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Bill Clinton's New Best Friends

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

It doesn't matter who wins in November; Bill Clinton will end this year on top.

The former president will introduce Barack Obama on the penultimate night of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. That's prime placement for the man who dismissed Obama's campaign as "a fairy tale" four years ago.

In the new USA Network series "Political Animals," Ciaran Hinds plays the lovable coot ex-president ex-husband of Sigourney Weaver's secretary of state, who was appointed by the Democrat who trounced her in a contentious primary. Sunday night, viewers learned that the Big Creep-like Bud Hammond made crazy-talk statements during the race not to sabotage his wife's electability but because he knew she would lose, and he wanted Democrats to blame him for the loss, not her.

A selfless Bubba? Only on cable.

Obamaland hasn't always played well with Clintonia. In his 2009 book, "The Audacity to Win," senior Obama adviser David Plouffe wrote that he signed on with Obama in part because he thought "twenty-eight years of Bushes and Clintons would be too much. Our country needed a fresh start."

On Sunday, Team Obama sang a different tune. Explaining the prime-time slot to The New York Times, Obama guru David Axelrod gushed, "There isn't anybody on the planet who has a greater perspective on not just the last four years, but the last two decades, than Bill Clinton."

Republicans have been feeling the love, as well. During the GOP primary, Newt Gingrich practically attached himself to Clinton's hip. The former House speaker frequently boasted that the two frenemies delivered budget surpluses and welfare reform.

On Monday, Gingrich told reporters that "Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton."

Team Romney also likes to quote Clinton. The real-life secretary of state's spouse praised Romney's business career as "sterling." In June, Clinton told CNBC that Washington should "find some way to avoid the fiscal cliff, to avoid doing anything that would contract the economy," by passing all of the Bush tax cuts temporarily.

Clinton later apologized, but not until after he had made clear what he thinks the smart move would be.

Obamaland believes that Clinton can serve as living proof that Washington can levy a 39.6 percent income tax rate on top earners without weakening the economy. But as the recovery teeters, Clinton certainly doesn't seem to think so.

The Romney campaign sent out a press release Monday that credited Clinton for presiding "over balanced budgets and economic growth."

CNN aired a deadly graphic that showed the creation of 9.9 million jobs in America under Clinton by this point in his presidency. Under Obama, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, America has lost 473,000 jobs.

I am no Gingrich. I lack the nostalgia that many Republicans now exhibit for the Clinton years. So I figure that the Democrats' decision to recruit Clinton as a featured speaker does not bode well for Obama. What Clinton said about the iffy economy applies to an iffy re-election effort: If you want to avoid going off a cliff, don't stand so close to the edge.

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