The Comeback Kid Comes Back

Move over John Edwards, because John Kerry has a new running mate and he's even smilier than you. The Man from Hope is back. And hope is an emotion Democrats are in critical need of right now. Yes, my friends, Elvis is back in the building and though he may be a bit pale and thin, he's here to inject the John Kerry campaign with a quart of charisma as only the Comeback Kid can.

Seven short weeks after quadruple bypass, Bill Clinton crawled out of his sickbed for a Philadelphia rally in front of 80,000 in the shadow of Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture, attempting to physically shove Kerry over this battleground state's finish line. He pulled a Curt Schilling, for crum's sake: there's blood leaking onto his sock. OK, maybe not literally, but you get the picture.

The Kerry people are frankly delighted that Slick Willy isn't at full strength, allaying some fears he'll overshadow the Massachusetts senator's campaign. (To be perfectly honest, a well-executed Girl Scout bake sale runs the risk of overshadowing the Massachusetts senator's campaign.)

The gamble here is that Clinton's positive ratings, which are higher than either of the presidential nominees, will outweigh his negatives, which are to remind people of, well, you know ... Does the term "Have a cigar" ring a bell here? The expectation is Clinton will be more of a walking billboard for peace and prosperity and not the healing powers of fellatio. And we will be able to tell how serious the Kerry people are by how far they keep Bill's motorcade out of sight of any Golden Arches.

On Wednesday in Boca Raton, the 42nd president spoke in front of a Jewish rally wearing a yarmulke and didn't look like an idiot, which both John Kerry and George Bush would have severe problems accomplishing. And that's where Clinton's magnetism is going to be primarily utilized: with minorities. Jews, Blacks and Arkansans.

Rumors have it that the 42nd president's reward for messing with Hillary's chances in 2008 (which hinge on a Kerry defeat) will be a large executive push for Clinton to assume the UN's Secretary General position after Kofi Annan's term ends in 2006. A normal aspiration for a man who always thought his leadership qualities were stymied by the geographical boundaries of the United States of America.

But this secondary sortie in the celebrity wars following in the musical wake of Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Dave Matthews is not destined to go unchallenged in the last week of the most important campaign of our life. The Republicans are also trotting out their star performers to stump the purple states: Rudy Guiliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Wayne Newton. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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