Bill Clinton steps into New Hampshire campaign

Printed from:

NASHUA, N.H. – Bill Clinton made his first campaign appearances of 2016 on behalf of his wife, Hillary, and immediately provided fodder for wags across the Atlantic, who focused on some young women standing behind him rolling their eyes, frowning and grimacing as he delivered his remarks at a community college.

“A young woman standing in the back against a Hillary ‘Fighting for us’ backdrop closed her eyes for significant stretches of time as TV cameras rolled and a girl in front of her scowled and fought off a yawn,” London’s Daily Mail reported online, describing the former president a “famous political Lothario.”

Clinton, returning to the political stage to stump for his wife for the first time since 2008, put on a more restrained performance than he did eight years ago, when he sometimes outshined Hillary in her first campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. With a hoarse voice and looking a bit more frail, the 69-year-old from Arkansas declared that “I don’t fit anymore” in the political scene.

“First of all, I’m a happy grandfather. I’m not mad at anybody,” he explained to the several hundred supporters who assembled in Nashua.

Clinton ignored shots taken at him by Republican presidential contender Donald Trump over his past marital infidelities. Asked if his past is fair game in this year’s campaign, the New York Times reported that he deftly deflected the question:

“The Republicans have to decide who they want to nominate,” Clinton said, according to the Times. “I think there’s always attempts to take the election away from people, so I’m just going to give it to them.”

Earlier in Manchester, New Hampshire, Clinton gave a similar reply to questions about Trump’s attacks and the Republican candidates, according to the Associated Press.

“They have to choose a nominee and we have a primary to win,” he said, the AP reported. “One of my many rules in politics is don’t look past the next election.”

In Exeter, his last public stop of the day in the Granite State, Clinton avoided commenting on the Republicans in the race and focused on his wife’s campaign and her track record, calling her the most prepared and competent candidate in the race. He also touched on issues such as health care, drug abuse and the economy, and the need to rebuild the American middle class through an inclusive strategy.

Trump, a billionaire developer from New York and a former reality television star, has accused Hillary of being an “enabler” for Clinton in his “abuse” of women, including White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Clinton alluded to the GOP field by pointing out in Nashua that candidates generally express their beliefs on the issues while on the campaign trail.

“You have to take them seriously,” he said. “It’s kind of scary this year.”