Mr. Bill: Back in Charge?

At the White House Friday, did the administration waive in a relief president from the bullpen? Sheesh. Bill Clinton came for a private meeting with Prez O — and then proceeded to hold a solo press briefing where the former prez opined on tax cuts and other matters.

And get this. Prez O left Mr. Bill alone at the lectern — while he had to dash off to attend holiday parties.

Here’s from a WaPo story, “Bill Clinton takes the White House stage, again“:

If not a transfer of power, the whole show seemed at least a temporary handoff. An embattled president, fresh off an electoral shellacking and struggling to sell a controversial tax deal to members of his own party, turned to a former president who, exactly 16 years ago, was struggling to right his own presidency after a defeat of almost similar magnitude.

President Obama had invited former president Bill Clinton to the White House for a private talk, the details of which neither man chose to describe. But their public appearance will be long remembered. The sight and sound of Clinton going solo in the White House briefing room, as Obama slipped away to a holiday party, was certainly a head-turner on a slow Friday afternoon.

After brief remarks by Obama, Clinton slid behind the lectern as if he’d never left the building. For a time it looked like he might never leave, as he fielded questions from a White House press corps eager to keep him as long as it could. He stroked his chin. He folded his arms and looked pensive. He gesticulated expansively. He was part professor and full politician enjoying the spotlight.

After a few minutes, Obama seemed to conclude that he would be better served by being out of the picture than as a bystander. “I’ve been keeping the first lady waiting for about half an hour, so I’m going to take off,” he said.

Clinton responded, “Well, I – I don’t want to make her mad. Please go.”

And with that, Clinton had the stage to himself.

Mr. Bill: He’s back. Woot.

Actually, I don’t have any problem with that. Gee, I kinda liked Bill in the White House when he was the Big Dog in the Oval Office. And as you get older, you tend to look fondly at the past as the “good old days.” Who knows. Maybe in another couple decades someone will believe that Jimmy Carter was a good president. Oops. I digress.

Anyway, Prez O certainly needs any help he can get these days.

But I’m not sure that Obama leaving for a holiday party moved the ball forward while Bill was left in charge to sell the administration’s tax cuts.

Here’s from Jon Bershad writing for Mediaite:

However, after introducing Clinton and letting him begin to talk, Obama suddenly announced that he was leaving for a Christmas party and vanished, letting Clinton talk for 25 more minutes as if it was 1996! I guess it could have been worse. Obama could have left to go play hoops.

Seriously, what was the thinking here? This has to be one of the worst PR moves in the entirety of the administration. Obviously, Clinton is probably a more popular Democratic figure right now, but they had to imagine this would hurt Obama. I mean, letting a former president explain your tax bill while you head to a Christmas party? A Christmas party?

Oh well. Just another Friday afternoon Inside the Beltway.

Wonder though if Hillary is warming up in the presidential bullpen for 2012?

Arrrgh.

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