September, 28th 2010

Patty Murray wields the Bill Clinton card

– Liz Mair

Patty Murray remains locked in a too-tight-for-comfort race for re-election, facing off against Dino Rossi, who continues to nip at her heels in the polls.  That situation has left Murray looking for a way to take it to Rossi and help shut him down in the final weeks before ballots go out in the mail, and based on what's just arrived in my inbox, it looks like she's banking on a visit from Bill Clinton to help do the job.  From her email:

I have some exciting news to share: President Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, will be joining us here in Washington State on October 18th!

I hope you will help me give a warm Washington welcome to President Clinton, and join us at one of two exciting events -- a fundraising luncheon in Seattle and a Get out the Vote Rally in Everett later that afternoon. 

(my emphasis above).[intro]

Let's be honest here: Clinton is a great get for Murray.  A lot of Evergreen State natives, including yours truly, have fond memories of the later Clinton years: Welfare reform, taxes cut, budgets balanced, free trade advanced, unemployment low (at least in Murray's Seattle-area base)... ah, the good old days!

Yes, yes, Murray is far to the left of Clinton on many issues, economic ones being among the most obvious, but that's hardly the point.  The purpose of this visit will be a) to bring in money but b) more importantly, given the timing of the visit and when Washington voters will be getting their ballots in the mail and pondering filling them in, to garner a boatload of positive earned media that ties Murray to a figure who remains popular in the state-- ideally evening news coverage.

Will it work?  

The Real Clear Politics average has Rossi trailing Murray by 5.3 percent, though in the last two polls assessed in calculating that average, he trails her by just one or two percent.  Murray explicitly notes in her email that "Recent polling has this race much closer than any of us expected."

As Sarah Palin (and some Ballard residents) would say, you betcha!  Look for Bill at the Flying Heritage Collection at Paine Field in Everett at 2PM on the 18th.  Look for Rossi to exploit the visit as a sign of Murray's vulnerability, which it is, though by my measure, it's a pretty good get, nonetheless.


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