Why did Bill Clinton do it? We're referring, of course, to the former president's comments on CNN Thursday night, when he essentially cut the legs out from under the Obama campaign's attacks on Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital.
Here's what Mr. Clinton said, vis-a-vis Mr. Romney's career at Bain: “I don’t think we ought to get in a position where we say this is bad work. This is good work."
And he went on: “There’s no question that in terms of getting up and going to the office and, you know, basically performing the essential functions of the office, a man who’s been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold.”
Now, we're sure there are all kinds of Machiavellian theories floating around about how Bill may be intentionally sabotaging President Obama in order to set Hillary up for a run in 2016. But we don't actually buy that.
Others suggest the former president simply misspoke. But we don't buy that either.
Here's the thing: Clinton's comments weren't just "off message." They were a declaration of war on the message. They underscore a fundamental split within the Democratic Party that's less about Romney's record at Bain than it is about whether the party as a whole is perceived as a friend or foe of Wall Street and the world of business and high finance.
Remember, Clinton went to great lengths as president to make the Democratic Party appear more pro-business than it had in decades – supporting free trade, ending "welfare as we know it," and explicitly courting more affluent supporters, particularly on Wall Street.
Since then, when Democratic candidates have seemed to push the party back toward a more explicit economic populism, or appeared to demonize big business, Clinton has often signaled his disapproval. After Al Gore ran on the slogan "the people versus the powerful" in 2000 and lost (though barely), Clinton later commented that he thought Gore's message hadn't worked.
Obama's relationship with Wall Street and the business community has undergone a notable shift between this campaign and the last, and the president's message has taken on a more stridently populist tone. While the last Obama campaign was about creating a new, post-partisan era of government, this one has centered on economic fairness, highlighting inequities in the tax code, and the need for regulations and other policies that protect the little guy. Over the past four years, many business leaders have bristled at what they perceive as unfair attacks coming from the president. And campaign contributions from Wall Street have fallen off precipitously for Obama.
Clinton's defense of Romney – or rather, his implied criticism of Obama's criticism of Romney – may seem like a slap in the face. But if Clinton truly believes that economic populism is a losing strategy for Democrats, his comments may actually have been an effort, in his view, to save the Obama campaign from itself. By undercutting so publicly the Obama campaign's attacks on Romney's career, Clinton may well have permanently – and, yes, somewhat humiliatingly – eliminated that line of argument from the campaign's arsenal. And we'd wager he thinks he was doing them a favor.
President Obama hosted ex-President Bush and Laura Bush on Thursday for the unveiling of their official portraits, and it was a real yukfest. Mr. Obama got things rolling by thanking his predecessor for good advice, kind words, and for outfitting the White House with “a really good TV sports package.”
“I use it,” said the current Oval Office resident.
Things went downhill from there. Or uphill, depending on your view of whether such events should be serious. Mr. Bush was in rare form, combining one of his old favorite comic tropes (calling George Washington the “first George W.”) with some new lines to produce perhaps the first ex-presidential stand-up routine.
“When the British burned the White House ... in 1814, Dolly Madison famously saved this portrait of the first George W.,” said Bush.
Then he pointed to his own painting.
“Now Michelle, if anything happens, there’s your man,” said Bush to general laughter.
Bush thanked his dad, the 41st president, and his mother, who were in the audience.
Then he said, “It is my privilege to introduce the greatest first lady ever ... sorry Mom.”
“Would you agree to a tie?”
(See, that’s funny because he’s introducing his wife, Laura, not his mother, Barbara. And Barbara Bush is not, you know, meek. Nothing like an explanation to suck the life out of a joke, is there?)
The rest of the presentation included Laura Bush’s reference to a Laura Bush bobblehead doll and Michelle Obama’s promise to hang the Bush portraits in place she could easily reach if the British show up to torch the place again.
Why did an episode of “The Daily Show” break out at this simple White House ceremony?
For one thing, George W. has always been a funny guy. Opponents used to complain about his smirk in office, but now that he’s out of office, he can let loose without fear of being accused of inappropriate levity.
For another, both Bush and Obama had ample time to prepare. They scheduled this unveiling a long time ago. We would not be surprised if speechwriters from both sides collaborated on the lines. (You think that’s cynical? Come on, they take the time to poll test how voters react to individual words. Like “Bain” and “Solyndra.”)
