Former President Bill Clinton appeared at four campaign rallies in Iowa on his wife’s behalf Tuesday, but it’s his dealings with the media that are getting the most scrutiny.
Last Friday, Clinton said Americans would "roll the dice" if they select first-term Illinois Senator Barack Obama as president. But during a conversation with reporters on a Des Moines street that was captured on video by Time magazine Tuesday, the former president seemed to be stepping away from that statement. "I’ve bragged on all of ’em — Senator Obama, Senator Edwards, all of ’em. I like ’em. I think she has the best record of making change in other people’s lives in the most different circumstances and I think that’s important for the next president."
Earlier Tuesday, Clinton’s wife and ex-NBA star Magic Johnson chatted with people in a Des Moines Hy-Vee store’s deli, but Bill Clinton strolled into the fresh produce section where, again, he began to talk with reporters about campaign strategy.
"Basically what you’re trying to do here is to accellerate a process for Iowa Caucus-goers that has already happened in New York. It happened in Arkansas and it’s happened every place she’s ever lived and worked, you know. We’ve got all these people coming from Arkansas," Clinton said.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff then interrupted Bill Clinton mid-sentence, trying to put an end to Bill Clinton’s exchange with the media.
"Hey guys. Hey guys. Thank you, guys," one staffer said to the media surrounding Bill Clinton.
"Thanks folks, we’re going to walk around and shake some hands," another staffer interjected as Bill Clinton was steered back into the deli.
Hillary Clinton’s aides then quickly erected a rope line, asking the media to stand behind it — positioning the candidate, her husband and Magic Johnson in front of the media throng. It was at this point that Hillary Clinton suggested she was uncomfortable with having her long-time friends in Iowa, giving personal testimonials.
"I know that, you know, people have been saying, ‘Well, you know, we’ve got to know more about her. We want to know more about her personally,’ and I totally get that. It’s a little hard for me…It’s not easy for me to talk about myself. I’d rather talk about Magic, you know," Clinton said, turning to the ex-NBA star and the two laughed. "But I think that by having people who have known me and who can talk about, you know, what I do when the lights are off and the cameras are gone…maybe that’ll give a little bit of insight that will kind of round out who I am as a person as well as the kind of leader I’ll be."
During a mid-day rally in Davenport, Magic Johnson said the more he practiced, the better he got at basketball and Johnson went on to suggest Clinton rival Barack Obama was a "rookie" who shouldn’t be entrusted with the presidency.
"We do not want somebody in there that is young or a rookie at politics," Johnson said. "We want somebody in there that knows what they’re doing because this job is so huge."
Obama has repeatedly said Washington experience shouldn’t be a measuring stick since those with Washington experience, like Clinton, had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.