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Caprio’s Clinton get — what it means

July 29, 2010

Bill and Hillary Clinton remain extremely popular in Rhode Island (a state tabbed, not incidentally, as one of the bluest of the blue in some recent national election cycles). Consider how Hillary walloped Barack Obama during the March 2008 presidential primary, even after an aggressive Obama push that included a strong grassroots effort and a local visit by future First Lady Michelle.

Hillary CLINTON 108949
Barack OBAMA 75316
John EDWARDS 1133
UNCOMMITTED 1041

So the value of Bill Clinton’s appearance today for Frank Caprio is considerable. The Rhode Island electorate is heavy on older, Roman Catholic voters — part of the Clintons’ traditional base.

It certainly helps Caprio that one of his key supporters, Mark Weiner, happens to be a Clinton confidante and Democratic fundraiser. (It wouldn’t be a surprise if Weiner’s company produced the Caprio key chains passed out as part of his campaign swag .)

This comes in a week where independent Lincoln Chafee offered a  more detailed plan than Caprio for saving state money, but where Chafee also stepped in it by going off-message to criticize Curt Schilling. The latter is the kind of thing that can hurt support among some voters.

The November election is a little more than three months away. That’s a long time in politics, and Chafee (and the other candidates) can be expected to step up their game. For now, though, the value of a campaign stop by a popular former president (and the extensive free media attention it will receive) makes this a big week for Caprio.

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