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Bill Clinton Travels Country Praising McCain's Decency, Palin's Instincts, and Barack...Did I Mention McCain and Palin?

7:31 AM, Sep 23, 2008 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Isn't it great to have one of the "greatest political minds and talents of our time" working on behalf of John McCain? He is working for him, right?

Here's Bubba on "The View" yesterday, leaving the gals in a state of slightly confused swoon as he finds no end of ways in which to praise John McCain while Barack Obama becomes little more than a parenthetical.

Elsewhere, Clinton commented on Palin's "hotness:"

"I come from Arkansas, I get why she's hot out there," Clinton said. "Why she's doing well." ...

"People look at her, and they say, 'All those kids. Something that happens in everybody's family. I'm glad she loves her daughter and she's not ashamed of her. Glad that girl's going around with her boyfriend. Glad they're going to get married.'"

Clinton said voters would think, "I like that little Down syndrome kid. One of them lives down the street. They're wonderful children. They're wonderful people. And I like the idea that this guy does those long-distance races. Stayed in the race for 500 miles with a broken arm. My kind of guy."

"I get this," Clinton said. "My view is ... why say, ever, anything bad about a person? Why don't we like them and celebrate them and be happy for her elevation to the ticket? And just say that she was a good choice for him and we disagree with them?"

And, why say anything good about Obama? Um, ever?

On Letterman later that night, Clinton praised Biden, but skipped over Obama again. Here he is, responding to a question about the Palin pick:

McCain, one of the things that I like about him, and I think Americans like about him, is that he is an intuitive politician. and I think he instinctively thought that she would help him, No. 1, excite the people who were potentially his voters. and number two, demonstrate that he could be a change candidate... So he needed to somehow get people's attention. and I think he thought this would do it. and so and it certainly has been interesting. It's been interesting because it generated more enthusiasm on the part of Republicans and being active in politics-more had been giving to Sen. Obama, the enthusiasm gap closed and the only kind of potentially negative thing is you know, when you get a lot of emotion in a campaign it tends to generate more heat than light. And, right now we all need to be thinking here.

The press has a couple courses of action, here, given that Clinton seems to be actively working against their goal, which is to elect Barack Obama. Do they do their best to ignore him entirely? That would certainly turn Clinton more vengeful than even the primary turned him, and let's face it, a former president named Bill Clinton could find a spotlight in the Marianas Trench. They could stop asking him questions about the Hillary pass-over, the Palin pick, and anything about John McCain. But that just leaves them with the option of asking about Barack Obama, and Lord knows what the man will say if you give him an excuse to spout off. For that matter, Lord knows what he'd studiously avoid saying such that it would become a news story regardless.

His talking points seem to be about the general admirability of John McCain and the political gifts of Sarah Palin, and he's not veering. Welcome to the team, Bill!

Update: Celebs turn on the Clintons, who now represent the tragically un-hip, media-bashed, old-and-busted brand of the Democratic Party to Obama's new hotness. They're the Republicans of the Democratic Party, bless their hearts. Chris Rock, appearing after Bill Clinton on Letterman last night, took the former president to task, reminding him that Hillary lost, while the Clinton team doubtless cringed and fumed backstage. Warning: The clip is from network TV, so it's safe, but observe a general Chris Rock warning of basic saltiness in content.