DALE CITY, Va. —
Cuccinelli’s campaign sought to turn Clinton’s star power among Democrats into another way to build enthusiasm among his conservative supporters. Even before the pair arrived at the veterans’ hall here in northern Virginia, Cuccinelli’s campaign had already sent reporters a memo recounting the years of Clinton-McAuliffe collaboration for Democrats.
“As Terry McAuliffe spends the next few days traveling the state with Bill Clinton, Virginia voters should remember the troublesome space McAuliffe occupied as the middleman between the dangerous intersection of big-dollar special interest donors and high-ranking elected officials,” the memo said. “The Commonwealth of Virginia neither needs nor deserves the McAuliffe-Clinton baggage.”
What Republicans called “baggage” — questions over the Clintons’ finances, Bill Clinton’s affair with a White House intern and his subsequent impeachment — seems to have faded for many voters. Bill Clinton’s approval ratings have improved since he left the White House in 2001 and voters have not lost interest in Hillary Rodham Clinton since she stepped down as President Barack Obama’s top diplomat earlier this year.
Clinton made only one passing mention of his wife, nothing that he was holding up a signup sheet to show voters because “Hillary did it” when she appeared with McAuliffe.
Every step Hillary Rodham Clinton has taken since leaving the State Department has been examined for its 2016 implications. And Bill Clinton’s return to full-time campaigning — even if for only a few days — was sure to add to speculation about whether a Clinton could call the White House home again in 2017.
Democrats have been relentless in painting Cuccinelli — who is known outside the state best as the first to challenge President Barack Obama’s health care law — as a political ideologue and not someone who is unwilling to compromise.
Clinton happily added his voice to that message.