Mitchell Reports | October 16, 2012
>>> and both candidates agree on one thing bill clinton 's endorsement countps. in new york magazine yousafzai john heilemann explores the relationship between barack obama and bill clinton . and joining me now, msnbc political analyst and new york benghazi m magazine affairs editor john heilema heilemann. what a great piece. brings me back to all of the campaigns past, present and perhaps future. talk about the clinton / obama relationship. back in 2008 a very rocky start and they as you describe in "new york " magazine had the get together in the harlan office of president clinton and it was still edgy. how has this come together so you have bill clinton being not only the most effective speaker at the convention, for president obama , but now going out this thursday and joining the boss in ohio, can you imagine the big dog and the boss both in ohio? the critical state .
>> god, how much --
>> for president obama 's re-election.
>> how much i wish i could be there that day i would pay money to see that concert.
>> the thaw, a lot of raw feelings on both sides by the end of 2008 but the thaw began when president obama reached out and put hillary clinton in his cabinet, offered her the job of secretary of state. that meant a huge amount to president clinton . and the way that obama has treated her as secretary of state, to say as a partner, giving her a huge amount of responsibility for foreign policy , letting her run the state department is pretty much her own eminent domain has meant a lot to president clinton also. over time the relationship has evolved to the point where no one on either side of the house says that there's a lot of genuine affection or warmth between the two of them but quote someone close to president clinton saying the relationship is now totally transaction but highly functional and that's to say, president clinton really -- president obama has moved a lot in president clinton 's direction on policy, and on the way that he thinks about politics and how to win re-election. president clinton is happy to see his -- to see that -- the thing that obama started out as an ante dote to clinton -ism he's the inheriter and running very much as the president's heir and i think that gives president clinton a lot of satisfaction, seeing clinton -ism restored to its rightful place and that's good for his wife should she decide to run for president in 2016 , seeing the clinton brand and the clinton era glorified by this president, is good for business.
>> and as you pointed out and i recall, during the nevada caucuses back in 2008 , that's when it really got very edgy with president clinton because he felt that president obama 's comments praising ronald reagan as being the historic figure were a slap at his presidency and went downhill from there. we saw what happened in south carolina and pennsylvania primary . but they really did try to patch it up. i think that's a picture in the clinton office. i actually saw former president bill clinton last night at an educational fund-raiser in washington before i came here, a fund-raiser for public charter schools in d.c. for kids at risk, in the inner city and for kids being educated in the d.c. corrections department and he just went -- he gave an amazing speech, frankly, about education, education reform , number of the cabinet members were there but went off and said in a little bit of a riff that he is, of course, president obama 's secretary in charge of explaining stuff. and that he went on to talk about education. that's what had he did in that speech at the convention and shows you how bill clinton has become a full partner here, whatever the real relationship is, he is effectively one of the best campaigners that president obama has.
>> you know, president obama 's people will tell you that speech? charlotte and in particular the single line that president clinton actually as i report in the magazine spent a long time on the day of the speech word smithing the single line about how no president, not even bill clinton could have repaired the damage that president obama faced when he came into office in just four years, those are -- that's the speech was incredibly important, moved public opinion and that line in particular was something president obama could not say about himself. president clinton understood how important that was and understands had his role in a lot of places in the country, not only a guy with a 69% approval rating, not only the most popular political figure in america, but he's become kind of like a neutral arbiter on economics and on economic policy , on what it takes to make the government successful in terms of managing the economy. he speaks with particular force and authority to middle-class voters to working-class voters, a lot of the voters that president obama 's had trouble reaching over the course of his term, the white middle-class voters and working-class voters, president clinton has traction with those people and they have run the obama campaign has, the ad with bill clinton speaking direct to camera, making the case for obama 's economic record. they've run that ad more than 16,000 times in the swing states . it's the ad they've run more than any other single ad and as you know there are also ads out there that look like bill clinton is barack obama 's running mate. a clip for him speaking at the convention followed by a clip of president obama speaking. he is the most important surrogate and as you know andrea, you want to have a guy with that kind of credibility and a guy that can talk the owls down from the trees.
>> indeed. great piece. "new york " magazine, john heilemann, thank you so much. no accident that hillary clinton was taking the blame for benghazi on the eve of this debate.
>> up next debate expectations with