By Gary P Jackson
Bill Clinton sat down with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and the subject of Sarah Palin came up:
Former president Bill Clinton had words of warning for Democrats who think Sarah Palin could be the best thing to happen to President Obama in a 2012 presidential bid – “It’s always a mistake to underestimate your opponent.”
“In the Republican primaries she’s very popular with the conservative base. She gets more people to come out,” he told me. “And she hasn’t won all of her endorsements, but she’s won most of them. And you know, she’s a compelling, attractive figure.“
Solid commentary from Clinton.
I sat down with the former president as he kicked off the sixth annual Clinton Global Initiative. Palin, who recently made a high profile trip to Iowa, was the subject of Mark Halperin’s “One Nation” column Monday. I asked Clinton to react to Halperin’s take on the former Alaska governor that “Most of all, she is like Bill Clinton: what doesn’t kill Sarah Palin makes her stronger.”
Clinton laughed and then offered his own observations.
“I do think she’s a resilient character. And we may be entering a sort of period in politics that’s sort of fact free, where the experience in government is a negative,” he told me.
“I think she’s clearly a public figure who is, who speaks well and persuasively to the people who listen to her. And she’s somebody to be reckoned with,” he said. “And she’s tough.”
Clinton recalled when “people were making fun of her” he read about Palin’s husband finishing the last 500 miles of Alaska’s Iron Dog race with a broken arm.
“Now, where I come from people like that. They think that’s pretty good,” he said.
Say what you will about Bill Clinton, and there is a lot that can be said, no one can ever say he isn’t a savvy politician. Someone who knows how these things work.
Now obviously, he’s not going to give her a ringing endorsement, and he plays down Sarah’s experience, a lot, but that’s expected. After all, Clinton is the “elder statesman” in the other party. This is a warning though to his fellow democrats. Don’t take Mama Grizzly lightly. Her bite is exactly as strong as her growl!
This isn’t the first time Clinton has talked about Sarah and warned his comrades to be careful. During the 2008 campaign he said he admired her and her abilities, and warned his fellow dems to never take her lightly. Of course, they failed to take Clinton’s sage advice, with disastrous results. Let’s hope they keep ignoring his warnings!
You can see video from the interview here
Oh, and for the record, the snow machine race Stephanopoulos references, the one Todd won with a broken arm, it’s closer to 2000 miles, not 500. Todd is every bit as tough and determined as Sarah!