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Did Bill Clinton Hurt Hillary's S.C. Showing?

Former President Bill Clinton’s strong words in the days leading up to the South Carolina Democratic primary may have affected Saturday’s results in ways that didn’t help Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls. While polling is under (well-deserved) scrutiny lately, statistics aren’t needed to indicate how risky some of Bill Clinton’s choices have been.

First of all, as ABC News’ Jake Tapper points out, Bill Clinton’s attempts to link Barack Obama with Jesse Jackson in voters’ minds were far from subtle:

ABC News via Huffington Post:

Said Bill Clinton today in Columbia, SC: “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ’84 and ’88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here.”

This was in response to a question about Obama saying it “took two people to beat him.” Jackson had not been mentioned.

Boy, I can’t understand why anyone would think the Clintons are running a race-baiting campaign to paint Obama as “the black candidate.”

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Here’s what CNN’s Political Ticker reported about the Bill factor in the exit polls:

CNNPolitics.com:

Roughly 6 in 10 South Carolina Democratic primary voters said Bill Clinton’s campaigning was important in how they ultimately decided to vote, and of those voters, 48 percent went for Barack Obama while only 37 percent went for Hillary Clinton. Fourteen percent of those voters voted for John Edwards

Meanwhile, the exit polls also indicate Obama easily beat Clinton among those voters who decided in the last three days — when news reports heavily covered the former president’s heightened criticisms of Obama. Twenty percent of South Carolina Democrats made their decision in the last three days and 51 percent of them chose Obama, while only 21 percent picked Clinton.

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