Finally, the humor defused what could have been an awkward situation. An ex-president from one party appears on a podium with the new president from another party who complains constantly about the mess he inherited – that sounds like a situation that could get ugly fast if somebody throws an insult. Humor is safer. Even if “Washington humor” is an oxymoron, like “New York humility,” or “L.A. gravitas.”
For a day, at least, the roles in the "war on women" were reversed.
Republicans, for once, backed Democrats into a politically tenuous corner over a hot-button social issue – abortion – while Democrats cried foul, arguing that legislation before the US House was more political ploy than policy change.
The House rejected a measure Thursday that would explicitly ban abortions undertaken on the basis of the fetus's gender, by a vote of 168 against to 246 in favor. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R) of Arizona, did not carry because it was subject to a legislative rule that required approval of 60 percent of House members to pass.
Democrats, who previously knocked Republicans for their stances on the Violence Against Women Act and who are pushing legislation requiring equal pay for men and women, called the vote a political charade.
Democrats also took a page out of House Speaker John Boehner's book by redirecting discussion of a social issue to the economy.
"We should be talking about jobs, but instead we're spending time on this divisive issue," said Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D) of Oregon, on the House floor Thursday.
But conservative groups sensed they had found a way to cast their frequent tormentors into their own choppy political waters with the vote.
"It is to be hoped that even many Members who deem themselves 'pro-choice' will recoil at the notion that 'freedom of choice' must include even the choice to abort a little unborn girl, merely because she is a girl," wrote Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Council (NRLC), in a letter to House members that urged passage of the bill. "Members who recently have embraced contrived political rhetoric asserting they are resisting a 'war on women' must reflect on whether they wish to be recorded as being defenders of the escalating war on baby girls."
While the bill fell short, its defenders and critics disagreed sharply about what exactly the measure would have accomplished. The bill would make it illegal to perform an abortion "knowing that such abortion is sought based on the sex or gender of the child." However, the legislation tilted culpability toward doctors, noting that "[a] woman upon whom a sex-selection abortion is performed may not be prosecuted or held civilly liable for any violation."
"[T]he end result of this legislation would be to subject doctors to criminal prosecution if they fail to determine the motivations behind a very personal and private decision," said White House spokesman Jay Carney on Thursday.
The NRLC, however, pointed to language in the bill that absolved health-care providers from having "an affirmative duty to inquire as to the motivation for the abortion, absent the healthcare provider having knowledge or information that the abortion is being sought based on the sex or gender of the child.”
At the issue's core is this question: Are many sex-selection abortions performed in the United States?
The bill's proponents pointed to a study showing that analysis of the third child born to Chinese, Indian, and Korean parents in the United States "strongly suggest[s]" prenatal sex selection. However, a review of the legislation by the Guttmacher Institute, which backs abortion rights, argues that such practices are not widespread in the the United States overall and that the studies offered by Representative Franks and allied lawmakers cannot prove that abortions for the purpose of sex-selection are a significant problem even in particular immigrant communities.
"What is conclusively known," wrote Guttmacher's Sneha Barot, "is that the U.S. sex ratio at birth in 2005 stood at 105 boys to 100 girls, squarely within biologically normal parameters."
President Obama welcomed his predecessor back to the White House on Thursday for the unveiling of the official George W. Bush and Laura Bush portraits. As we watched the two men interact graciously during the event, we could not help but wonder: Where did it come from?
Not the amity. Obama and Bush are members of the presidents’ club and have more in common with each other than with the leaders of their respective parties. We mean the picture itself. Who chooses the artists for official presidential portraits, and how? Who pays for the painting – taxpayers, private citizens, or presidents themselves?
Well, presidents choose their own painters. But it’s not an easy process. Sometimes things don’t work out – Lyndon B. Johnson picked a second artist after the first produced a painting he thought “ugly” in all ways. And there are many applicants. Portfolios flood into the White House from artists, their agents, galleries, staff members, friends, and family.
During the Clinton administration, Hillary Rodham Clinton reviewed these submissions. The first lady sought advice from the White House curator and the director of the National Portrait Gallery, according to an article by White House curator emeritus Betty C. Monkman in the journal White House History.
