Bill Clinton's Image Damaged

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Bill Clinton’s reentry into the political arena appears to have come at some cost to his legacy. New polling now suggests that Clinton’s involvement in the Democratic nomination battle between his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Barack Obama, has significantly tarnished the former president’s image.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Thursday found that more Americans view Bill Clinton negatively than positively, 45 to 42 percent. It marked the first time since January 2002 that a plurality of Americans disapproved of the former president. One month earlier, The Gallup Poll found that nearly as many Americans had an unfavorable as favorable view of Bill Clinton-for the first time in nearly five years.

Presidential historians said Clinton’s return to partisan politics made it likely that public perception of the former president would suffer.

"There is a certain historical glow that surrounds a president as some of his historical battles become more distant. Clinton getting back in the mud again makes him a much more partisan figure,” said Allan Lichtman, a presidential historian at American University. "And it’s not like it’s been an acclaimed experience for him."

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