Bill Clinton Tells Va Campus Hillary Would 'Stop Bad Things'

By Evan Moore | July 7, 2008 | 8:32 PM EDT

Fairfax, Va. ( - In advance of today's Potomac Primaries in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., former President Bill Clinton led a rally for his wife's campaign at George Mason University Monday night.

Although polls show Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) trailing Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in Maryland and the District, some analysts think Clinton has a chance in Virginia.

The "first thing that you want in a president is somebody who will keep big bad things from happening," President Clinton told the crowd at GMU. A president must also "make sure good things happen." The former president said the nation needs a "change-maker, and she's been one all of her life."

Clinton said his wife's candidacy was now "in some ways, an underdog campaign." But he noted that the Clinton for president campaign has raised $12 million online since last week when word spread that their campaign was low on funds.

The president emphasized that he would support his wife's candidacy, even if he were not married to her -- because of her position on issues and her record as "a change-maker" over the past 35 years.

Sen. Clinton's proposal to deal with the housing crisis is "by far the most aggressive" plan out there, he said, and her ideas to create "green-collar jobs" to improve America's infrastructure are critical to address short-term employment needs and the long-term threat posed by global warming, he added.

Primary preview

According to the RealClearPolitics average of public opinion polls for the Democratic primary in Virginia, Obama leads Clinton by 18 percentage points in Virginia.

Obama is expected to carry predominantly black districts in Hampton Roads and Richmond. He also has the support of Virginia's Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine, who is a national co-chairman of Obama's campaign and the first governor to support Obama outside his home state of Illinois.

Rep. Rick Boucher, whose 9th Congressional District covers Appalachia, and Rep. Bobby Scott, whose 3rd district covers urban areas from Newport News to Richmond, also support Obama.

Chris Beer, a leading Republican blogger in Virginia, reported that "Obama's support is widespread and across the state in terms of endorsements. Rural, Northern Virginia, black leaders, women, everyone. I expect Obama to blow up in Richmond and among rural black voters."

Beer, however, does not think Obama will win the Virginia primary today. On his blog, he told his readers: "Look to Massachusetts. Then look to Northern Virginia."

"As Massachusetts showed, endorsements mean nothing in this primary for Democrats," wrote Beer. "Real divisions along race and sex have developed in the Democrat primary .... I think the grassroots liberals in the party will come out for Hillary in huge numbers."

He also noted that Northern Virginia is full of federal employees who remember and like Bill Clinton, and that could translate into support for Hillary Clinton.

Seasoned political analysts agree that things may not go Obama's way in Virginia on Tuesday.

On Monday, Democratic political strategist and Fox News contributor Susan Estrich, as well as veteran political reporter Robert Novak, both wrote in their columns that Obama could be hindered by the "Bradley Effect" -- a phenomenon in which voters -- wanting to appear open-minded -- tell pollsters they'll support an African-American candidate, then support a white candidate in the privacy of the voting booth.

Pointing to strong and unexpected Clinton victories in New Hampshire and California earlier in this cycle, Estrich wrote for "If you paid attention to the gushers in the press and punditry in the days leading up to Super Tuesday, Hillary was on her way to the morgue, murdered by her crazy husband's loose talk, abandoned by young voters and women and anti-war Democrats, and anyone else they could think of. Not so."

"Partly, it's a measure of Hillary's strength," said Estrich. "But it's also a sign of Obama's weakness which, it seems, we who chatter for a living have been reluctant to speak about, lest we be tarred with having raised the 'race card.'"

Novak added, "In California's primary last Tuesday, Obama lost by a landslide 10 percentage points after late surveys showed him ahead by 10 and 13 points. (Read the commentary)

"Was this presumed 20-point reversal caused by the Bradley Effect, which has worried Democratic leaders about Obama since he became an obstacle to Hillary Clinton's majestic procession to the Oval Office?" asked Novak. "It is much too early for that conclusion, but the subject is in the minds and private comments of Democratic politicians pondering the stalemate for the party's presidential nomination."

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