WASHINGTON (CNN) – Bill and Hillary Clinton attended the memorial service for Tim Russert at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington on Thursday. That was the first time I have seen them since Senator Clinton dropped out of the presidential race and endorsed Barack Obama. She was very enthusiastic that day. It dawned on me yesterday that we still haven’t heard the former President formally endorse Senator Obama. I am sure he will be on the Obama bandwagon openly and energetically fairly soon. But I wonder what’s taking so long. Then again, is it really all that long?
As our CNN contributor and Democratic strategist James Carville has pointed out, it was only the other day when Al Gore endorsed Obama. We shouldn’t be surprised that Bill Clinton is waiting for the right moment to deliver his big endorsement speech. And having covered the Clinton White House, I can predict that it will be a major media event when he does. Bill Clinton is just one of those remarkable political figures. When he wants to do something, he has a knack of doing it in a spectacular way.
But after that big endorsement is made, how active will the former President be on the campaign trail?
The answer is: I don’t know. I suspect some Obama supporters will want to see him very actively out there. He remains very popular with a lot of Democrats. Others might want him to step back. I remember that Al Gore, back in 2000, didn’t use Bill Clinton all that much, even in states where he might have made a difference. I am referring to Arkansas specifically. Had Gore won Arkansas in 2000, he would have been president. That one state’s electoral votes would have made the crucial difference.
We will soon begin to learn what roles the two Clintons will take. Those of us who are political news junkies will find it fascinating no matter what they do.
One final thing: what about Chelsea Clinton? She was an amazing campaigner for her mom. Let’s see what she does for Obama.