Player of the Week: Former President Bill Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton has always found it easy to command a news cycle — for good or ill.

He drew attention away from his wife, then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. In 2010, he was in the news for backing different candidates than President Obama in several Democratic primaries. And last week he had to clarify his remarks on Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, which were seen as praise for the presumptive GOP nominee.

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This week is likely to produce another round of Clinton headlines as he appears with Obama at a series of fundraisers and because he is involved in several of Tuesday’s leading political races.

Clinton and Obama hit three fundraisers in New York City on Monday evening, one at a private home, a major gala at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel and a final event, called “Barack on Broadway,” at the New Amsterdam Theatre.

While the two men were in agreement that night, they are taking opposing positions in one of the major congressional primaries taking place Tuesday.

In New Jersey, Clinton is backing Rep. Bill Pascrell in his primary with fellow Democratic Rep. Steve Rothman.

Pascrell was a Hillary Clinton supporter in 2008, while Rothman supported Obama.

Clinton was in the Garden State on Friday to stump for Pascrell. But while he was there, Rothman was meeting with Obama at the White House, a visit that happened to take place in front of the press.

The White House says Obama wasn’t endorsing Rothman, who nevertheless put out a statement noting it was Obama — who else? — who invited him for the Oval Office visit.

The race is being seen as a proxy war between the presidential duo, but in another contest, Clinton is coming to Obama’s aid.

The former president went to Wisconsin to rally Democratic voters for Tom Barrett, who is challenging Republican Gov. Scott Walker in Tuesday’s recall election.

The election is important for unions, which are angry at Walker for limiting bargaining rights. Several officials expressed disappointment and frustration with Obama for not coming to Wisconsin to rally to the labor flag. 

But Clinton campaigned in his stead, something unions will remember.

And, if that’s not enough, the former president even predicted a winner for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

He told an announcer at the Meadowlands Racetrack that Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Dullahan was “the real wildcard” in the race, according to CBS News. 

But the card observers will be watching this week is Clinton’s political one, waiting to see if the former president’s legendary campaign skills will put his picks in the winner’s circle.

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