Former President Bill Clinton is on a tear, traveling around the country to help his wife win the Democratic presidential nomination. But his repeated returns to his own administration have again raised questions about whether he is helping or hurting Hillary Clinton.
The latest example came in Steubenville, Ohio, on Sunday. Speaking to a protester who held up a sign that read "Abortion Kills Children," Clinton said while on "our watch" the Clintons were able to reduce the abortion rate without eliminating abortion rights.
During his administration, "We had the lowest teen pregnancy rate since the statistics had been kept when we were doing that. And guess what? Without overturning Roe v. Wade, or trying to keep people all torn up and upset or calling them killers, the abortion rate went down almost 20 percent on our watch," said Clinton, who twice during his administration vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortions.
Abortions declined between 1993 and 2000 from 1.5 million to 1.31 million, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute. The number continued to decline to 1.21 million through 2005, the last year of available data from AGI.
After a protester shouted another question about abortion, Clinton responded, "We disagree with you. You want to criminalize women and their doctors and we disagree. ... If you were really pro-life, you would want to put every doctor and every mother as an accessory to murder in prison. And you won’t say you want to do that because you know that, because you know that you wouldn’t have a lick of political support."
Clinton also got into an exchange with Barack Obama supporter Robert Holeman, in Canton, Ohio. Holeman repeatedly shouted, "Obama" during the event, and asked Clinton afterwards to stop the negative campaigning. Holeman said that Clinton responded that it was Obama who started it.
That followed Lubbock, Texas, on Saturday, when the former president, speaking to about 1,750 people inside a high school gymnasium, veered from the topic of why "half the world is mad at us" to an explanation why weapons of mass destruction weren't found in Iraq following the 2003 invasion.
Clinton credited his own actions as president.
"They think we made a mistake going in there (Iraq) without letting the U.N. inspectors finish their jobs," Clinton said. "And they would have found that the weapons of mass destruction that did exist -- the biological and chemical material -- were destroyed in 1998 when Saddam Hussein kicked the weapons inspectors out and I bombed where I thought they were. We got it, but we didn’t know. That’s what the inspectors are for.”
Then there were speeches by Clinton on Friday in which he referenced his own appearances in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, in 1994 and a speech in Ghana to a crowd he said was 1 million-strong.
Clinton also wanted to make sure the crowd in Lubbock knew that he is working on moving the world toward a green economy and hopes to continue his role in helping make the world a better place -- after the election.
"I am not just giving a campaign speech. This is work I do in my other life. I work in 40 cities in six continents proving that it's good business to save the planet and to become energy independent," he said.
“When this campaign's over -- I'll do whatever I'm asked to do if you elect her," he later said. "But I want to do my foundation work again. I like saving lives and just keeping score in an old-fashioned way."
Those types of remarks, said former Mitt Romney Communications Director Kevin Madden, serve as a "distraction" to Hillary Clinton's campaign.
"Surrogates are supposed to go out there and be sort of validators, He's become the one thing surrogates shouldn't," Madden said. "He's gotten the campaign off-message and he is starting to hurt when it comes to creating a meta-narrative about who Hillary Clinton is, about what she stands for."
"There's no doubt in my mind he's concerned about his legacy, every single president is," said Jane Fleming-Kleeb, executive director of Young Voter PAC.
"He has diverted attention. But on the other hand he is a different type of spokesman, he is the spouse and he will be in White House just as Michelle Obama will be in the White House. So it does concern voters," she said.
But Clinton's economic legacy, particularly on NAFTA, could also pose a problem for Hillary Clinton. Blue-collar Ohio Democrats see NAFTA as the cause of tens of thousands of manufacturing job losses throughout the state. Permanent trade status with China is a bird of a similar feather and equally loathed.
Bill Clinton had war rooms built to pass both pieces of legislation and both are inextricably linked to his economic legacy, a legacy Hillary Clinton increasingly leans on to differentiate her experience and record from Obama's. NAFTA and permanent trade with China make Bill Clinton appearances in Ohio on his wife's behalf a bit cumbersome -- especially as Hillary Clinton tries to downplay any previous enthusiasm she displayed about free trade.
FOX News' Major Garrett and Cristina Corbin contributed to this report.