November 19th, 2008
10:10 AM ET
12 years ago

Bill Clinton makes big return to the campaign trail

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Bill Clinton is campaigning in Georgia Wednesday."]
(CNN) - Jim Martin gets some major league help today in his runoff election battle against freshman Republican senator from Georgia, Saxby Chambliss.  And the surrogate stumping with Martin today is Bill Clinton - about as big a name as you can get.

The former President will join Martin, a former Democratic Georgia state lawmaker, at a campaign event in Atlanta.

Martin and Chambliss face off in the runoff election on December 2 for the U.S. Senate seat Chambliss won six years ago. Chambliss won a plurality of the vote two weeks ago on Election Day, but Georgia state law calls for the winner to grab 50 percent plus one vote. Due to the inclusion of a third party candidate, Chambliss fell just shy of that threshold, forcing a runoff contest.

Former President Clinton is the first big name Democrat to campaign in person with Martin, although President-elect Obama has sent resources and workers from his presidential campaign to Georgia to help out. Clinton carried Georgia in 1992 in his first presidential election victory. He won re-election as President in 1996 but lost Georgia that year.

Today's campaign event is scheduled to be held at Clark Atlanta University

Chambliss is getting plenty of big name visitors. Last week Sen. John McCain returned to the trail to campaign with Chambliss, just nine days after losing the presidential election to Obama. On Sunday, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination before dropping out in March and backing McCain, campaigned with Chambliss. And on this Friday, Mitt Romney will campaign with Chambliss in Atlanta and Savannah.

A spokesman for Romney also announced that Romney is contributing $5,000, through his Free and Strong American PAC, to Chambliss to help with the runoff election. Romney's PAC donated $2,300 to Chambliss earlier this fall.

Like Huckabee, Romney was a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination before dropping out in February and endorsing McCain. Both Romney and Huckabee could have designs on making another run for the White House.

Filed under: Bill Clinton
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. Marie Canada

    Chambliss has the backing of all the losers who are currently participating in their own circular firing squad.

    Martin has the support of winners. That fact alone should send a strong signal to voters. In addition the train is getting ready to leave the station and Georgia has to decide if they want to be on it or not.

    November 19, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  2. Vijayashankar

    Good pointer! With due respect, if the candidate is so huge in terms of personality... Jim Martin could have run for President isnt it? Atleast for The US Senate.

    Good Luck!

    November 19, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  3. Purple Nurple

    By my count we only need two more for the 60 fillerbuster prof senate. That is awesome and I hope we get it.
    signed: Evil Liberal!

    November 19, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  4. Seattle Sue

    Good, I hope Mr. Clinton can help Mr. Martin beat Chambliss, who ran a very dirty,rotten campaign against Max Cleland six years ago.

    November 19, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  5. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    I really don't like the tactics Chambliss used against Max Cleland in the 2002 election. Cleland, a triple amputee from Vietnam, was disparaged and "tied to Al Qaeda" in terms of not being patriotic. Huh? Not patriotic while he left three limbs in another country?
    For that alone, I hope Chambliss loses. I'll be contacting my friends in Georgia, asking them to please go back to the polls to vote this guy out.

    November 19, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  6. GA Independent

    Fabulous! Hopefully my fellow Georgians will see Chambliss for the waste of a Senator that he is and vote for Martin. Go Bill Go!

    November 19, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  7. Scott Tucson

    Bill it seems is the only one not chosen to be in Obama's administration but it's still early.

    It's now funny to hear the Obama supporters trying to defend what 'CHANGE' is suppose to mean.

    November 19, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. ABG

    If Bill Clinton is considered "good enough" to campaign and help Democrats get elected, then he is "good enough" to be married to the next Secretary of State!

    When Democrats call, Bill shows up!

    November 19, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  9. mavericky

    I am tired of right wing nuts saying Obama supporters are uneducated. Why don't you look at the exit polls? Graduates and higher (meaning doctors, Ph.D, juris doctorates, etc.) voted for Obama. I have a Masters and I'm going on to my Ph.D.

    Sorry that you feel you must put us down... poor GOP

    November 19, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  10. Dixie AZ

    The morning news reports that we have a new cooperative Bill Clinton. He is opening the books on his business and charitable orgs and campaigning, too. Sic the Republicans, Bill.

    November 19, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. Tom in Delaware

    Hey Bill...why don't you wait until after the 'Christian Holidays'.

    November 19, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  12. Tim E

    Now is this an appropriate venue for the husband of a diplomat? Partisanship in small things jeopardizes her career; has he no shame?

    November 19, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  13. Chris

    60 keeps getting closer every day...

    November 19, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. Barbara in NC

    Chambliss has spent so many years brain-washing Georgia residents that it's almost funny.

    You tell 'em what's what, Bill.

    November 19, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    This runoff election in Georgia is a new Civil War being played out right before our eyes and the fate of a nation really hangs in the balance, come to think of it. Not a bullet will be fired, not a life will be lost, but this may have more implications than anything General Sherman could have dreamed of. If Chambliss wins, the Republicans hold the line in the Senate for two years and can at least have a leg to stand on until the next elections in two years. He loses, then the Democratic agenda really has no opposition and the Republicans really might as well stay home for two years. Voters in Georgia, it is lock and load y’all!

    November 19, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  16. SHELLI

    After all of his dirty dealing and smears of President-Elect Obama, he needs to open all of his books if he wants his wife to get the Secretary of State position, even though I don't think she should have it because of the dirty lies and dirty dealing and her siding with McCain saying that he was more qualified than President-Elect Obama and that she kept bringing up Rev. Wright and Ayers. She was supposed to be a Democrat and was acting totally like a Republican and maybe that's because she used to be a Republican in College before she met Bill. She is too on the fence for me and she cannot be trusted just like her husband...

    November 19, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  17. Oh Yes We Did!

    I can't wait to see him!

    November 19, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. BC

    Saxby Chambliss's first campaign showed him to be complete slime, even by Repbulican standards. I'll be glad to see him gone.

    November 19, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. Floridian republican voting for Obama

    Go get em Bill. A couple of more seats and we will actucally be able to get some things done to move this great nation foward again.

    November 19, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. Oh Yes We Did!

    but honestly...I think he should go to Middle and South GA instead!

    November 19, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. jackson smith ny ny

    Tim, his wife isn't a 'diplomat' yet. Your comment is ridiculous.

    Good for Bill for stumping with Martin. It's time to oust Chambliss, once and for all. He is one nasty individual.

    November 19, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. There's something about kool-aid

    Obama supporters are not less educated.
    Just more susceptible.


    November 19, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  23. Mark

    CHANGE means anything that Bush is not. It that includes former Clinton staffers then so be it. As I recall, the eight years under Clinton were the most prosperous in American history. Obama knows it and is smart to seek out that experience. Republican's are just PO'd they no longer have anything to say of any relevance.

    November 19, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  24. BC

    Let's not forget, it was John McCain who said this of Chambliss's behavior during his last campaign: "It's worse than disgraceful, it's reprehensible". Why is the GOP full of such total slimeballs these day?

    November 19, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. joseph

    Even if Chambliss is very well known to be a racist, I wonder if the people will be comfortable with having the dems have full and total control of the legislature. It could be a very dicey situation. This could be a tough decision.

    November 19, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
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