On Tuesday, Bill Clinton came to Scranton High School in Scranton, Pa. to campaign for Joe Sestak. Sestak himself was absent, stuck in Washington voting for the just-passed $26 billion federal state aid package.
Sestak, who has come under fire from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for his history of voting with Nancy Pelosi 97 percent of the time, has been working to distance himself from his past four years in Congress and its attendant political baggage.
Sestak has been working to recast himself as disciple of Bill Clinton and an expert in fiscal discipline and deficit control.
In a pre-recorded video message aired in the gymnasium of Scranton High School, Sestak spoke of job creation and his fondness for Clinton, whom he served as Director for Defense Policy on the National Security Council.
Clinton, in turn, devoted his half-hour long speech to defending the policies of the Obama administration, including financial reform, universal medical insurance, auto bailouts, and stimulus projects.
The former president also spoke of his time with Joe Sestak in the 1990s, highlighting what he described as Sestak’s “practical”, “non-ideological” nature, excusing his actions to expand the deficit over the past four years by saying “the first job he had was to figure out how to minimize the impact of all the mistakes that were made — that’s basically what he’s had to do…”
Clinton went on to praise Sestak’s military experience, holding him up as an early leader in what would become the War on Terror:
Joe had a field of command in the Navy — a fleet command — and he was responsible for the attack I launched on the al-Qaeda training camp in an attempt to get Osama bin Laden, which is still, as far as we know, the closest we ever came to getting him.
What remains to be seen is how effective the effort to link Clinton and Sestak as political golden-boys will be for a currently serving congressman who’s been a part of a political culture in Washington for which many are growing weary.