- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 18, 2016

BLUE BELL, Pa. — The renewed focus on former President Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct over the years hasn’t sidelined him from his wife’s presidential campaign, as he stumped for Hillary Clinton in the Philadelphia suburbs Tuesday in front of a spirited crowd that couldn’t have cared less that he’s been accused of rape, sexual assault and harassment.

Voters who packed an atrium in a community college to see Mr. Clinton said his sexual transgressions were in the distant past and that Mrs. Clinton, who has been accused of enabling her husband’s mistreatment of women, acted as a loyal wife who was trying to save their marriage.

“That’s over and done with. He’s paid his dues,” said Marlene Armato, 68, a retired teacher. “They stayed married. That’s very important.”

She said Mrs. Clinton “reacted as a normal wife” when she defended Mr. Clinton against allegations he was having extramarital affairs and sexually harassing women.

Melisa Sherman agreed.

“That’s their marriage. You can’t judge someone based on their marriage,” said the 30-year-old real estate agent. “I don’t understand why Bill Clinton is on trial. He’s not running for president.”

However, she said Mr. Trump’s alleged inappropriate touching of women he met casually was a reflection of a significant character flaw.

“I don’t think he ever respected women,” said Ms. Sherman. “He doesn’t respect anybody.”

Mr. Trump made Mr. Clinton’s lascivious history and Mrs. Clinton’s role as an enabler a campaign issues when he fought back against allegations of his own lewd behavior with women, which have rocked the Republican nominee’s campaign and sent him tumbling in the polls.

The New York billionaire is struggling to recover from a 2005 videotape that surfaced Oct. 7, in which he is caught on a hot microphone boasting that his celebrity status allowed him to kiss and fondle women he meets. Within days, nine women came forward to say he did it to them.

At the second 2016 presidential debate Oct. 9 in St. Louis, Mr. Trump sat three of Mr. Clinton’s accusers in the audience:

*Juanita Broaddrick, who has accused Mr. Clnton of raping her in 1978 when he was the Arkansas attorney general;

*Kathleen Willey, a former White House volunteer who alleged that Mr. Clinton sexually assaulted her in 1993 during his first term as president; and

*Paula Jones, an Arkansas state employee who sued Mr. Clinton for sexual harassment when he was governor and eventually settled the lawsuit out of court.

Ms. Jones’ lawsuit spurred Mr. Clinton’s impeachment by the House of Representatives and led to revelations about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Sensitive to his own vulnerability on the issue of mistreating women, Mr. Clinton didn’t mention the scandal. Instead, he blasted Mr. Trump with charges that he degraded political discourse in the United States and built a following by exploiting the fears of white voters who feel displaced by economic and social changes.

“There’s been enough acid poured down the throats of Americans for the last 15 months to last us for 15 years,” Mr. Clinton told supporters who filled an atrium at a community college in Montgomery County, one of the voter-rich “collar counties” around Philadelphia that are pivotal in this battleground state.

Mr. Clinton said that he understood Mr. Trump’s supporters because he is an older “white guy” from Arkansas. He didn’t describe Mr. Trump’s followers as “rednecks,” as he has in the past and for which he suffered criticism.

But he said Mr. Trump was promising white voters that he would “move them up on the social totem pole at someone else’s expense.”

Hillary wants to tear down the social totem pole,” Mr. Clinton said to cheers from the audience.

Mr. Clinton remains a beloved figure among Democrats and an asset for energizing voters behind Mrs. Clinton, despite the sex scandals that mar his legacy.

Rosanna Scacchiano, 58, who is on disability, said that she “loved” the former president and respected Mrs. Clinton for staying by his side all these years.

“She forgave him. That’s a loving relationship,” she said.

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