Mitch Perry Report 9.11.12 -Is the "Clinton Factor" overrated in the presidential race?

President Clinton is in Miami today, pumping up the candidacy of Barack Obama. His appearance comes six days after his boffo performance in Charlotte, and will be followed up by another Florida appearance in Orlando tomorrow, before other campaign spots in battleground states.

As we reported over the weekend, President Obama has no problem sharing the spotlight with Clinton, as he quoted his DNC speech several times. Whatever the behind the scenes feelings between the two gentlemen, Obama desperately wants to be re-elected, and believes the 42nd president is as good an advocate spreading the word on his behalf as any Democrat out there.

But as the New York Times Peter Baker reports, the press and Democrats shouldn't get too carried away about this new surrogate. That's because Clinton make more than 100 appearances for Democrats before the 2010 congressional elections, and its questionable whether they made any difference at all, as Republicans slaughtered Dems from coast-to-coast.

Clinton gave a masterful speech on behalf of why Democrats needed to vote for Kendrick Meek and Alex Sink in late October of that year on the University of South Florida's St. Petersburg campus. Meek, you might remember, finished in third place in the Senate race, behind both Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist. So let's hold off on the pronouncements that the Clinton factor will be the deciding one with independents this fall.

Speaking of Ms. Sink, a controversial new poll shows Charlie Crist doing very well in a mock head-to-head contest for the Democratic primary in 2014. But even if it's radically off, the evidence still shows that Crist would have a solid chance of winning the primary if he were to decide to go that route.

The DNC in Charlotte is over, but the memories remain. CL's Michael Newburger was at an interesting barbeque there last Wednesday, where the special guest was none other than "America's Toughest Sheriff," Joe Arpaio.

And over in Orlando, construction has begun on the 61-mile commuter rail system called SunRail. The agency head leading that effort visited the board of PSTA in St. Petersburg yesterday.