Editor's note: See Randi’s full report tonight on AC360° at 10p ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/29/art.billclinton.obamacampaign.jpg caption="Former U.S. President Bill Clinton campaigning for Senator Obama in Las Vegas on October 19."]
Tonight, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama will campaign together for the very first time.
Did you ever think you’d see that?
Let me take you back to last January, just a day before the New Hampshire primary, when Bill Clinton called Obama’s opposition to the war in Iraq a “fairytale.”
It got even uglier between these guys a couple of weeks later in South Carolina.
Mr. Clinton compared Obama’s victory in the South Carolina primary to that of Jesse Jackson’s.
Yes, he did go there!
That left Hillary Clinton to clean up the mess. You see, many Democrats, including many African Americans, viewed that as a dig at Obama... an effort to minimize his victory and diminish him... because Jackson went on to lose the primary big time. Mr. Clinton, long called the nation’s first black president because of his popularity among African Americans, was suddenly labeled a racist. He denied that his remarks were racist in any way and accused the Obama campaign of leading the charge against him.
Obama often said on the trail he felt like he was running against “both” Clintons.
So has Bill Clinton really been able to bury the hatchet?
Remember, he wasn’t present in Denver when Obama accepted the nomination.
He hasn’t campaigned at his side until now, just a few days before the election.
And he hasn’t exactly been letting the compliments flow on the campaign trail. He sticks to the basics, like “this is the guy for the job.”
Does that sound like an overwhelming endorsement to you?
I talked with Bill Clinton’s former campaign manager, James Carville, about this.
He says after such a hard-fought primary, the longest and toughest in history, it’s understandable there are still some hard feelings, but he says Bill Clinton is on board and doing what he can to get Obama elected. He says there is no reason to believe the “unity” we will see on stage at this rally isn’t the real thing.
One political expert I talked with says Bill Clinton is competing with Barack Obama for history. He is the darling of the Democratic Party, and isn’t ready to give that up. This expert also says he doesn’t think Obama needs Bill Clinton so much, that he’s done well enough without him to stand on his own.
So what do you think? Are these guys really BFFs (Best Friends Forever!) or is this just for the TV cameras? And does Bill Clinton still have the star power to help Obama or will Obama outshine him?
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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