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Bill Clinton Asks Moderate Mitt ‘Where Ya Been, Boy?’

Former President Bill Clinton was on the stump for President Obama yesterday, and continued the Obama campaign’s “Wish I’d Said That Wednesday Night” Tour™ by tearing into Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney like he was a plate of molasses-glazed baby-back ribs. Clinton attacked the candidate’s debate makeover with humor, asking “Old Moderate Mitt, where ya been, boy? I missed you all these last few years.”

While the clip the Obama campaign is sending around is more fun than a Bubba saxophone solo, the “Moderate Mitt” nickname risks losing something in translation.

Clinton took his cues from President Obama, who has taken to casting Romney’s lie-packed debate performance as an identity crisis, apparently in an attempt to find a more polite way to call a liar a liar. Speaking of last Wednesday’s debate, Clinton said “Here’s old moderate Mitt. Where have you been, boy, I missed you all these last few years.”

“But I was paying attention in the last two years,” he continued, “and it was like one of these Bain Capital deals, you know where he’s the closer. So he shows up, doesn’t really know much about the deals and says, tell me what I’m supposed to say to close.”

“The problem with this deal is the deal was made by severe conservative Mitt,” President Clinton added, referencing Gov. Romney’s speech at this year’s CPAC. ” That was how he described himself for two whole years, until three or four days before the debate, they all got together and said, hey, Mitt – this ship is sinking faster than the Titanic, but people are still frustrated about the economy they wanted fixed yesterday. So just show up with a sunny face and say I didn’t say all that stuff I said the last two years. I don’t have that tax plan I had for the last two years. You going to believe me or your lying eyes here? Come on! What are you doing?”

He then jokingly blamed President Obama’s debate somnambulism on Moderate Mitt Shock Syndrome, saying  “And if I’d been the president I might have said, well I hate to get in the way of this. I miss you.”

President Clinton has been a very effective campaigner for President Obama, most notably with regard to his speech at the Democratic National Convention, and he definitely has a way of bringing the absurdities of the Romney campaign into stark relief, but if the campaign is test-driving the “Moderate Mitt” label, they ought to abandon it now. The term was used derisively on Romney during the Republican primaries, but “moderate” is not a dirty word with general election voters, and the sarcasm gets lost with repetition.

The underlying message, that Mitt Romney is a liar, is a tough one to get across without, perhaps, risking some likability, but letting people think Romney really is a moderate is even riskier.

Here’s the clip, followed by Obama For America’s accompanying memo:


CHICAGO — Speaking to voters yesterday in Nevada, President Clinton highlighted how Mitt Romney is cynically and dishonestly hiding his real positions from the American people because they’ll hurt his chances to win. But, as President Clinton noted, voters shouldn’t be fooled. Over the last six years we’ve seen the real Mitt Romney: he has committed himself to severely conservative positions only to walk them back four weeks before the election.

Just yesterday Mitt Romney was dishonest with the Des Moines Register editorial board about his position on contraception and a woman’s right to choose. The real Mitt Romney has committed to overturning Roe vs. Wade and putting women’s health care decisions in the hands of their employers – now he’s trying to soften his rhetoric to win votes. The American people need to know that the real Mitt Romney will not protect a woman’s right to choose or make her own health care decisions.

Please click HERE to watch President Clinton’s remarks.

TRANSCRIPT

I had a different reaction to that first debate than a lot of people did. I mean I thought – wow. Here’s old moderate Mitt. Where have you been, boy, I missed you all these last few years. But I was paying attention in the last two years, and it was like one of these Bain Capital deals, you know where he’s the closer. So he shows up, doesn’t really know much about the deals and says, tell me what I’m supposed to say to close.

The problem with this deal is the deal was made by severe conservative Mitt. That was how he described himself for two whole years, until three or four days before the debate, they all got together and said, hey, Mitt – this ship is sinking faster than the Titanic, but people are still frustrated about the economy they wanted fixed yesterday. So just show up with a sunny face and say I didn’t say all that stuff I said the last two years. I don’t have that tax plan I had for the last two years. You going to believe me or your lying eyes here? Come on! What are you doing?

And if I’d been the president I might have said, well I hate to get in the way of this. I miss you.

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