After Clinton won reelection, Mrs. Clinton began interviewing artists, sometimes with the president in tow. Just before leaving office Bill Clinton picked the Alabama-born Simmie Knox to produce his official likeness. After seeing the likeness – which depicts a rather formal Clinton standing in the Oval Office – Mrs. Clinton picked Knox for her official first lady portrait as well.
Taxpayers don’t foot the bill for this art. At least, not all taxpayers do. They’re paid for via private donations channeled through the nonprofit White House Historical Association.
“We have for years been underwriting the cost of official presidential portraits,” says Maria Downs, WHCA director of public affairs.
This is a fairly recent phenomenon. Prior to the historical association’s founding in 1961, there was no organized effort to produce a line of presidential and first lady portraits for the White House itself. Well into the twentieth century the commission of official portraits was a “haphazard affair,” according to former curator Ms. Monkman.
In 1800, for instance, Congress allocated $700 to purchase a portrait of the recently deceased George Washington. This paid for what has since become one of the icons of American art, indeed one of the touchstones of American history – the full-length “Lansdowne” portrait by Gilbert Stuart.
Four years after Abraham Lincoln’s death, Congress allocated funds for a Lincoln portrait competition. President Ulysses S. Grant picked the winner: a full-length portrait by Chicago artist William Cogswell. Ironically, today a losing effort from that contest is better known. It’s the famous portrait of a brooding, sitting Lincoln, produced by another Chicago painter, George P.A. Healey. Bought by Lincoln’s son Robert Todd, it eventually ended up back in the White House. Today it hangs in the State Dining Room.
Other notable official portraits include John Singer Sargent’s rendering of Theodore Roosevelt, who appears thrumming with energy, ready to bust from the stairway where he is standing, and Aaron Shikler’s posthumous painting of John F. Kennedy, his eyes downcast, against a gray background that makes him appear almost a ghost.
Presidential paintings hang at the National Portrait Gallery, and in individual presidential libraries, but it is particularly fitting that the White House itself should have the official collection, writes William Seale, editor of White House History.
“Portraits of [presidents] seem to belong there, making windows into that long history,” he writes.
We just finished reading a new report on swing female voters, which is based on a series of focus groups conducted earlier this month in Las Vegas and Philadelphia by the GOP polling firm Fabrizio McLaughlin & Associates and sponsored by the Young Guns Network, a group affiliated with House majority leader Eric Cantor. All the women in these groups either had voted in 2010 for a Republican candidate for governor or had not voted at all, but were now leaning toward President Obama or were undecided.
(We're not sure why the sampling of swing voters didn't also include women who had voted for a Democrat in 2010 but were now leaning toward Mitt Romney – though we'd imagine those women are harder to find, given that 2010 was a terrible year for Democrats, and Mr. Romney currently trails Mr. Obama among women by a considerable, though shrinking, margin.)
Obviously, focus groups, being by definition small, aren't representative of voting populations as a whole. But they can still be enlightening, since they offer a level of insight that polling can't provide into what real voters are thinking.
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The two biggest takeaways from this report: Female swing voters, not surprisingly, care waaaay more about the economy and jobs than any other issue, including so-called "women's issues." And many are not well-informed when it comes to politics and government. (Example: Some participants named Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sarah Palin as current members of Congress.)
To some extent, the report seems to reinforce a point New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman made recently when he called Obama "the worst president I've ever seen when it comes to explaining his achievements, putting them in context, connecting with people on a gut level through repetition and thereby defining how the public views an issue."
Many of the women interviewed had negative views of Obama's health-care reform law – while also acknowledging that they didn't know what was in it. Indeed, the primary complaint about the law seemed to be that it was too big and confusing. Many also said they didn't know much about current tax policies, though when asked if the wealthy should pay more, they were divided.
And a "decent sized minority" of those interviewed had no idea what the "war on women" was.
Tthe women's most common reaction to Romney seemed to be that he was not particularly well-liked by Republican officials, both for being a "flip flopper" and for not being conservative enough. But that perception could actually benefit Romney, since these female swing voters (some of them registered Republicans) also view Republicans in Congress as too narrow on social issues and as "out of touch" with the general population.
These views may help explain why a new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Romney making considerable headway among women voters, gaining 13 percentage points in popularity in the past month, while Obama lost seven points. Obama still leads Romney among women as a whole in the poll by 11 points. But that's down from his margin in 2008, when he won the female vote by 13 points. The president will need a strong edge among women again to win reelection. At the moment, at least, it looks as if he could do a better job of explaining his policies to them.
