Bill Clinton is scheduled to make his first campaign appearance of 2016 in New Hampshire next week.

The news of the former president’s planned stops prompted a late-night tweet from Trump on Monday…

“Though Donald Trump has pushed around nearly all of his fellow Republicans, Hillary Clinton won’t be bullied or distracted by attacks he throws at her and former President Clinton,” Clinton campaign spokeswoman Christina Reynolds said in a statement to NBC News.

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“I’m telling you this very strongly. First of all, she has committed a criminal act…. What she did with the emails was criminal,” Trump told supporters in Nashua, N.H. Summing up the Benghazi scandal, Trump charged that Clinton was “too lazy to answer phone calls.”

While Clinton for weeks has been able to quietly run her own campaign while watching Trump and other GOP candidates attack each other, Trump’s renewed focus on Clinton has brought her into the fray

While the Trump-Clinton clash could point to an effort by Trump to shed his GOP competition, Christopher C. Hull, president of D.C.-based public affairs firm Issue Management, Inc., downplayed any long-term strategy. He said the fight probably stems more from Clinton making the questionable claim in the last debate that ISIS was using videos of Trump statements to recruit.

“That was the opening Trump needed,” Hull said. “He understands leverage and he understands opportunities.”

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A poll of the upcoming presidential election finds Hillary Clinton tied with GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. In the Rasmussen survey of 1,000 likely voters, Clinton has 37 percent support against Trump’s 36 percent support. The finding upends most pundits’ predictions for the 2016 contest.

It is widely asserted by the pundit class and the Republican establishment that Clinton would be the prohibitive favorite against Trump, and generally most Republicans, in the election next Fall. This assessment is largely based on the conventional wisdom inside the “Acela Corridor,” the train link between Washington and New York where most of the political pundit class resides…

Among Republicans, however, 36 percent say they are “extremely excited” about the 2016 election, double the number of Democrats. Whether its eagerness to end the Obama Era, block Hillary from returning to the White House or genuine enthusiasm for Trump or other Republicans is immaterial. Republicans, at this stage, are highly motivated.

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I think it’s smart of Trump to counter-attack against Hillary the way he is. As someone who doesn’t want Trump to get the nomination, I worry that it may be too smart in that it will encourage some Trump-skeptics to rally to his side.

The Clintons seem to think getting into a fight with Trump is good for them. I’m sure it helps with fundraising and makes her seem even more like the inevitable nominee (which is probably one reason Sanders is trying to pick a fight with Trump as well).

But there seems to be this assumption that Trump’s insults and attacks are only effective against Republicans. I don’t think that’s true. Or at least I’ve seen no evidence for it.

Reminding people of Bill Clinton’s treatment of women, and not just Monica Lewinsky, is not good for the Clinton campaign. Having Hillary Clinton tagged as a hypocrite for crying sexism about everything and anything while (1) defending her husband’s predations and (2) laughing about getting a plea bargain for a child rapist seems entirely fair game. Trump has a gift for getting unpopular things into the national conversation. Having reporters asking Bill Clinton whether his sexual escapades are “fair game” is preferable to having them gush over his retail political skills, which is their default approach to covering Bill.

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During the heat of the 2008 campaign, Trump took to his own blog to praise Clinton, writing that she’d make a great president.

“Hillary Clinton said she’d consider naming Barack Obama as her vice-president when she gets the nomination, but she’s nowhere near a shoo-in,” wrote The Donald about the heated Democratic primary in 2008. “For his part, Obama said he’s just focused on winning the nomination, although at least one member of his team said Clinton would make a good vice-president. (I know Hillary and I think she’d make a great president or vice-president.)”

BuzzFeed News previously uncovered past Hillary Clinton praise on his Trump University blog, calling her a “great trouper.”

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Republican front-runner Donald Trump revived Bill Clinton’s past marital indiscretions this week, attacking Hillary Clinton on Twitter and on TV for playing the “women’s card” and saying her husband’s past affairs would be fair game.

Trump took a different tact in the late ’90s, when the scandal was at its peak, defending then-President Bill Clinton against the “moralists” and hypocrites in Congress and arguing that the scandal wouldn’t have been that bad if only Clinton had chosen to carry on an affair with a supermodel instead.

“I got a chuckle out of all the moralists in Congress and in the media who expressed public outrage at the president’s immoral behavior,” wrote Trump in The America We Deserve . “I happen to know that one U.S. senator leading the pack of attackers spent more than a few nights with his twenty-something girlfriend at a hotel I own. There’s also a conservative columnist, married, who was particularly rough on Clinton in this regard. He also brought his girlfriend to my resorts for the weekend. Their hypocrisy is amazing.”…

“When confronted with the Lewinsky matter, Clinton should have stoutly refused to discuss his private life,” wrote Trump. “He should also have declined to answer, rather than perjure himself. If the Clinton affair proves anything it is that the American people don’t care about the private lives and personal of our political leaders so long as they are doing the job.”

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Now I realize that Trump supporters will rationalize their man’s past praise of Hillary. This rationalization takes the form of, among other things, “Well, Ronald Reagan supported Democrats.”

Yes, Ronald Reagan voted for FDR four times. Ronald Reagan also had to deal with Communists in Hollywood while serving as President of the Screen Actors Guild and also got to understand the hardships facing small businesspeople and workers while travelling around the country as a spokesman for GE. These experiences, which took place over many years, turned Reagan from a liberal Democrat to a conservative Republican and would serve as the foundation for his “A Time for Choosing” speech on behalf of Barry Goldwater in 1964, his two terms as Governor of California and two terms in the White House.

Trump’s about face on Democrats did not come about because of a change of ideological conviction, but because of shallow opportunism. As Trump himself put it with regard to Hillary, “Why would I say she’s doing a terrible job knowing that I may need help from her or her husband in two years about something that I’m not even thinking about now?”

But if Trump said he thought Hillary would make a great President because he thought by saying good things about her that he could get “help from her or her husband” then it could also be said that Trump is now saying terrible things about Hillary because he needs help from voters to get him into office. But once in office then Trump won’t need anything from the voters until the next election.

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When I was growing up in New York, I wanted to be a professional boxer, but was smart enough to know that if I entered the ring with Muhammad Ali — then heavyweight champion of the world — they’d have to bring out the smelling salts within seconds and the ambulance would soon arrive to cart me away on a stretcher!

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump should consider such thoughts as he ponders his plan to go mano a mano against Bill Clinton, the most popular living former president and the heavyweight champion of American politics today. So might Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is widely despised among his GOP Senate colleagues, could well be defeated for reelection to the Senate from Texas and runs for president as the “Trump Lite” candidate. Bill Clinton is the heavyweight champion of American politics because his presidency is fondly remembered as a time when the nation was blessed with rising prosperity and tens of millions of new jobs and a widespread optimism that America was on the right track and tomorrow would be better than today…

Clinton is the happy warrior of American politics, who has demonstrated great skill working with political opponents to make government function effectively, while Trump praises himself for giving money to politicians to peddle influence and insults widely respected leaders such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose intensely patriotic heroism in military service he denies…

There are good reasons why Bill Clinton has earned the vast popularity he possesses and why Donald Trump has earned the sky-high negative ratings that plague him with national voters, and the loudmouthed bully of GOP politics would be well-advised to not mess with the heavyweight champion of the American political world.

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Via the Right Pundit.