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Bill Low-Keys It in Denver


Bill and Chelsea Clinton in Denver. (AP).

By Peter Baker
DENVER -- If Hillary Rodham Clinton really did tell her husband to stop attacking Barack Obama, she evidently didn't say anything about stalking.

Just hours after Obama packed the basketball arena at the University of Denver yesterday, Bill Clinton showed up at the same stadium to pitch his wife to many of the same students under the same jumbotron, introduced by the same mayor.

The former president didn't exactly pack them in the way the Illinois senator did earlier in the day. About 9,000 people jammed Magness Arena to see Obama and thousands more gathered in the gymnasium and the lacrosse field. Obama spent time visiting the overflow crowds before even heading into the main event. By contrast, the arena wasn't even half full by the time Clinton showed up in the evening, though he wasn't helped by a sudden snowstorm that dumped a couple inches and made local roads treacherous.

During his appearance, Obama turned Bill Clinton's 1996 reelection slogan around on him by saying it was not enough to "simply turn back the clock, and to build a bridge back to the 20th century." But the former president did not rise to the bait, staying on good behavior as he has in recent days and eschewing the sort of angry outbursts that drew so much backlash among Democrats. Still, he did essentially give the Denver students and their parents and neighbors a rebuttal of what they had heard earlier in the day.

"The issue is not experience versus change," he said. "The issue is who can make change in your lives." He added: "You have to decide who is the best changemaker...and she is the best changemaker that I have ever known."

Clinton saved his ire for a couple hecklers in the audience who shouted at him about investigating what really happened on Sept. 11, 2001. "Are you one of those it-was-an-inside-jobs?" he demanded, his eyes flaring. "Nine-eleven was not an inside job...Nineteen people from Saudi Arabia, they murdered 3,000 Americans, including 200 other Muslims and we look like idiots, folks" to engage in conspiracy theories.

The Clinton camp is dispatching the former president to some of the lower-priority states while the New York senator focuses on some of the key battlegrounds, such as California. Over the last few days, Bill Clinton has hit colleges or other sites in Brentwood, N.J., Cleveland, Edwardsville, Ill., and Norman, Okla. Today he heads to Albuquerque, N.M., and Tempe, Ariz., while his wife debates Obama in Los Angeles.

By Washington Post Editor  |  January 31, 2008; 5:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Cheat Sheet  
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