Is Donald Trump actually a supporter of President Obama? We ask this question because the real estate mogul/reality show host continues to behave in a manner which does not help, or at least to those of us schooled in linear rationality does not appear to help, Mr. Trump’s avowed choice for president, Mitt Romney.
On Wednesday, the day after he hosted a Romney fundraiser in Las Vegas, Trump tripled down on his insistence that Mr. Obama was not born in the United States. As evidence, he continued to cite an old Obama bio from a literary agency that listed the incumbent president as a Kenya native.
“In his own words, @BarackObama ‘was born in Kenya, and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.’ This statement was made, in writing, in the 1990s. Why does the press protect him? Is this another Watergate?” wrote Trump on his Twitter feed.
Now, the agency in question said that bio was a mistake, and wasn’t based on anything Obama told them. The assistant who drafted it said it was in error. More to the point, Obama has released his long-form birth certificate from Hawaii. Mitt Romney has said Obama is native-born.
But according to Trump, the press is protecting Obama, just like it protected Nixon from the Watergate allegations. Or something like that.
Now, the Watergate analogy is instructive, in that it proves the opposite of the point Trump is trying to make. It’s hard to manage conspiracies. People talk out of self-interest, evidence doesn’t get erased, and the next thing you know, there’s a grand jury. And that occurred over a period of months. For Obama to have successfully concealed his origins, the conspiracy would have to stretch over decades, from the US mainland to Hawaii to Kenya and back.
But we digress. The larger point is that Trump is acting like a big pain in the hairline for Romney. No, we don’t think candidates have to repudiate every whacky thing one of their supporters says, or that surrogates represent a candidate entirely, or some such. But Trump is stomping all over Romney’s message.
On Tuesday Romney clinched the nomination by winning the Texas primary. But “Trump,” not “clinch,” was the operative political GOP word of the day. By continuing to make noise about the president’s place of birth, Trump ensures that every Romney surrogate will get asked about it in every appearance. Just about.
Now, according to Byron York, the well-connected conservative political writer for the Washington Examiner, the Romney campaign is not going to play the repudiation game. If Romney denounces Trump, he’ll just get more calls to denounce other people with increasingly tangential links to the Romney campaign.
When John McCain disavowed the radical remarks of some of his supporters, “it contributed to an image of McCain in retreat,” writes York. “So the bottom line is, Romney is determined to stay away from anything that distracts him from the main issue of the campaign.”
OK, that’s a theory, and maybe it will work. But can we just say that at the moment the person who is doing the most to try and distract Romney has the initials “Donald Trump,” not “Barack Obama?”
“At this point, I suspect that Trump no longer believes in the Birther nonsense himself, and the only reason he keeps talking about it is to increase his publicity,” wrote Noah Glynn yesterday on the Corner blog of the conservative National Review.
Amen to that.
President Obama awarded Bob Dylan the coveted Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday. Twelve other deserving Americans got the medals, too – as we wrote yesterday, US presidents can give them to anyone they want. But we’re focusing on Dylan today because he seems to have attracted the most attention of the awardees – and because there’s something about his prize we believe has been overlooked.
No, it’s not the sunglasses he wore to the ceremony. Lots of folks have commented on those. Nor is it his overall demeanor. We’ll agree he seemed uncomfortable, like a boy forced to wear a suit and stand up in front of strangers, if that boy were over 70 years old and had written more immortal songs than anyone alive in the US today.
It’s this: Bob Dylan is the first rock and roll star to win the Medal of Freedom. Ever. As far as we can tell.
We admit we’re creating some arbitrary definitions here so that we can make this statement. First, is Mr. Dylan a rocker, per se? He started as a folkie, went electric, and now has settled into a kind of bard-like phrase, where he reinterprets old blues tunes and Confederate poems and things like that. What he really is, is a musical magpie.
“There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music,” said Mr. Obama, when hanging the medal around Dylan’s neck.
Anyway, Rolling Stone magazine called Dylan a “rock and roll pioneer” in their story on the award. That’s good enough for us. Even if it’s a publication whose name came from a Dylan song.
