--Julia Weinberg, 360 Associate Producer
To candidates' wives, Eleanor Roosevelt offered the following pearls of wisdom: "Always be on time. Do as little talking as humanly possible. Lean back in the parade car so everybody can see the president."
Ok, so not all of this holds up today -- the archetypal campaign wife has evolved dramatically. Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Edwards have their own stumping schedules and rock-star rallies. But at the end of the day, it's still all about leaning back for the photo-op, right?
So what about Bill Clinton?
Hillary exalts in her newfound "voice." Will Bill find his again? He was absent from the stage theatrics last Tuesday night, when Hillary won the New Hampshire primary. Certainly no accident.
He's come under fire for calling Obama's claims about his history on Iraq a "fairy tale," and last month for criticizing the media for being too soft on Obama. Not to mention saying he opposed the Iraq war from the start -- critics note he publicly supported the 2002 senate resolution authorizing military action against Iraq.
Bill Clinton draws huge crowds and is a tremendous asset to his wife's campaign, don't get me wrong. But is it just me, or is there something off-putting about seeing an ex-president getting scrappy in a New Hampshire diner?
Former presidents have stayed politically active earlier in our history. In recent memory, however, Americans have grown accustomed to seeing ex-presidents as relatively non-partisan statesmen, international peacekeepers, ribbon-cutters, and authors; not dogfighters.
Yes, the 2008 campaign is all about breaking barriers and challenging political norms. And
maybe it's time I give up on my rosy, idealistic notions about the proper role for past residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
I'm curious to hear what you think. Is it odd to see an ex-president re-enter the political fray? Do you think Bill Clinton has found his voice on the trail?
Send us your thoughts!