Bill Clinton: 5 reasons he is helping Obama

Four years ago, former President Clinton got his knuckles rapped for calling Sen. Barack Obama's presidential aspirations a "fairy tale." Now the 42nd president is appearing on the stump with No. 44. Here are five reasons for Mr. Clinton to go all out for the newest member of the Presidents Club.

5. Help boost Clinton’s own legacy as president

Andy Nelson/The Christian Science Monitor/File
President Bill Clinton listens to speakers at a Rose Garden event Friday where he signed the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 in Washington.

As Clinton goes to bat for Obama, he can burnish the positive memories of his eight years in office, during the go-go ‘90s. Over time, public assessments of ex-presidents tend to improve, and Clinton is no exception. In March 2011, the Pew Research Center found 67 percent of the public held an overall opinion of Clinton that was either “very favorable” or “mostly favorable,” up from 46 percent in December 2002, almost two years after he left office.

Opinion on Clinton while he was president was sharply polarized, but in retrospect, many Americans recall that period as one of peace and prosperity. The unpleasant memories of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and impeachment have faded. And as an elder statesman, Clinton can adopt an air of sagacity as he cautions voters not to be impatient with the slow economic recovery.

“If you go back 500 years, whenever a country's financial system collapses, it takes between 5 and 10 years to get back to full employment,” Clinton told the donors in Terry McAuliffe’s backyard April 29. “If you go back for the last 200 years, when buildings had been widely owned by individuals and companies, if there's a mortgage collapse it almost always takes 10 years. He's beating the clock, not behind it. Don't listen to those Republicans. We are beating the clock.”

5 of 5

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.