Clinton looks to boost races in Hoosier state
October 12th, 2012
02:58 PM ET
8 years ago

Clinton looks to boost races in Hoosier state

(CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton leveraged his star power Friday to influence two of Indiana's hotly-contested state-wide races and, of course, boost President Barack Obama's appeal in the mid-west core.

Flanked by prominent Hoosier Democrats – former governor and Sen. Evan Bayh, Senate hopeful Joe Donnelly and gubernatorial candidate John Gregg – at a high school in Marion County, Clinton pulled no punches and hit the respective candidates' GOP opponents for a partisan agenda.

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"What is this idea that it's my way or the highway?" said Clinton of GOP opponent Richard Mourdock who upended sitting Sen. Richard Lugar in the GOP primary, leaving the Republican candidate to face Democrat Joe Donnelly in Indiana's elections.

Clinton continued: "I was raised to believe nobody's right all the time. Maybe Mr. Mourdock is, I don't know. He's way right all the time."

Recent polling and political handicappers show the Senate race in Indiana in a dead heat making the contest key to both parties hoping to grab a majority in the upper chamber come November.

Though Indiana is likely to hand its 11 electoral votes to Republican nominee Mitt Romney, Clinton touted the Chrysler and General Motors auto bailouts, an effort started under George W. Bush's presidency and continued in the Obama administration.

Clinton jumped on the opportunity to bring the effects of the Obama administration to the state level, criticizing Gregg's gubernatorial opponent Rep. Mike Pence and Mourdock for opposing the auto bailout.

"John Gregg's opponent voted against it, and Joe Donnelly's opponent tried to kill it in court," Clinton said killing two birds with one stone. "You've got to give them credit: They didn't just speak out against it, I mean they took a real stand. They said, 'let's put those suckers out of work as quick as we can.'"

Clinton hit Mourdock for what he billed as partisan tactics, suggesting the GOP senate candidate was a "my way or the highway guy."

Mourdock made headlines during the primary for saying his idea of "compromise" was for Democrats to join Republicans in pushing conservative policies.

Clinton also dipped into Thursday night's contentious debate between vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan and sitting Vice President Joe Biden saying he "sympathize(s)" with Ryan for having to defend Romney's positions.

Democrats currently control the Senate 53-47, with two independents who caucus with the Democrats, but are defending 23 of the 33 seats up for grabs in November.

Clinton's party isn't the only one utilizing big name politicians to draw in supporters. Mitt Romney stumped for Mourdock in August casting himself and the Senate hopeful as ready to "change Washington."

In 2008, then-Sen. Obama upended the over forty-year Republican presidential reign by narrowly winning the state against Republican opponent Sen. John McCain.

Clinton spoke at the rally in Marion County, which turned out for Obama 64% to McCain's 35%. But as evident by an absence of campaigning by Obama in Indiana, the president is likely to cede the state to Romney this time around.

Voters in Indiana began casting their ballots along with three other states on Columbus Day, joining ten states that had already started early voting.

CNN Political Producer Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Bill Clinton • Indiana
soundoff (8 Responses)

    The Surrogate-In-Chief is on the trail. I know republicans are petrified. Go get em' Bubba!

    October 12, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. rrd

    Biden last night and Clinton today trying to bail out Obama.

    October 12, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    I watched the full speech thanks to politico live

    Room was electrified, great speech
    Advice to Obama campaign camp Bill Clinton in swing state till November 6

    October 12, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. Cathy

    I'm glad we have a President who waits until the facts are in before acting for a change. Remember the Iraq war? Weapons of Mass Destruction – LIE, link to Al Queda – LIE, Something to do with 9/11 – LIE. What a tragic waste of America's finest as well as nearly a trillion dollars!

    October 12, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. Borderless

    I like Bill Clinton. I wish he was able to run this election because I would definitely pick him over the other two candidates. Unfortunately that's not an option. Since Obama/Biden are running the worst administration in US history, I have to vote for Romney/Ryan. I'm furious with Obama/Biden for being such failures and making it come to this.
    Romney/Ryan 2012

    October 12, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    No one should be paying any attention to Clinton. He would sell his soul to the devil, to promote the subversive Democratic Party. He has no ethics, no honesty, and no why should anyone listen? Because they are mindless fools!

    October 12, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. No Tax Returns No Vote

    @Rick McDaniel: Romney has already sold his soul to the devil and if you don't watch him he will sell your soul or outsource your soul.

    October 12, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Rick McDaniel says that no one pays attention to one of our most popular presidents. Instead we should listen to an unpopular former governor of MA, known for his flip flopping, tax evading, being severely conservative liberal moderate, who left office with a 30% approval rating.

    October 12, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |