What Obama Owes the Clintons

Obama's backers love to hate the Clintons. But without Bill and Hillary, his candidacy would not be possible

Anthony Suau for TIME

Senator Hillary Clinton and her husband, Bill Clinton.

Someday soon, when Hillary Clinton exits the Democratic presidential race, Barack Obama will walk onstage and praise her and her husband to the heavens. Publicly, Obama can afford to be magnanimous. But it's a good bet the private Obama feels the way a lot of his supporters do: like sending Ken Starr a fan note. For many Obama activists, Clinton's brass-knuckles campaign confirmed everything they had always suspected about Hillary and her husband: that they're cynical and ruthless, the detritus of an era in which Democrats sold out their ideals to get elected. Obama's backers generally feel about the Clintons the...

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