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Hillary Clinton Campaigns In Iowa; Bill Clinton Makes N.H. Appearances

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Hillary Clinton Campaigns In Iowa; Bill Clinton Makes N.H. Appearances

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Hillary Clinton Campaigns In Iowa; Bill Clinton Makes N.H. Appearances

Hillary Clinton Campaigns In Iowa; Bill Clinton Makes N.H. Appearances

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Bill Clinton became known as the "comeback kid" because of his performance in the 1992 New Hampshire primary. He's campaigning for his wife Hillary in that state, just a month before its primary.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And it's been a long time since Bill Clinton was president. Still today, he has higher likability ratings than his wife, Hillary Clinton, who is currently seeking the Democratic nomination. Her presidential campaign is hoping to capitalize on that goodwill by getting the former president out on the campaign trail. NPR's Tamara Keith followed him on two stops yesterday.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hillary Clinton was campaigning in Iowa, but, Bill Clinton was in New Hampshire. And that's where virtually every correspondent assigned to her campaign showed up.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Welcome back to New Hampshire, someone who needs no introduction, our 42nd president, Bill Clinton.

(APPLAUSE)

KEITH: At the Exeter Town Hall where Clinton spoke last night, the relatively small auditorium was packed to the rafters, standing room only with an overflow space filled as well. When it comes to campaign surrogates, it doesn't get much better than a former president, especially one who, as he pointed out, first fell in love with the candidate decades ago.

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BILL CLINTON: You're entitled to say, what else is he going to say? They just celebrated their 40th anniversary.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: You're entitled to discount it, but I do know her.

KEITH: Bill Clinton took audiences at both events on a guided tour of the former secretary of state's resume, emphasizing lesser-known moments in her career and achievements that many in attendance later said they were learning about for the first time. The point he came back to again and again is something her campaign wants to emphasize, that Hillary Clinton can get things done, across party lines or international borders.

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CLINTON: When she was secretary of state, she spearheaded the development of the Iran sanctions and got China and Russia to sign off on them. I didn't think she could do that.

(LAUGHTER)

KEITH: During the 2008 campaign, there were real concerns that the former president would overshadow Hillary Clinton on the stump. Eight years later, Bill Clinton was subdued as he made the case for his wife's candidacy. Clinton declined to comment on remarks by Donald Trump and other Republicans who sought to bring back memories of sexual indiscretions from Clinton's time as Arkansas governor and later president. Instead, the former president stayed very much on topic, the topic being his wife's readiness for office.

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CLINTON: She makes something good happened wherever she is, whatever she's doing. She just makes things happen.

KEITH: It's not clear whether Clinton changed any minds. Most of the people I spoke to at the events were already planning to vote for Hillary Clinton. Leigh Woods, a supporter, said she hadn't known about all of Clinton's work for children and the poor in Arkansas.

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LEIGH WOODS: So that was new news to me and was very meaningful to me.

KEITH: Woods came to the event with her daughter, Dakota Woods, who is in college studying political science.

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WOODS: I am, like, a Bernie supporter. I am not going to lie. And this is, you know, event has been really informative for just the things she's done because I'm too young to have been there when it was happening, you know?

KEITH: Undecided voter Jim Kelly and his wife brought their 8-month-old daughter out to see the former president. Kelly says he was starstruck. But did Clinton make a strong case for his wife's candidacy, I asked?

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JIM KELLY: I think he did. I think he's great. I think he could make a good case for anybody, though.

KEITH: Some things don't change. Bill Clinton will be making the case in Iowa on Thursday. Tamara Keith, NPR News, Manchester, N.H.

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