Back in 2007, when Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham Clinton“60 Minutes” tracks how fake news spreads Ill. gov candidate runs as fresh face, despite ties to political machine Huma Abedin 'working hard' on marriage with Anthony Weiner: report MORE was gearing up to run in the '08 Democratic primaries, I had the opportunity to hear her husband, former President Bill ClintonBill ClintonWe must act now and pass the American Health Care Act Trump's message: Russia First or America First? Senate Democrats should grill Judge Gorsuch on antitrust. Here's how. 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 Trump Jeb Bush: Trump a ‘distraction in and of himself’ Protests erupt across Russia, hundreds arrested: reports Ill. gov candidate runs as fresh face, despite ties to political machine 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 ObamaSpeculation grows over Trump FCC pick Graham: Left is 'going insane' after Trump's win President travels again for meetings at Trump golf club in Va. 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.