Blogs > HNN > Bill Clinton: What's wrong with front-loading the primaries

Mar 21, 2007 3:37 pm

Bill Clinton: What's wrong with front-loading the primaries

This is an excerpt from an interview Michael Beschloss did with Bill Clinton back in May, 2003:

Beschloss: When John Kennedy ran in 1960 he was in a nominating process that took about seven months . . . The process next year will probably take about four weeks - it will be very front-loaded. Do you think the new process is better to choose a president?

Clinton: I would like to see the old one. . . . I know you can say this is my bias because I'm from a small state. I've watched Senator Kennedy here in Massachusetts, and this is not a small state. He does a lot of what I'd call retail politics. He knows the names of most of the people in this room . . . One of the things that bothers me about the whole presidential nominating process is that more you front-load it and put it into big primaries, the more you consign these candidates to spend all their time raising money . . . But the presidential campaigning is supposed to be for the candidate as well as for the voters. It was good for John Kennedy to have to go to West Virginia to see all those white poor people - all those Protestants living in the hills and hallows. Good for him to have to go in to the inner city. Good to have the time and obligation to go and listen to the stories of people who were different from you. That's the thing I loved about New Hampshire. For its quirkiness, it's a beautiful place, because they had a sense that they owed the country something. They owed the country a good decision and they were determined to give everybody a listen.

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