06/17/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Ron Burkle, Clinton Supporter, May Face Life As Political Outsider

Ron Burkle, the billionaire best friend of Bill Clinton, thinks he's misunderstood. "It pisses me off that people think everything I do is for a return," he complained during a rare, hourlong interview with L.A. Weekly -- several days before Vanity Fair blistered him in its June 4 takedown of the former first president.

But his public image as a backroom tycoon doling out big contributions for political favors, and VF's slams of him for his business dealings with Bill, may be the least of his problems. With Senator Barack Obama winning the Democratic presidential nomination, and with a definite power shift within the party that's moving away from Bill and Hillary Clinton, political observers are already wondering if Burkle -- a top-echelon supporter of the Clintons -- will end up some kind of loser.

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