From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli
BOW, NH -- Campaigning solo for his wife today, Bill Clinton was asked what he thought voters should know about his wife that they probably didn't already know. He had a rather curious response.
First, he referred to something he read in a recent book about his presidency, that a survey in the mid-90s found that he and Hillary Clinton were the top two "most vilified people by right-wing talk radio," ahead even of Saddam Hussein. He then said: "I'm not sure that everybody knows she was completely exonerated of all the charges that were leveled against her in the White House. Even by Kenneth Starr, who was a very political prosecutor."
Clinton then quickly moved on, telling a story he often does on the trail about a good friend who, as an anniversary present of the Clintons, offered to campaign for the New York senator in New Hampshire and tell people about the person he knew personally.
Referring to the past investigations of the Clinton White House is sure to raise eyebrows in a nominating contest increasingly focused on change. But Clinton also alluded to a past statement from Obama, when a voter asked the former president about his wife's vote for the resolution authorizing force in Iraq.
At first, Clinton challenged the voter, asking if he knew what the resolution actually said, and whether he knew who was a co-sponsor. After defending his wife's rationale for the vote, he noted that Chuck Hagel, considered one of the most critical voices of the administration's policy on Iraq, had been that co-sponsor.
"Which I presume is why Senator Obama said in 2004, he didn't know whether he would have voted for it or against it," Clinton said. "But the narrative of this campaign has been very different." He added that it was "important that we not let the facts be obscured here."
The first question Clinton took from the crowd of over 100 at Bow Middle School was about what his role would be in the White House if she is elected. "We haven't talked much about it because I'm superstitious," he said. Clinton added that he agreed with his wife's view that he should and will not have a "formal role." "It's important that whoever is vice present and secretary of state, for example, have a clear line of authority and relationship with her and understand that they're going to be free to do their job," he said. "And we believe in the power of vice presidents. Although we've had some question in the last seven years."
Clinton has just now finished up another town hall in Amherst, which had a much larger crowd than the first one. A Clinton staffer said they had over 200 people outside unable to get in, including some press.