October 22nd, 2010
10:04 AM ET
11 years ago

Clinton the closer in Kentucky?


Louisville, Kentucky (CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton is returning to Kentucky the day before the midterm elections to try and help pry an open Senate seat out of Republican party hands.

The former president will team up on November 1 with Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democrats' Senate nominee, a Conway campaign official confirms to CNN. But the campaign doesn't have details yet on where the event will be held. Clinton headlined a Conway rally in Lexington on October 11.

Conway is battling Republican nominee Rand Paul, who enjoys strong support by many in the Tea Party movement, in what's becoming an increasingly bitter campaign to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Jim Bunning. The most recent poll, released this week by Mason-Dixon, indicates that Paul has a five point advantage over Conway, which is within the survey's sampling error.

Conway frequently invoked Clinton while campaigning in western Kentucky, thanking the former president for his support as Conway closes out a tight race against Tea Party candidate Rand Paul.

Perhaps using Clinton's moderate, populist tone as a model for trying to win a southern moderate-to-conservative state, Conway even closed a stump speech by quoting the so-called "Great Communicator."

"I'll just wrap up by quoting Bill Clinton, who was in last week and I think's probably coming back: there's nothing that's wrong with America that can't be fixed with what's right with America," Conway told supporters in Elkton.

Conway doesn't mention President Obama by name. When CNN asked if he'd like the president to campaign for him in Kentucky, Conway's lack of enthusiasm was clear.

"Look, this campaign's about me versus Rand Paul, and about our record," Conway. "It's got to be about me versus Rand Paul."

Clinton has made many stops on the campaign trail in areas where moderate-to-conservative voters predominate, and where arguably the former president may be more popular than the current one. A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in August indicated that 55 percent of registered voters in Kentucky disapproved of the job Obama was doing as president.

"It's no secret that President Obama isn't particularly popular in some parts of the country. Democrats are thankful they've got a former president who is still popular with the base and can hit the campaign trail in places where Obama can't go," says Nathan Gonzales, political editor at the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report. "Blue-collar Democratic voters have never been Obama's base, so Democrats are relying on President Clinton to rally those voters and help Democratic incumbents up and down the ballot."

Filed under: 2010 • Bill Clinton • Jack Conway • Kentucky • Rand Paul
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Unbelievable

    Why does Clinton have a bearing on the Kentucky race? Of course he is going to come out for Conway. But that doesn't change Conway's position on the issues. Conway is an Obama Democrat. We've had enough of that. And I speak with some authoritiy being a long-time resident of Kentucky. Enjoy Clinton's visit and rhetoric and then vote for Paul. Thank you.

    October 22, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. Kenneth Close

    If this is his platform RUN away from him-"I'll just wrap up by quoting Bill Clinton, who was in last week and I think's probably coming back: there's nothing that's wrong with America that can't be fixed with what's right with America,"

    October 22, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is a choice as to who will represent Kentucky in the Senate. Do you want someone with normal views or someone who believes that anything goes like free polluting corporation, health care companies that deny you service and no protection from people that intend to do you harm. It shouldn't be too hard. Paul is under the impression that people will play fair and nice all the time. There needs to be a government that makes sure that everyone plays by all the same rules.

    October 22, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. stevegee

    The citizens of the U.S.A. have two choices:

    Vote for the overreaching, overspending, overtaxing, overtly divisive agenda of Obama, Pelosi and Reid - which will have the same results as all the other Socialist European countries, rioting and bankruptcy.


    Vote for freedom and liberty, a free market economy, and individual responsibility - vote Republican.

    October 22, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. jules sand-perkins

    As charming as Bill Clinton can be, let the nation hope that the election in November takes us as far from Obama's influence as America can be moved.

    October 22, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. barry

    Surely President Clinton won't attack Rand Paul's faith and family the way Conway has. It's sad Clinton would be seen with Conway. Like Rand Paul or not Conway was out of line on this one. Conway should work for NPR they would love him.

    October 22, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    Poor, foolish GOPers/TeaPers. If they haven't begun to realize just exactly what agenda these chacaters such as Rand Paul actually will be working for, I doubt they ever will. Until Jan 2011, that is. What a wake up call ...! It would be amusing to watch the GOPers/TeaPers reaction when the policies that the Rands, Angles, ODonnellls, et al, will be lobbying for become perfectly clear if only I weren't being dragged down into the abyss as well. Nothing about privatizing Social Security, eliminating Public Schools, privatizing Medicare, and allowing *God* to rule will be amusing. I hope KY comes to it's collective senses, and soon.

    October 22, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. David

    Sorry Willie but you can hang a big "L" in the column for this one. Conway has gone to far and the people see it. Rand is the better choice here by far.

    October 22, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. The Clear Thinking Independent Voter

    This will be a test of the former President's so called popularity. Sending him to blue or purple states tells us nothing. Also... waiting until only 1 day before the election doesn't seem very smart, if they truly believe he can help.

    President Obama's lack of popularity in Kentucky is due to that state's willingness to believe the lies (socialist, marxist,etc.) shouted by the Tea Party / GOP since even before he took office. That's too bad because, healthcare reform helps the poor whites in Kentucky ... and saving GM and it's parts suppliers surely saved jobs of Kentuckians ... and holding mining companies responsible for increasing worker safety saves the lives of white men in Kentucky and West Virginia.

    It's too bad these areas don't appreciate a mighty good man like President Obama who has gone to bat for them

    October 22, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. Please Vote Republican So More People From China, India and the Phillipines Can Take Our Jobs

    Vote for Rand Paul, so we can end the minimum wage, privatize Social Security, Medicare and Veteran's Benefits.

    October 22, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. Patricia Dickson

    Ah ah ah cheney needs to take it easy because of you know what ah ah ah next bush already push the country down the slops and the Democrates are trying hard to push it back up to the top and these stupid people are just getting in the way and making it harder to come up may God help us if the Gop party win God help the poor.

    October 22, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |