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Bill to play lesser role in Hillary's campaign

Following the widespread view that Bill Clinton's anti-Obama efforts backfired in South Carolina, the New York Times reports, in a story tucked on A19 today, that the former president will play a "gentler role" going forward.

Obama, meanwhile, has scored the Kennedy hat-trick with the addition of RI's own US Representative Patrick J. Kennedy.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign team, seeking to readjust after her lopsided defeat in South Carolina and amid a sense among many Democrats that Mr. Clinton had injected himself clumsily into the race, will try to shift the former president back into the sunnier, supportive-spouse role that he played before Mrs. Clinton’s loss in the Iowa caucuses, Clinton advisers said.

But Democrats said it was not clear whether the effects of Mr. Clinton’s high profile could be brushed away by having him modulate his campaign style. They said Mr. Clinton had upset some of the central themes of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, including her appeal to women and her assertions that her time in the White House during the 1990s amounted to vital experience rather than a link to a presidency defined as much by scandal and partisan divisions as by its successes on fronts like the economy.

Despite Mrs. Clinton’s months-long efforts to build a base of support among women, Clinton advisers said they were concerned that her husband’s recent prominence may have dampened her appeal as a strong female leader. Some advisers said they feared as much after Mr. Obama won 54 percent of the vote from women in South Carolina, including 22 percent of white women and 78 percent of black women, according to polls.

Echoing private remarks by some Clinton advisers, Linda L. Fowler, a professor of government at Dartmouth College, said in an interview that she believed Mr. Clinton’s attacks on Mr. Obama had hurt Mrs. Clinton.

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