WHITE PLAINS, New York — It may not be the worst of times for Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, but it’s certainly not the best. Senator Barack Obama’s 0-and-8 sweep in primary contests over the past five days has put him in the role of front-runner for the Democratic nomination, and for now at least, the big mo’ is with the big O.
With that in mind, you might think former President Bill Clinton wasn’t too happy when MTV News caught up with him Wednesday afternoon (February 13) as he was about to leave Westchester County en route to Washington, D.C. But not so. On the day after Obama’s Chesapeake sweep, the former commander in chief was resolutely upbeat, predicting his wife would bounce back.
“Senator Obama out-raised us by a lot, so we were not able to spend a lot of money on these February caucuses and primaries, which were disadvantageous to her anyway because of the electorate in them, and in caucuses she doesn’t do so well,” he said. “But she won big on Super Tuesday in those big states. Then after people knew we needed money, she raised about $13 million over the Internet, which is amazing, because those are mostly working people of modest means, plus younger people coming in who believe in her.”
And like most of the Clinton camp, the president is looking forward to the big March 4 primary prizes. “We’ll make a good fight in Texas and Ohio,” he said. “I think we’ll win there, and if we do, we’ll win in Pennsylvania, and I think she’ll be nominated. I think that’s basically what it’s come down to now.”
It is no secret that the former president’s always-busy schedule has been even more so in recent months. His role as Hillary’s superstar wingman (and occasional pit bull) has of necessity made him sacrifice some of the time he devotes to his usual day job, working with his William J. Clinton Foundation and its various activities. That includes the Clinton Global Initiative — for which thinkMTV co-sponsored a philanthropic summit last year — and the new college program CGI U, which launches in mid-March in New Orleans.
“I’ve cut back a little bit on foundation work” this year, he admitted, but added that his wife’s campaign won’t continue indefinitely. “It’s not gonna go on forever. We’ll probably know sometime in May [if she wins the nomination]. We’ll probably have to go all the way through to May to know if Hillary or Senator Obama has the delegates to be nominated.”
By May? Is that not an optimistically early projection, considering some have said this remarkably tight race might drag on until the Democratic National Convention in Denver in late August? Clinton says he just doesn’t see that happening. “Oh no, no, I don’t think so. But even if it does [drag on until then,] there won’t be much for me to do. More and more, I’ll be going back to work and doing my job. We’re gonna have a CGI in Asia this year, in Hong Kong.”
If Hillary Clinton does get the Democratic nod, her husband says he’ll do what he can to help — but he won’t be as ubiquitous on the campaign trail as we’ve seen him lately. “It won’t be like these primaries where everything is happening at once, and you just need all hands on deck. In the general election, if Hillary is fortunate enough to be nominated, she’ll be up there against, apparently, Senator [John] McCain, and that’ll be the main event.”
In an election year this volatile, that general election seems light years away. Stay tuned.
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