If there's a big political rally in your area, chances are that Bill Clinton is in town.
The former president is proving to be a huge draw on the campaign trail as the Nov. 6 election approaches and as he attempts to mobilize Americans to vote for President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats.
By all indications, Clinton is an effective weapon in Obama's arsenal, at least in terms of the crowds he draws and the enthusiasm they display when they hear him. He is widely admired as a president who presided over a time of prosperity and relative peace, despite the character flaws that led to his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky and his impeachment by the House for lying. The Senate acquitted him.
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At Arizona State University in Tempe Wednesday, he urged support for Democratic senate candidate Richard Carmona and told a crowd of several thousand that the Democratic approach of aggressively using government to help people is best for the country. He urged Americans to back Obama for re-election because Obama supports a "we're-all-in-this-together" approach and because he has a solid record or accomplishment, such as his winning passage of a massive health care overhaul and his defense of Medicare.
Criticizing Republican efforts to block Obama's agenda, Clinton said "the most successful societies on Earth" feature "creative cooperation" instead of "constant conflict." Urging support for government programs such as student loans, he added: "'We're all in this together' trumps 'you're on your own.'"
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Earlier this week, Clinton spoke to 8,000 at the University of California at Davis, and addressed a rally in Las Vegas where he reprised many of the themes that were so well received at the Democratic National Convention several weeks ago. Clinton said Republican challenger Mitt Romney is again changing his views. "I had a different reaction to that first debate [between Romney and Obama last week] than a lot of people did," Clinton said. "I thought, 'Wow, here's old moderate Mitt. Where ya been, boy? I missed you all these last two years.'"
Clinton is scheduled to campaign for Obama and the Democrats Friday in Indiana and Iowa.
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Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook and Twitter.