Mitt Romney spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting today in New York City, and in an election season soaked through with slung mud, one audience got to see a rare moment of political magnanimity.
The former president introduced the Republican candidate by mentioning his support for City Year, a Boston-based, education-focused nonprofit which was the model for AmeriCorps, brainchild of the Clinton administration. (The first of two federal programs based on a Romney-affiliated Massachusetts program, we might add.)
When Romney took the podium, he was quick to thank the former president and echo his kindness. Then he cracked a joke, "If there's one thing we've learned in this election season, by the way, it is that a few words from Bill Clinton can do a man a lot of good." After getting a lot of applause he added, "All I got to do now is wait a couple of days for that bounce to happen."
Romney is no doubt referring to President Obama's modest bounce in the polls coming out of the DNC, a bounce which some have attributed to Clinton's standout speech.
As Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport explained on Jansing and Co. a week after the conventions, "It's very hard to establish causality" when it comes to polling. But when Gallup asked Americans to rate the DNC speeches, 56 percent scored Clinton's speech as "Excellent/Good," to Obama’s 43 percent.
And let's not forget the Romney campaign's official response to Clinton's DNC speech:
"President Clinton drew a stark contrast between himself and President Obama tonight. Bill Clinton worked with Republicans, balanced the budget, and after four years he could say you were better off. Barack Obama hasn’t worked across the aisle – he’s barely worked with other Democrats – and has the worst economic record of any president in modern history. President Clinton’s speech brought the disappointment and failure of President Obama’s time in office clearly into focus."
The Romney campaign has repeatedly sought to highlight Clinton's successes as proof of Obama's failures, and to name this proof as reason enough for independents to jump ship and vote GOP.