Huffpost Politics

Obama Says Bill Clinton Will Hit Campaign Trail For Him

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NEW YORK — Barack Obama revealed Wednesday that former President Clinton, once the presidential nominee's nemesis, will campaign for him during the weeks leading up to Election Day.

"There's nobody smarter in politics," Obama said on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman," scheduled to air Wednesday night. "And he is going to be campaigning for us over the next eight weeks, which I'm thrilled by."

The two were scheduled to have lunch Thursday at Clinton's office in New York. Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna said the former president would campaign for Obama at a yet-to-be announced site in Florida on Sept. 29, with plans for more fundraising and events in the works.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton already has been hitting the trail for Obama.

During the Democratic presidential primary, the former president acted as his wife's chief defender from Obama's successful challenge to her candidacy, which strained relations between him and Obama. Clinton portrayed Obama as too inexperienced for a presidential run, and Obama said sometimes it was hard to tell which Clinton he was running against.

The two didn't speak for nearly a month after the campaign ended, but their silence ended when Obama called and the former president offered to do whatever he could to help Obama win.

Obama said there are parallels between his campaign against Republican John McCain and Clinton's 1992 race against incumbent GOP President George H.W. Bush. He said both came during tough economic times.

"He was young and people were still trying to figure out whether or not the guy was up to the job," Obama said of Clinton. "And so I think having him talk about why we need to change the economy in a fundamental way so it works for middle-class families so that they can get ahead, so that they can send their kids to college, I think he'd be a great advocate to have on behalf of the campaign."

Letterman asked Obama if he would consider Bill Clinton for a Cabinet position if he wins.

"I think if you are a former president, you don't take Cabinet positions," Obama said to laughter from the audience. "I think it's sort of been there, done that. It's sort of like getting Mickey Mantle to play AAA. You don't do it. But obviously you consult with him as often as you can, because, look, there are only a handful of people who have actually done the job."

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