clintonbook123107.jpgBy Kailani
Koenig-Muenster
  12/31/07– It’s common to see a presidential
candidate’s spouse campaign for his or her loved one, but never before
has a spouse actually been a successful presidential candidate him or
herself, twice

Tonight former President
Clinton was scheduled to speak in Ottumwa, Iowa on behalf of his
wife.  But he never made from Omaha, Nebraska because bad weather
kept his plane from starting.

Weather inconveniences aside,
former President Clinton’s presence on the campaign trail raises an
interesting question. Can star power really impact an election? When
do endorsements have an effect on an election, if ever?

Year after year, polls have shown that celebrity endorsements have
no real impact on a candidate’s success.  However, we have never
seen a former president consistently campaign for a new candidate this
early in the game.

At the Ottumwa event there were numerous
people who had already declared their support for one candidate. 
And in many cases, this candidate was not Hillary Clinton.  So,
why should they show up?  It’s because many people are eager to
see the former leader of the free world up-close and personal in a
very intimate setting.

Soundbite: Eileen Osink/Undecided
Voter
“I CONSIDER MYSELF AN INDEPENDENT.  BUT AT THIS POINT,
I’M LEANING MORE TOWARD OBAMA OR EDWARDS.  BUT I WANT TO HEAR
WHAT HE HAS TO SAY BECAUSE I HAVE NOT MADE UP MY MIND AT THIS
POINT.”

The star power of Bill Clinton’s support of Hillary
may translate differently than it does with other big stars, such as
Oprah Winfrey who is supporting Barack Obama.  Clinton has
already established a political credibility that Iowa voters have
trusted in the past.

Hillary campaign staffer Bonnie Eggers
believes that Bill Clinton’s words are powerful enough not only to
seal the deal with undecides, but also to change the minds of the
committed.

Soundbite: Bonnie Eggers/Hillary Clinton
Campaign Staffer  
“HE IS VERY WELL SPOKEN AND HE CAN MAKE A
GOOD CASE FOR HER.  NOT ONLY IS SHE BRIGHT, BUT SHE’S GOT A
FORMER PRESIDENT THAT CAN HELP US ALSO, PARTICULARLY IN MENDING SOME
OF OUR FENCES OVERSEAS.”

Tonight many left disappointed,
even though Bill Clinton did speak to the 650-capacity crowd by
telephone.  He apologized for his absence yet still managed to
emphasize exactly why he believes his wife is a perfect fit for his
old job.  He mentioned her plan to help lower college tuition
costs, make advances in healthcare. He also highlighted her ability to
work with both Democrats and Republicans on key legislation.

Soundbite: Bill Clinton/Former President
“SHE’S GOT HE BEST
COMBONATION OF MIND AND HEART AND LEADERSHIP TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF
ORGINARY AMERICANS.”

The Hillary campaign hopes that having
the former president dutifully on her side will ultimately tip the
caucus returns her way.  We’ll find out Thursday whether or not
his political star power is strong enough to do exactly that.

– Kailani Koenig-Muenster