'Comeback Kid' Hitting Wall in Granite State

A subdued Bill isn't filling rooms, rousing crowds for Hillary
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2008 8:41 AM CST
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., speaks at her caucus night rally with husband former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008, in Des Moines,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Bill Clinton is running into a Granite wall. Stumping for Hillary's floundering campaign in the state that catapulted his own floundering 1992 campaign to the White House, the master politician is finding half-empty gyms and half-asleep crowds, reports the New York Times. Bill's turned down the wattage, to avoid upstaging his less charismatic wife, and the result  isn't working crowds into a fervor.

The eternal conundrum—"What to do with Bill"—is still plaguing the campaign, the Times notes, as it did  Al Gore's in 2000. Without the 1,000-megawatt smile, he may only serve to remind crowds of his baggage in an era of change. But, let Bill be Bill, aides say, and Hillary takes a backseat. Said one undecided: “I wish Bill were running again.”