Vol. 1, Issue 30, December 9, 2003
Clinton Endorses Jimmy Dean for Democratic Candidate
Former President Bill Clinton returned Tuesday after a long absence to a well-worn campaign trail and gave an emphatic endorsement to Jimmy Dean, proclaiming him the real Texan alternative to George Bush.
"With all due respect, our nation in its 200-year history has never made a worse mistake than putting George W. Bush in the White House," Clinton told a raucous crowd of labor activists at a hotel ballroom here. "For all his down-home twang, his family isn't even from the South. Now, Jimmy Dean is a man I can stand behind."
It was a striking bit of political theater to watch Clinton, who has a plausible claim as titular leader of the Democratic Party, bequeath his endorsement on a candidate who is the longest of long-shot candidates - a man best known today for his tasty line of breakfast sausages.
"We need to remake the Democratic Party; we need to remake America," Clinton said. "All of us need to get behind the candidate with the best business experience, and that's Jimmy Dean."
In the 1960's, Jimmy Dean was a world-renowned singer, songwriter, and entertainer with hit songs on the pop charts, as well as The Grand Ol Opry. Dean had two national prime-time TV series, and several big picture movies under his belt. Since 1969 he has been known as one of the nation's leading purveyors of pork products, a congenial businessman who rarely takes a political stand. However, he seemed pleased to receive the endorsement of the former president.
"Well that's mighty nice of Bill there," said Dean. "I didn't even know I was a potential candidate, but it's hard to turn down such a friendly gesture."
Clinton's endorsement comes on the heels of Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean. The extent to which Clinton's announcement immediately overshadowed Gore's has rankled supporters in the Gore/Dean camps. They said something about of a lack of media interest, but this reporter wasn't listening.
The impetus behind Clinton's endorsement is likely a reaction to President Bush's renowned emphasis on fitness.
"It's no secret that George Bush takes his health seriously," said NPR political commentator Daniel Schorr. "The president works out for several hours a day and has been known to publicly ridicule White House officials and staff who are less physically fit or heavier than he. It's possible that Bill Clinton sees this as a rejection of his own regime." Clinton's fondness for fast food and rich southern cuisine, including Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage, is well known.
Senator Hillary Clinton declined to comment on her husband's decision to endorse Dean or his love of Jimmy Dean products.
"I really have no desire to hear anything else about Bill and his sausage," said Senator Clinton.