Yes, King is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But his nickname is “King of the Blues,” so that’s what we’re going with. Mr. Clinton also gave Aretha Franklin the award, in 2005, but we feel safe in saying she’s not rocker either.
After them, the popular musicians who have won the Presidential Medal of Freedom are mostly from eras past. They are singers such as Frank Sinatra (1985) and bandleaders such as Count Basie (1985). Presidents have also bestowed the award on many classical musicians, such as Pablo Casals (1963) and Van Cliburn (2003).
Given all this, we think Dylan’s award says something about the country as well as Dylan himself. The tumultuous political and musical era in which Dylan became a generation’s bard is now far enough in the past to be safely memorialized.
We’re not sure that Dylan himself, as an artist, would be happy about that. “Safe" isn’t something he ever set out to be. Maybe that accounts for the slightly strained look he had in the East Room yesterday.
Of course, to a certain extent he looks that way on stage too. Until he starts to sing.
Mitt Romney clinched the Republican Party presidential nomination on Tuesday with a sweep of the Texas primary. He won 105 delegates in the Lone Star State, according to an Associated Press count, giving him more than the 1,044 votes needed to emerge victorious at the GOP National Convention in Tampa.
For Romney the moment must be sweet. Years of focus on his Oval Office goal and hard work on his campaign persona and strategy have brought him to a level that his father, Michigan Gov. George Romney, tried and failed to reach.
But enough nostalgia. What comes next for the Romney campaign? After all, he now has about three months to try and define himself and the reasons for his candidacy, and make his case against President Obama, before the fall conventions signal the start of the final sprint to November.
Despite the distractions – Donald Trump, Romney’s alleged bullying as a youth, Obama’s pot smoking, Donald Trump again – the US political summer may focus on the essential: the struggle over each candidate’s economic competence.
One can see that in both campaign’s opening artillery salvos of ads. The Obama camp has focused on Mr. Romney’s Bain years, in an attempt to show voters that Romney is not just a businessman, but a particular type of businessman. “Private equity” is a phrase that doesn’t poll well in the United States. Mr. Obama wants to make sure that as many voters as possible equate “private equity” with “Bain” and “Romney.”
On Tuesday, for instance, the Obama campaign put up an ad noting that Romney has now secured the nomination, and then attempted to define him in the incumbent’s preferred terms. The “Little to Like” ad dwelt on Bain, and had clips of noted Romney flubs such as his “Corporations are people, my friend” line from a stump appearance.
Romney, for his part, wants the focus to remain on Obama, so that the election will be a referendum on what’s happened over the last four years. With Republicans now rallying behind the former Massachusetts governor, the divisiveness of the primary season has ended, and Romney can turn the full force of his rhetoric and resources on his general election opponent.
For instance, Romney hopes to use the word “Solyndra” to counter “Bain,” as a shorthand means of grappling over economic records. A new Romney ad uses the Solyndra solar panel firm as an example of wasteful spending, saying that it took $535 million in taxpayer loan guarantees, and then went bankrupt.
We’ll note that both the Obama Bain ad cited above and Romney’s Solyndra effort aren’t exactly paragons of accuracy.
An Obama ad hits Romney for job losses at a Bain-owned firm that shut down long after he’d left Bain, for instance. On the Solyndra effort, a Politico story asserts that “Romney’s campaign takes liberties: lumping in facts with conjecture, citing job losses without mentioning that many of them occurred in Europe and Asia and vaguely charging that somebody’s ‘friends and family’ wound up with taxpayers’ money.”
Will these ads make a difference? The campaigns hope they will, but it’s also possible that larger forces – the direction of the unemployment rate, the fate of the Eurozone, and so forth – will be the unseen hands affecting the electoral result in November.
Right now, the RealClearPolitics rolling average of major polls has Obama in the lead over Romney by 2.3 percentage points, 45.9 to 43.6 percent. For Obama, that’s a slight improvement since May 8, when the same measurement had the pair essentially tied.
It’s early yet. But the closer to Labor Day we get, the more that polling average will matter.
President Obama handed out 13 of these coveted decorations in an East Room ceremony on May 29. The aforementioned Mr. Dylan was one of the recipients. As he and John Glenn, Toni Morrison, and other 2012 honorees bowed to have the spiffy white star hung around their necks, we got to thinking: Where does the Presidential Medal of Freedom come from, anyway? How does it compare to the Medal of Honor and other top US decorations? Why did Dylan wear sunglasses to Tuesday’s East Room investiture?
