the only president in modern times who has balanced the federal budget, he is leveraging his credibility to become one of the most fierce defenders of President Obama’s economic policies.

“To hear the Republicans tell it, from the second President Obama took his hand off the Bible taking the oath of office, everything that happened after that was his fault,” Clinton said this week at a campaign rally for Sen. Patty Murray (Democracts-Washington). “I’d like to see any of you get behind a locomotive going straight downhill at 200 miles an hour and stop it in 10 seconds.”

If there was any doubt that Clinton remains the Democratic Party’s North Star, it has been erased over the past few weeks as he has packed legions of supporters into basketball arenas, college quads and airport hangars. He is the Democrats’ most in-demand messenger and, unlike Obama, he is summoned everywhere — no matter how hostile the territory.

By Election Day, Clinton will have travelled to more than 100 events.

Some Democrats are troubled that Clinton, who left office a decade ago, is a bigger draw than Obama and the party’s current leaders. But even with his party out of favour, polls show Clinton is among the most popular national political figures in the country.

( In exclusive partnership with The Washington Post. For additional content, visit www.washingtonpost.com )