June 9th, 2010
09:45 AM ET
4 years ago

Clinton and Palin winners without running

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 Former president Bill Clinton is being credited with helping Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas survive a Democratic Senate primary runoff Tuesday.
Former president Bill Clinton is being credited with helping Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas survive a Democratic Senate primary runoff Tuesday.

Washington (CNN) – They weren't on the ballot, but Bill Clinton and Sarah Palin are two of the biggest winners in this latest round of primaries.

The former president is being credited with helping Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas survive a Democratic Senate primary runoff Tuesday.

"President Clinton called me tonight when it was clear we were going to win and said, 'Blanche, you're the new Comeback Kid'," Lincoln said in an email to supporters.

Lincoln topped Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter 52 percent to 48 percent, after both candidates were forced into the runoff after neither broke the 50 percent mark in a three way primary contest last month.


Clinton, an Arkansas native who served as governor for 12 years before winning the 1992 presidential election, is still very popular in the state. He campaigned with Lincoln at a rally in Little Rock on May 28. Last Friday, Lincoln's campaign began airing a TV commercial that highlighted Clinton from that event.

The 30-second spot featured video of Clinton quoting from a Washington Post article that said that national labor unions had decided to make Lincoln "the poster child for what happens when a Democrat crosses them."

Titled "The President," the ad closes with Clinton telling the crowd that "if you want to be Arkansas' advocate, vote for somebody that will fight for you."

Lincoln's victory makes it two for Clinton when it comes to his impact on elections. The former president campaigned last month for Mark Critz, the Democratic candidate in the last month's special election to fill the late Democratic Rep. Jack Murtha's Pennsylvania seat. Critz defeated Republican Tim Burns.

When it comes to endorsements, Palin went three for three in Tuesday's statewide contests. The former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee's endorsement last month of state lawmaker Nikki Haley in the South Carolina GOP gubernatorial contest arguably helped that candidate's rise in the polls. On Tuesday, Haley far outpaced her three male rivals. But Haley fell just shy of capturing 50 percent of the vote, forcing her into a June 22 runoff against Rep. Gresham Barrett, who finished a distant second at 22 percent.

Palin recorded an automated phone call urging Republicans in South Carolina to vote for Haley and was featured in one of the candidate's television ads. In the robocall, Palin tells voters she is "calling on behalf of my good friend, and a brave and strong conservative woman, Nikki Haley."

Palin was also one of Haley's staunchest defenders in the wake of two separate allegations of infidelity that were fired at the candidate, saying that Haley's rivals were attacking her with "made-up nonsense to try to knock you down."

Palin also recorded a robocall for Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard CEO who easily won California's Republican Senate nomination. Fiorina captured 56 percent of the vote in a three person field, far ahead of former Rep. Tom Campbell and state assemblyman Chuck DeVore. In the Fiorina robocall, Palin said she wanted to "….help get our country back on track" by supporting her.

Palin's endorsement of Fiorina last month irked some Tea Party activists in the state who backed DeVore. Fiorina attended some Tea Party meetings in the last few weeks trying to build up her support among that group.

In a speech to the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List last month, Palin defended her endorsement. "Some wanting to accuse her of being a RINO (Republican In Name Only), I say no, no. There in the deep blue California, she is unabashedly pro-life, and all those other common sense conservative things that she stands for. She's the real deal. And I appreciate you, too, being bold enough and strong enough to take a stand in that race and to take a stand in so many of these races across the country."

Palin's endorsement of former Gov. Terry Branstad over Bob Vander Plaats, considered by some to be the more conservative candidate in Iowa's gubernatorial primary, also rubbed some conservative activists the wrong way. Branstad won the GOP nomination, topping Vander Plaats and Rod Roberts.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: 2010 • Bill Clinton • Sarah Palin
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. west2770

    I am an Independent. The more I read the statement from Sarah Palin, the more I realize how empty she is.

    June 9, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. Betty SC

    I think now is the time for Sarah to let Nikki do her thing and not bring too much attention to the scandal. Sarah bought baggage in her campaign and so do Nikki. The smart thing for her to do is really speak to the people and let it be known that what is in the past should stay there. South Carolina do not and I repeat do not need another Republican who will not fight for the South Carolinans. Nikki is one sided and she needs to enclude all the people whether they are rich or poor, black, white, or of other race. Because she is not a true American, with a scandal.

    June 9, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. Jeff

    Palin is not, and never will be a "winner". I'd expect this from Peter Hamby.

    June 9, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. Florida Joe

    Democrats owe Palin for this one...She delivered two Whacko candidates that will make the Dems chances far better in November.........

