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Bill Clinton Returns to Connecticut to Stump for Malloy

Jeff Cohen
Former President Bill Clinton Speaks to Malloy Rally in Hartford
"If you believe politics is always eating candy and never having to go to the dentist, [Malloy] had strategy that was designed to make everybody mad."
Bill Clinton

With recent polling showing Democratic incumbent Dannel Malloy in a close race with Republican challenger Tom Foley, each candidate is bringing in high-powered political talent to try and rally the vote. On Monday night, it was former president Bill Clinton's turn.

This was Clinton’s second visit to the state to stump for Malloy in about a month. The first was a lackluster afternoon affair in New Haven. This time, at a school in Hartford, there was more energy. Again, Clinton spoke about Malloy as a leader making tough decisions, and of Foley as something of a political opportunist.

"I’ve been following this race pretty closely," Clinton said. "[It] looks to me like the fellow running against him sort of said, 'Well, thank you very much, but people still have raw feelings about some of this, I’m going to rub on some of those raw feelings a little bit, and I want you to let me in so I can skate on what you’ve done.'"

Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR
Former President Bill Clinton at a campaign event for Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Clinton drove home the narrative of Malloy as a governor in a tough situation. "If you believe politics is always eating candy and never having to go to the dentist, [Malloy] had strategy that was designed to make everybody mad," he said.

Connecticut – after years of bad leadership – had it coming, Clinton said. "It’s really important that you send a signal that here, in Connecticut, when times are tough, if somebody will stand up and tell you the truth: we have this problem, that problem, the other problem; here’s what I intend to do about it; you will not like it all," he said. "It will be uncomfortable for some of you. You may have to give up something you’ve got or pay more than you’d like to. In the end, if we do this, we’ll hold the place together, and we’ll start making progress again, and we'll make progress together. We will share the benefits, just like we shared the responsibilities."

Listen below to Clinton's full remarks at the event:

But why did Clinton and Malloy stress the message of a good governor making tough, unpopular decisions? The answer may be in Quinnipiac University’s polling data. Malloy's popularity rating among likely voters is, and has been, low. Only 41 percent of those polled thought of him favorably. 

Jeff Cohen started in newspapers in 2001 and joined Connecticut Public in 2010, where he worked as a reporter and fill-in host. In 2017, he was named news director. Then, in 2022, he became a senior enterprise reporter.

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