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Is Obama winning, asks Bill

Miami, July 12: Former President William Jefferson Clinton was talking recently about the mood in America.

The husband of the US secretary of state did not exactly say it was disastrously low, and he did not blame Barack Obama for it.

But, in relation to the presidency of the United States, he did insist: “The American people hire you to win for them, and if they don’t feel like winners, they’re not going to give you very much credit.”

And: “Until people feel better about their own lives, they’re not going to feel good about their President.”

Of course, as he talked to presumed millions in an interview on CNN, Clinton tossed in a don’t-get-me-wrong line concerning President Obama: “I think he’s done a better job than he’s getting credit for.”

While Clinton was brilliantly insinuating Americans are feeling that America isn’t winning much and that their President, hired to win, may not be the winner that American exceptionalism demands — the Obama administration’s responses to the recession, the environment, the Taliban, or the mullahs in their rush toward nukes are not regularly described as triumphs — he also had a piece of direct advice for Obama: “The most important thing is to fix the leak.”

The vast oil spill from the BP well in the Gulf of Mexico, Clinton seemed to suggest, was so far a tragic show of futility seeping deep into the American psyche.

He was masterfully indirect about it, but in questioning in the interview why it had not been stanched (where’s the navy?), and raising the possibility that federal officials may be as guilty for the problem as BP, he gave tacit support to the idea that it was incomprehensible that the world’s greatest technological and military power, in the space of close to three months, had not got the job done.

Is this the America that could change things, stop things, make bad things disappear through its strength, wealth and sense of responsibility, and as Clinton said, a month earlier, not only win for itself but “win for the world”?

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