Former President Bill Clinton, in California to try and drum up support for his wife among that state’s Democratic super delegates, went into a blind rage behind closed doors and left many shaking their heads and wondering if the strain of watching Hillary go down in flames has taken his toll.
From all reports, Clinton’s bizzare behavior did nothing to help his wife or her last-ditch efforts to wrest the nomination from frontrunner Barack Obama.
The Bill Clinton who met privately with California’s superdelegates at last weekend’s state convention was a far cry from the congenial former president who afterward publicly urged fellow Democrats to “chill out” over the race between his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Barack Obama.
In fact, before his speech Clinton had one of his famous meltdowns Sunday, blasting away at former presidential contender Bill Richardson for having endorsed Obama, the media and the entire nomination process.
“It was one of the worst political meetings I have ever attended,” one superdelegate said.
According to those at the meeting, Clinton – who flew in from Chicago with bags under his eyes – was classic old Bill at first, charming and making small talk with the 15 or so delegates who gathered in a room behind the convention stage.
But as the group moved together for the perfunctory photo, Rachel Binah, a former Richardson delegate who now supports Hillary Clinton, told Bill how “sorry” she was to have heard former Clinton campaign manager James Carville call Richardson a “Judas” for backing Obama.
It was as if someone pulled the pin from a grenade.
“Five times to my face (Richardson) said that he would never do that,” a red-faced, finger-pointing Clinton erupted.
The former president then went on a tirade that ran from the media’s unfair treatment of Hillary to questions about the fairness of the votes in state caucuses that voted for Obama. It ended with him asking delegates to imagine what the reaction would be if Obama was trailing by just 1 percent and people were telling him to drop out.
“It was very, very intense,” said one attendee. “Not at all like the Bill of earlier campaigns.”