A Clinton-vs.-Obama Campaign Test

  • William Fernando Martinez / AP

    Former President Bill Clinton visits the National Service of Learning Center and an exhibit of social programs supported by his foundation in Soacha, south of Bogota.

    Is the gathering 2010 electoral tide about to sweep away another Washington incumbent? Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado hopes not. But after months of leading in the polls, Bennet found himself in some trouble before the state's Aug. 10 primary. A Denver Post poll shows Bennet, a former state-schools official named to fill the seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, trailing his opponent, former state house speaker Andrew Romanoff, by 3 points. Romanoff is so buoyed that last week he sold his house and poured another $325,000 into the race.

    Also boosting Romanoff is the endorsement he got from former President Bill Clinton, a move that ticked off White House officials who had backed Bennet. (Clinton was rewarding Romanoff for supporting his wife in the 2008 primaries.) Obama is sticking with his man, calling in to a Bennet tele-town-hall meeting on Aug. 3 to praise him.

    Democrats are confident that either man can win in November. And Clinton is helping in other ways, like planning to campaign for Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate nominee, Representative Joe Sestak. But the White House would hate to see the current President lose a duel with a former one.