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Where Bill And Barack Still Disagree

It flew by pretty quickly, but an interesting part of Bill Clinton’s impassioned, full-throated endorsement of Barack Obama was the brief moment when he subtly digressed from one of Obama’s main justifications for his own candidacy. Clinton’s second-to-last sentence was “Barack Obama will lead us away from the division and fear of the last eight years back to unity and hope.” That “back to” is enormously revealing. When Obama speaks about getting beyond the partisan politics of the past, he most definitely includes the Clinton Wars, from Whitewater to impeachment, in his indictment of the bad old days. (Which makes sense: He was running against Hillary Clinton, after all.) But by speaking of a restoration of unity and hope, rather than of a new beginning, Clinton showed that he’s not buying everything Obama’s selling.

--Ben Wasserstein