That last question is unanswerable by us. As to the rest we’re now in position to provide a little US Medals 101 education, courtesy of the always helpful work of Congressional Research Service scholars.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom was established by Harry S. Truman to reward World War II-connected activities. In 1945, the first awards were bestowed on four women who had shown conspicuous service and/or bravery, including Anna M. Rosenberg, a member of the War Manpower Commission, and Marie Louise Dissard, a leader of the French Resistance.
Throughout the late 1940s and early ‘50s the medal went to figures related to security or diplomacy. In 1963, however, President John F. Kennedy made a major change, establishing the award as we understand it today. Via an executive order, JFK expanded those eligible to include “any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
In other words, pretty much anybody who’s accomplished anything the president of the US likes.
That’s the second interesting part of the Medal of Freedom equation: it is something the president alone decides.
“As such, recipients tend to reflect the personal and political interests of the President. The accomplishments of past recipients have been in wide-ranging fields, including public service, journalism, business, sports, and entertainment,” wrote Barbara Salazar Torreon of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in a 2004 report on the subject.
Presidents themselves often win the Presidential Medal of Freedom. At least, every president from JFK to George H.W. Bush has, as successors from their own party honor their brethren. (There is one exception – Richard Nixon.) Military figures can win it as well. World War II hero Army Gen. Omar Bradley received one in 1977. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf of Gulf War fame got his in 1991.
However, to be clear, the military has its own top award for heroism in battle. That’s the Medal of Honor, which was first presented in 1863. “It is the nation’s highest military honor, awarded for acts of personal bravery or self-sacrifice that are above and beyond the call of duty,” according to Torreon of CRS.
Much attention has been given to Mitt Romney's fundraiser with Donald Trump Tuesday. But there's another meeting taking place in Las Vegas that could be far more important for the former Massachusetts governor.
We're referring to his private get-together at The Venetian with Sheldon Adelson, the wealthy casino magnate who pretty much single-handedly bankrolled Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign and may now be willing to put some of his considerable resources behind Mr. Romney.
This would be the second high-profile meeting between the two men, who also sat down back in February, when Mr. Adelson first publicly indicated that he would support Romney should he eventually become the nominee (though at that time, Mr. Gingrich was still technically in the race).
Adelson, a Massachusetts native, gave a total of $20 million to the "super political-action committee" supporting Gingrich, and has given another $5.3 million to other conservative candidates and groups, making him the single most generous donor of this campaign cycle. So far, however, there's no indication that he has given anything to Romney, whom he criticized last March as being "like Obama" and not a "bold decisionmaker" like Newt.
If Adelson – who, according to Bloomberg, is the 17th richest person in the world – does get on board as a Romney contributor, it would be a significant capstone on what has been, on the whole, a pretty striking turnaround from Camp Gingrich. After a prolonged primary fight, in which it was clear both sides felt personally bruised, Gingrich has lately emerged as an active – and pretty decent – Romney surrogate.
On NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, he cheerfully parried questions about Romney's record at Bain (which Gingrich himself had famously attacked during the primary), and managed to seem relatively comfortable doing so. He praised Romney as "much tougher than I thought," and called himself "totally committed" to a Romney victory. Notably, Gingrich will be present at tonight's fundraiser with The Donald.
Making nice with a onetime bitter rival for the nomination isn't all that uncommon in presidential politics – particularly among longtime Washington types who understand that this is how the game is played. That doesn't mean it isn't difficult, but usually both sides seem to recognize that it's in everyone's interest to swallow their emotions and come together.
Sen. John McCain famously put his bad feelings aside to endorse George W. Bush back in 2000 and was rewarded with his party's nomination – and President Bush's endorsement – in 2008 (though their appearances together always felt somewhat forced). Hillary Rodham Clinton endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and went on to become his Secretary of State.
What does Gingrich hope to get in return for getting on the Romney bandwagon? Well, he's pretty realistic when it comes to his chances of being on the ticket – telling NBC's David Gregory that he thinks it's "highly implausible." But he'd probably like some help retiring his campaign debt. And who knows, maybe he thinks there could be a cabinet or other prominent position down the road for a self-described "grandiose thinker." NASA here he comes.