    June 9, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  5. Jake

    Palin a "winner"? Be serious. Palin is simply a delusional ego-maniac that the less educated and self-serving flock to like flies to manure. Her inability to put a cohesive sentence together on her own is laughable. I'm not impressed by her "folksy" rants; no substance at all. Didn't we see video of her having some sort of exorcism performed on her at some church when she first appeared thanks to McCain? Yikes!

    June 9, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. dave

    palin is a joke along with her husband and kids, anyone thinks she really helped anyone can see russia from their house also, trailer trash deserves trailer trash

    June 9, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. TangledThorns

    Liberals should be scared. Sarah Palin is creating a strong cadre of Republican women that will catapult her to winning the White House in 2012. Another fact the lame stream media is missing is that Sarah Palin has endorsed many African American GOP candidates as well.

    June 9, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. watching

    Keep piling on....
    I see how all the media reports that everything is a loss for Obama. Obama endorsed Lincoln but did not go in the last weeks of the campaign so it's not a win for him.

    June 9, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. wisny

    Clinton-endorsed candidate Libby Mitchell also won Maine's Democratic Gubernatorial nomination in yesterday's primaries. He sent emails and recorded robocall for her.

    June 9, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  10. Skee

    How ironic, any person associated with Sarah Palin is destined to lose....

    Ms. Palin is basically a female Rush Limbaugh, she's extremely polorizing, and lacks credibility.....

    Any politician that plays the roll of "Pot Stirrer", will have a negative impact when it comes to elections in this country.......

    June 9, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  11. Peace

    For Pres. Clinton he deserves the win I agree. But for the queen of Alaska, not at all. What she does is to wait and see how and where the wind blows to, and make her endorsement. This can not be counted as a win for her, it is just only the LITTLE PUSH!

    June 9, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Bill from GA

    It would be great if the message in Senator Lincoln's win was that big-money, outside influence doesn't pay off. Whether it is extreme left or extreme right. I don't expect that to be the case, but it would be nice if voters in America were all smart enough to ignore outsiders when they vote.

    June 9, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. Indy

    Palin a winner ? She is a complete fraud and this is a very well proven fact in Alaska. She has done nothing but lie for two years straight and her entire year as Governor was a ceremonial position with real people doing the actual thinking and making adult decisions. Congratulations to the suckers that made her rich and believe one word of her lies.

    June 9, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. Larry

    It must have been slime ball Tuesday.

    June 9, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. JonDie

    Win or lose, Palin is a LOSER along with every person who supports this bozo.

    June 9, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. RTB

    Bubba Clinton's endorsement may have helped. But the unannounced closing of the polling stations in the stronghold of challenger Bill Halter is by far the reason Bubba Blanche tweaked ahead.

    It is a disgrace what has occurred in Arkansas.

    June 9, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. aneanderthal

    I think the winners and losers will be decided in the general election. Calling Clinton a winner for pulling out Blanche Lincoln, a sure loser in the general election takes some chutzpah. The only thing Clinton did is make the slimy crooks from SEIU spend a lot of unnecessary money. Don't worry though, SEIU can steal a lot more from its membership and if that isn't enough the can talk the president they own in to creating another stimulus bill to steal more money for them from hard working Americans.

    June 9, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  18. Sour Palin .. curdling everything in her path.

    Great, CNN. Just great. Do you really need to feed into Sour Palin's uncontrolled narcissism? She will never SHUT UP if you keep giving her a soap box to screech from. Everytime she farts, you report it as if it were a discovery that will change the world.

    June 9, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. emma

    You are assuming endorsements make a big difference in influencing votes. Many other factors influence voting.

    June 9, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. Leann

    Anyone that believes that Sarah Palin voice of opinion has any meaning is in sad shape. She is a grudge holder that does not take accountability for her own actions. He enjoys finger pointing, criticizing and blaming others for any negativity. I am an educated married woman with 4 children and find her actions to be embarrassing and appalling. I have fought hard to be treated like an equal in the corporate world. I can tell you that conservatives do not make it easy for women to climb the ladder. Society is only forcing them act like they respect women.

    Sarah Palin looked like an idiot on television last night. The only thing that is going on in that mind of hers is how great she thinks she is.

    June 9, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    "The former president is being credited with helping Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas survive a Democratic Senate primary runoff Tuesday..."

    One corporate sellout helping another. Have a nice day!

    June 9, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. rachel

    Lincoln should be very thankful to my man bubba.

    June 9, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  23. Mary Ann

    Please Sarah,do everyone a favor,slither back under a rock with the rest of the snakes.

    June 9, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  24. Master of Deception

    You betcha!

    June 9, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. How's That Dopey, Mangey Thing Workin' For Ya, Sarah?

    To equate Palin's influence to that of Bill Clinton is an insult to our intelligence. But considering CNN latest ratings in viewership and credibility, I am not surprised they stir up controversy at any opportunity just to grab the spotlight from their stiffest, incredulous competition (Sarah Palin).

    June 9, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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