Back in action

Bill Clinton stumps for Hillary in his first solo appearance on 2016 campaign trail

Bill Clinton addresses a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton, in Nashua, New Hampshire January 4, 2016. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Bill is back. To much fanfare in New Hampshire on Monday, Bill Clinton made his solo return to the campaign trail with a speech on behalf of wife Hillary Clinton. New Hampshire is a pivotal state for the Clintons. In 2008, when experts were predicting a win for Barack Obama, Hillary won the primary there. And Bill also exceeded pundits’ expectations in the Granite State way back in 1992. He pulled out a second-place finish there, an outcome that breathed life back into a sputtering presidential campaign. Indeed, reporters covering the event noted the change in Bill’s appearance — a thinner and grayer man with a raspier voice than the one who visited as a candidate in the early nineties. He even alluded that a Hillary presidency would hearken back to the policies that contributed to the prosperity of the 1990s. Clinton regaled the audience with recollections of the selfless work Hillary devoted herself to 40 years ago, at a time, he said, when she could’ve landed glitzier, higher-paying jobs. “I do not believe in my lifetime anybody has run for this job at a moment of great importance who was better qualified by knowledge, experience and temperament to do what needs to be done now to restore prosperity,” he said summing up the culmination of Hillary’s vast experience. He also pointed out that the next president has the potential to reshape the Supreme Court, noting that whoever is elected could appoint between one and three justices. “And I know who I want doing that,” Bill remarked.

Of course, it felt a little like Bill had already re-emerged in the 2016 race. Before the calendar turned to 2016, Donald Trump, while feuding with Hillary over sexism, brought up Bill’s past infidelities and the accusations of harassment against him. The Clinton campaign has remained largely silent in the wake of Trump’s remarks that Bill is “one of the great woman abusers of all time” and Hillary has been his “enabler.” In fact, Bill declined to take questions following his speech, but as he made his way out of the venue, a couple of reporters managed to get a query in. “How do you feel about the kind of campaign Donald Trump is running, sir?” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reportedly called out. After a brief pause, Bill, ever the debonair politician, replied, “The Republicans will have to decide on who will be nominated. How I feel is only relevant once they pick a nominee. We’re trying to win a primary. We’ve got to do that first.” Cecilia Vega of ABC News managed to get Bill on camera and directly asked about Trump bringing up his past and whether it’s fair game. Watch it below — he gave basically the same response.

Read the full story at The Washington Post and The Associated Press and watch some highlights from Bill’s speech here.

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