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Poor Bill

He and his wife are really handicapped by the fact that he used to be president:

''I think the mistake that I made is to think that I was a spouse like any other spouse who could defend his candidate,'' Clinton said, referring to his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is waging a hard-fought contest with Obama for the Democratic nomination.

''I think I can promote Hillary but not defend her because I was president. I have to let her defend herself or have someone else defend her,'' Clinton said in an interview with NBC News as he was campaigning in Portland, Maine, Thursday.

Self-pity is found in the strangest places.

Update: In comments, tarfon makes the point that Clinton is right: he is held to a higher standard as an ex-President. Fair enough. But Clinton seems be saying that, in calling Obama's Iraq record a "fairy tale" and belittling his South Carolina victory by noting that Jesse Jackson won there, too, he was merely defending his wife. That's bogus. He was attacking her opponent. And any candidate's spouse--whether that spouse is a former president or a former Sidley Austin lawyer--would be criticized for making those sorts of attacks. Clinton's comments were out of bounds regardless of his unique status.

--Jason Zengerle