As Political Night Train predicted, Bill Clinton is riding to the rescue. Hillary Clinton, unable to manage her own campaign now needs Bill to step in and take control. Will this happen if she gets elected President? Will Bill be the de facto Vice President? How much influence will he have?
DUNLAP, Iowa — When Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign advisers laid out their new political strategy in a private conference call with allies last Tuesday, Bill Clinton was not on the line. He did not need to be. The message being delivered was his.A day earlier, Mr. Clinton had unveiled the campaign’s new talking points at rallies in Iowa. His wife was “a change agent,” “a proven agent of positive change” and “a lifetime advocate of a change agenda.”The “change, change, change” phrase, as some advisers call it, was coined by Mr. Clinton after he told campaign officials that the old strategy of running like an incumbent front-runner was not enough, advisers said. The Clintons had to wrest the message of change from Senator Barack Obama.On the conference call, the campaign’s chief strategist, Mark Penn, reinforced the idea. “Let me go through the basic message frame,” he said; a reporter was given access to the call by two participants on it. “If you want to have change in this country, if you want a new beginning, then how about electing someone who has a lifetime of making change?”Mr. Clinton is not running his wife’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. But less than three weeks before the Iowa caucuses, and with polls showing a tight race, he has become the most powerful force in her political operation besides the candidate herself. He is shaping strategy, challenging advisers on their assumptions and acting like a vice-presidential candidate in a general election — attacking rivals so Mrs. Clinton can stay positive much of the time.