, Newburyport, MA


November 3, 2012

All bets off as race nears finish line

I had about finished with the news of the morning before Big Freddy showed up and said, “How you doing?” as he wedged his way into his side of the booth.

“At the moment, I’m trying to keep the space I had while you’re shoving the table,” I said.

“And a very good morning to you, too,” he said.

“So,” I said after he had settled himself, “we’re at the end of the race, what do you think?”

“What I think is all bets are off,” Freddy said.

“Why?” I asked

“Too much mud on the track,” Freddy said.

“From the hurricane?” I asked.

“That, for one,” Freddy said. “Major cleanup. Billions of damage. Boost for Obama on the scene showing the presidential colors by doing what Bush didn’t in New Orleans.

“Meanwhile, Bill Clinton’s pushing buttons for him.”

“What’s he got to do with it?” I asked.

“Clinton’s an unspent political force, and he’s making the most of it with Obama’s faithful for Hillary four years from now when she’ll need them if she runs,” Freddy said.

“They don’t really like each other, from all I’ve read,” I said.

“Liking’s got nothing to do with politics,” Freddy said.

“We’re talking political power brokerage here. Bill Clinton’s as good a high-stakes player as there is. He owes Hillary and he wants Obama to owe him. This race is going to be decided when they count the last vote — it’s that close, and Obama needs him like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie needs Obama for help to deal with the mess the hurricane made of his state.”

“Christie won’t back away from his support of Romney,” I said. “This was about a Republican governor and a Democrat president needing each other on common ground. Obama did what a president needs to do at such a time and so did Christie. People feel better when they see that kind of thing.”

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