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The Big Dog could teach Obama a few new tricks

By Laurie Bennett

November 5, 2012 at 7:20am

The dance between Barack Obama and Bill Clinton will intrigue historians and political junkies for decades to come.

As the New York Times notes, Obama has no more energetic or persuasive surrogate on the campaign trail than Clinton, despite the friction and hurt feelings of the 2008 campaign.

“This is not about relationships,” former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe told the Times. “This is bigger than that.”

Obama and Clinton, 2010
White House photo, 2010

We can’t claim to be objective on this topic. Relationships are what Muckety is all about. But it strikes us that the big picture is still an amalgamation of relationships - warm, cool, hostile, indifferent.

Longevity in politics is not only about friendship or animosity, but about the ability to forge connections out of shared goals and a mutual willingness to bend, rethink and rebound.

As Mark Leibovich writes for the Times:

If there has been one enduring lesson from his career, it is that the Big Dog is resilient. He can be disgraced, impeached, defeated — but he comes back. The full spectacle of this has been on riveting, if raspy, display in the closing days of the presidential campaign.

We’ve written before that Clinton may well be the most networked president in history.

An interesting feature of the Muckety map above, showing connections between the two men, is how many paths go directly to Clinton, rather than to his administration.

Obama, a more aloof leader who will face continued stonewalling from Republicans if he’s re-elected, still has a few things to learn from his best campaigner.

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The relationship map to the left is interactive.
• Solid lines are current relations. Dotted lines are former relations.
• Expand items with + signs by double-clicking or by selecting multiple items in the map and pressing the "e" key.
• Move an item in the map by clicking and dragging.
• You can also delete items, separate boxes and save maps. Right-click on the map or select Map Tools for these options.
• Find out more about an item in the map by right-clicking on the item and choosing Information about...
• View map color key.
• This interactive map requires Flash player.


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