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Bill Clinton back on the campaign trail stumping for others

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Clinton will be deployed in key swing states, CNN has learned
  • The relationship between Clinton and Meek dates back almost 20 years
  • Meek backed Hillary Clinton's presidential bid

(CNN) -- Former President Bill Clinton hits the campaign trail Monday with three rallies for Rep. Kendrick Meek as the latter makes a bid for Florida's Democratic Senate nomination.

Last month, CNN learned that President Barack Obama's aides were putting together an aggressive schedule to deploy Clinton at campaign and fundraising events in key states around the country in the weeks ahead.

According to Democratic officials familiar with the plans, the White House specifically wants to use Clinton in key swing states where Obama is not particularly popular, such as Arkansas and Kentucky.

Meek, a four-term lawmaker who represents Florida's 17th congressional district in the southeast part of the state, faces off August 24 against billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene in the Democratic primary.

The winner will battle former Florida House speaker Marco Rubio, the likely Republican nominee, and Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who is now running for the Senate as an independent candidate after dropping out of a battle with Rubio for the GOP nomination.

Most recent polls indicate Crist has a narrow lead over Rubio, with either Meek or Green a distant third.

Clinton's move should not be seen as a surprise. The former president has already headlined several fundraising events and has penned fundraising e-mails for Meek.

The pair's relationship stretches back nearly two decades, when Clinton was the Arkansas governor and Meek was a state trooper in the Florida Highway Patrol who was assigned to Buddy MacKay, Florida's lieutenant governor at the time.

Meek also backed Sen. Hillary Clinton's bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

Earlier this year, Clinton went back to his home state of Arkansas to help Sen. Blanche Lincoln win a bruising primary runoff election against the state's lieutenant governor. Lincoln now faces a very tough re-election battle in November against Republican Rep. John Boozman.

Clinton will also be used in Kentucky, where Democrats would love to pick up an open seat now held by the retiring Republican Sen. Jim Bunning.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee, faces off in the general election against Republican nominee Rand Paul, a favorite of many in the Tea Party movement.

Clinton also hit the campaign trail in June, when he teamed up with Mark Critz, the Democratic candidate in the special election to fill the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha's Pennsylvania seat. Critz ended up defeating Republican candidate Tim Burns.

CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry contributed to this report.

 
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