Bill Clinton defines political resilience.
The former president's career has had more highs and lows than a Hollywood marriage.
The boy wonder Governor of Arkansas was dumped by voters in 1980, career over. He came back to win an election two years later and dominate his state's politics
After winning the presidency, he was humiliated by House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Republicans in the 1994 midterm elections. Clinton soon turned Gingrich inside out on his way to winning re-election in 1996.
He was coasting in the second term until the revelations about his sexual involvement with an intern. He was accused of lying about sex, and the Republican House of Representatives voted to impeach him, and tried to end his presidency.
Recognizing the Republicans' overreach, he rebounded. By the end of his term he had a 65 percent favorability rating. Then, on his last day in office, he pardoned the fugitive and tax cheat Marc Rich; his numbers plummeted.
The ex-president wanted to serve on some blue-chip corporate boards. Emissaries told him that was a non-starter. (Today, it's hard to imagine any corporate board that wouldn't want Bill Clinton; he no longer needs them.)
Once again, the Clinton comeback kicked into gear with his much-praised Clinton Global Initiative. Then he assumed an active role in his wife's bid for the 2008 presidential nomination. He made some controversial statements, enraging the Obama team. His popularity dropped again and the new president had little time for him.
As usual, it took a little time, but there he was taking the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, bailing out President Barack Obama. Last week, when Obama canceled campaign appearances because of super-storm Sandy, who filled in? Bill Clinton. There was no diminution of crowds or enthusiasm.
(Albert R. Hunt is Washington editor at Bloomberg News and a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)
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