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October 9, 2007

And Veep Makes Three (or: Who’s Whispering Behind My Back?)


This image accompanying Vanity Fair’s dish on the Clinton-Gore-Clinton WH triangle, appearing as it does now, conveys relevance beyond mere historical (or Page Six) fascination.

Illustrating the excerpt from Sally Bedell Smith’s new book on the Clintons, the pic offers a number of significations in the current campaign.

First, the visual is just one more boulder in the current media avalanche affirming presuming Hillary’s front-runner status as a shoo-in for the nomination.  Second, the Bill + Hill alignment here — merging a couples meme (see: embrace) with a campaign team meme (given Hillary sporting the team button and the fact Al bears absolutely no visual concordance with Bubba) — reinforces a growing, if tacit recognition that Hillary’s is inevitably a “buy one, get one free” campaign.  (Notice, by the way, how the cover of the latest Economist also reinforces point #1 and #2.  … And if you have trouble with this thesis, consider how much the body language mirrors the stereotypical running mate pose.)

Third, now that Hillary has won the media primary, let the Veepstakes begin!

Fourth, you think Gore had it rough?  Pity the poor shmoe who agrees — should Team Hillary actually get to nod — to sign on as third wheel.

Fifth, check out the whisper.  In the book excerpt, Tipper is described as someone who reached out to Hillary from the early days of the Clinton-Gore administration, but is then steamrollered as Hillary battled Gore for influence.  Funny that Tipper, seen as the least political of the foursome, is responsible, in the photo, for she and Al withholding attention from whatever shining thing has the first couple’s attention.  Given the protocol to “follow the leader” (in combination with the dynamism and aggressiveness of the Clintons), is the suggestion here that you don’t go behind a Clinton’s back?

Lastly (although the placement might be purely random), it’s interesting to see Hillary in that not unfamiliar spot — splitting the middle.

(Mark Peterson/Corbis.  Vanity Fair.  November 2007.  caption: Bill and Hillary Clinton and Al and Tipper Gore on the campaign trail in New Jersey, July 1992 )

  • Antares

    Perhaps Tipper is whispering, “Wait until you win that Nobel Prize.”

  • KingElvis

    “Your job’s a joke your broke – your love life’s DOA…seems like your always stuck in second gear, and it doesn’t seem to be your day, your month or even your year, but…I’ll be there for you…”
    Usually growing up means you abandon your friends because of various interests of you and your spouse.
    This picture is so nineties – literally and figuratively. Hilly looks like Pheobe.

  • gabriela

    Those were the days, my friend….
    We thought they’d never end…
    We’d sing and dance, forever and a day.

  • donna

    Was there something wrong with eight years of peace and prosperity? Young, charismatic leaders?
    No matter what happens in the next election, Clinton and Gore will be powerhouses for a long time to come. While Bush won’t be able to go anywhere outside his little bubble of buddies.
    It would be nice to see competent people in the Whitehouse again.

  • margaret

    People get the face they deserve as they age. Hillary’s face, when the age she was in this picture is the face of someone I could have voted for, then. But, the face she has today; I could not trust the thoughts behind it. Is she really so inevitable?

  • eric

    Looking at that picture really makes me think of better, optimistic times.

  • tekel

    Oh, I disagree. Hillary is looking at whatever. Bill is clearly making eye contact with someone looking back at him. She still thinks that politics is about IDEAS, and ideals. He knows that it’s all about people.

  • jtfromBC

    Is that extremely concerned face between and behind B-H one of their bullet catchers ?

  • tina

    Hillary looks disarmingly young in that photo. I wonder how many people will vote for Hillary because they really want her husband back in the White House. I wouldn’t mind, I’ll tell you that. Businesses doing well, everybody had a job, a health care proposal on the table, no war (much less two), yeah, I’ll take it back, even if Monica had to be part of the package.

  • jtfromBC

    to the contrary:
    Good Ol’ Bill, the Liberal Hero
    - by John Pilger

  • Bourgeois Nievete

    It appears that Hillary is the only person looking awe-struck at whatever it was that got her all lit up and inspired. You could drive a truck through those pupils!
    Bill has someone else in his sights,
    the fellow behind them might be also awestruck
    but the fellow next to him definitely has a problem with something happening stage left…probably some firemen.
    Tipper looks as if she just told Al that she dosed Hillary’s Pepsi in the ladies room…”Al, I gave her a full dropper! Just like you said to!”

  • Tom the toy designer

    Isn’t that Jim McGreevey in the background? (the ex-closeted New Jersey ex-governor?) Maybe Tipper is whispering, “I did NOT goose you!”

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