Around the world, the former President said in Nevada Friday night, "every single political leader I talk to says, 'I hope your wife wins. We want the world to like America again.' This is the first election in my lifetime where a substantial number of Americans will actually cast their vote based on what they think the rest of the world will think about America." (LINK HERE)
You might remember during Campaign 2004 when Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., alluded to the coterie of international prime ministers and presidents rooting for him to defeat President Bush.
"I've met foreign leaders who can't go out and say this publicly but, boy, they look at you and say, 'You've got to win this, you've got to beat this guy, we need a new policy' -- things like that," Kerry said at a Florida breakfast.
The claim was quite controversial at the time.
At a town meeting in Pennsylvania, one Bush supporter asked Kerry to identify the world leaders (LINK HERE).
"Were they people like [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair or were they people like the president of North Korea?" he asked. "Why not tell us who it was? Senator, you're making yourself sound like a liar."
And former Secretary of State Colin Powell agreed. "If he feels it is that important an assertion to make, he ought to list some names," Powell said. "If he can't list names, then perhaps he should find something else to talk about."
Kerry refused to say. "I can't violate any conversation because no one would share something with me again," he said. Kerry also backtracked on what he'd claimed. "I think the quote, the quote in the comment I made publicly, I believe, was that I 'heard from,' that's the direct quote," he said. "I've likewise had meetings. I've also had conversations. I said I've heard from, that was what I believe I said."
The issue isn't necessarily whether or not world leaders would prefer Clinton or Kerry (or Clinton) to Bush. With a few exceptions (like, say, ALBANIA LINK HERE), liberal Democrats are more embraced internationally than conservative Republicans. Same as it ever was.
But during a primary election, I do wonder why the former President would say that "every single political leader" he talks to prefers his wife over, say, Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Joe Biden, D-Del., or former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.?
And if you're going to make such a claim, why the secrecy?
I'm trying to think of world leaders...I suppose Gen. Musharraf would NOT be an Obama supporter...
Meanwhile, Republicans are all competing for the blessing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (LINK HERE)...
I called former President Clinton's office today -- they declined to specify which political leaders he was talking about. No comment from his wife's office, either.