Michelle vs. Bill: In the Democratic Race, the Spouses Go at It

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Can Michelle Obama take down Bill Clinton?

Well, can she at least exploit the spouse of her spouse’s chief rival to raise money for her own spouse?

On Thursday afternoon, the Obama campaign sent out a fundraising appeal signed by Barack Obama’s wife that uses Bill Clinton’s recent swipes at Senator Obama as its main get-out-your-checkbooks motivator. She writes:

We knew getting into this race that Barack would be competing with Senator Clinton and President Clinton at the same time.

We expected that Bill Clinton would tout his record from the nineties and talk about Hillary’s role in his past success. That’s a fair approach and a challenge we are prepared to face.

What we didn’t expect, at least not from our fellow Democrats, are the win-at-all-costs tactics we’ve seen recently. We didn’t expect misleading accusations that willfully distort Barack’s record.

Barack Obama isn’t relying on a former President of the United States to campaign for him.

He’s relying on us — you, me, and hundreds of thousands of people like us who are giving whatever they can afford to support this movement.

The Obama vs. Clinton and Clinton spat has been getting ugly, so much so that some Democratic leaders have been complaining that Bill Clinton has gone too far in assailing Obama, the most inspiring figure the Democratic Party has seen in years.

But, as I’ve already written, a mud-fight between the Clintons and Obama benefits Hillary Clinton. All this sniping sucks up oxygen (time and media attention) that Obama could otherwise be using to make his case that he’s a transformative, unconventional candidate committed to change and a new brand of politics. If in the days before Supersaturated Tuesday, the race comes across to television viewers (read: would-be voters) as a fury of accusation and counter-accusation, the more conventional candidate with the more conventional message will have the upper hand. You know who that is.

By keeping Obama (and his wife) in the gutter, Bill Clinton renders it tougher for Obama to inspire and to soar. And it’s hard to imagine that Mr. Clinton does not realize that.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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