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Clinton says wife is best of good field

'I don't think it's close,' he argues, though he has praise for her rivals.

December 30, 2007|From the Associated Press

NASHUA, N.H. — Bill Clinton praised the Democratic field of presidential contenders Saturday, noting that as president he had close ties to almost all of them. But he said there was no doubt his wife would make the best president.

Hillary Rodham Clinton dispatched her husband to shore up support in New Hampshire, where she remains in a tight race with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. The state's voters cast ballots Jan. 8 in the country's first presidential primary.

"I like this election because I don't have to be against anybody," the former president told volunteers at the Nashua VFW hall, where an overflow crowd waited for a glimpse of him.

"Tell the truth. How many times have you ever gone to the polling place and looked at the list of candidates, taken a deep breath and said, 'Well, I'll have to go with B, candidate B, because I would just die if A got elected?' We've all been there, haven't we?" Clinton said. That's not the case this year, he said.

He noted that he had campaigned for John Edwards in Edwards' 1998 Senate race and for Obama in Obama's 2004 Senate contest, and that Bill Richardson served as President Clinton's United Nations ambassador and Energy secretary. He said he counted Joseph R. Biden and Christopher J. Dodd as "two close friends of mine, and our friendship has remained since I left the White House, and it's even endured this campaign."

"These people are smart, honest, good, they love their country. They've done their best to address the challenges of the day. You just have to figure out who would be the best president," Clinton told the crowd -- adding quickly:

"And I don't think it's close."

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