Back in 2007, when Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump warns against Syrian refugees: 'A lot of those people are ISIS' Overnight Finance: Senate sends Puerto Rico bill to Obama | Treasury, lawmakers to meet on tax rules | Obama hits Trump on NAFTA | Fed approves most banks' capital plans Bush World goes for Clinton, but will a former president? MORE was gearing up to run in the '08 Democratic primaries, I had the opportunity to hear her husband, former President Bill ClintonBill ClintonBush World goes for Clinton, but will a former president? Mark Cuban dined with Bill Clinton GOP senator: Trump could lose Arizona MORE, speak at a private reception on her behalf.
I distinctly remember turning to my friend immediately after he finished and saying, "No one, and I mean not even Hillary herself, could give that kind of comprehensive speech about her readiness to serve." Simply put, Bill was Hillary's most effective advocate on the campaign trail.
I hope neither Clinton will be distracted by the Republican front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump warns against Syrian refugees: 'A lot of those people are ISIS' Cleveland takes out M insurance policy for convention Man who allegedly planned to kill Trump charged MORE. He not only has viciously attacked Hillary, he recently has turned his long knives on Bill. While this strategy might play well with GOP voters this winter and spring, I'm not certain it will resonate with the general electorate next fall. Here's why:
When Bill Clinton became president, George H. W. Bush handed him the keys to the Oval Office along with a budget deficit of $290 billion. When Clinton left office eight years later, George W. Bush inherited a budget surplus of $86.4 billion. After paying for two wars on credit cards, the Bush economy was in free fall when Barack ObamaBarack ObamaClinton camp: Trump's fundraising 'bragging is total bunk' Football coach Ditka: 'Happy' to speak at GOP convention but not invited Obama blames ISIS for Istanbul attack MORE took office in 2009. It's taken years, but the Obama economy is robust today.
All of which proves, as Clinton himself often boasts, "If you want to live like a Republican, then vote Democratic." That was true in the 1990s, and still will be true after Hillary wins the presidency later this year.
National security and economic growth are the two issues voters care most about in a general election. Bill Clinton understands these issues better than all the current GOP presidential candidates combined. Personally, I'm glad Bill's campaigning for Hillary now. Despite how The Donald tries to position him today, I think the former president is going to be a huge asset for the future president come November.
Freidenrich writes from Laguna Beach, California. He served as a congressional staff assistant on Capitol Hill in 1972. He can be reached on Twitter @freidomreport.