The bad economic news has been good for Barack Obama, giving him a noticeable bounce in national polls and key swing states. But if he gets any more help from his so-called friends, he won't have to worry about Republican enemies. It's Democrats who are undermining him.
On the eve of the first presidential debate and in the midst of the Wall Street stress test, the Dem clans look to be back to their preconvention feuding ways. It's a strange time to remind voters of the party's simmering divisions and of Obama's weaknesses among working-class voters.
Naturally, the Clintons are in the middle of it all.
Bubba started it the other day by sounding like a Sarah Palin fan - "I get why she's hot out there," he told reporters, ticking off the details of her complicated family life as reasons why she's connecting with heartland Americans and publicly warning the Obama campaign that it was a mistake to attack her.
"I get this," Clinton said. "My view is ... why say, ever, anything bad about a person? Why don't we like them and celebrate them and be happy for her elevation to the ticket? And just say that she was a good choice for him and we disagree with them?"
Given the Palin appeal to some of the very voters Obama is having trouble courting, it was excellent advice. But by giving it publicly, he turned it into a criticism of Obama.
Oh, and just in case Obama didn't get the point, Bubba gilded it by saying Hillary never wanted to be his running mate anyway.
Hillary is busy stirring the pot, too. Her stumping for Obama comes with a blatant subtext that brands her supporters and keeps her coalition alive for the next race. Her HillPac committee, which raises money for her travel and for other candidates she selects, gives supporters buttons that say, "Hillary sent me!"
She's also showing up Obama, and John McCain, too, by offering more serious and long-range ideas for the financial meltdown than they are. She's given half-a-dozen TV interviews in the last two days, presenting a more substantive and less political face in the middle of the crisis.
Her team is keeping supporters abreast of her appearances and is sending around talking points for her plans, as though her campaign never ended. Or maybe the next one has already started.
Meanwhile, the man who did get Obama's running mate job is screwing it up. Joe Biden was supposed to be a "safe" choice as No. 2, but Biden's penchant for gaffes suddenly has kicked into high gear.
There have been at least three disagreements between Biden and Obama in recent days, something virtually unheard of among running mates, with Biden actually calling one of the team's ads "terrible" and saying it shouldn't have run. Whose side is he on?
Obama, showing some irritation of his own, publicly rebuked Biden during an NBC interview Tuesday on another issue, saying "Joe should have waited" before criticizing the federal loan to insurance giant AIG, something Obama supported and McCain opposed.
The back-and-forth reveals what an odd fit they are turning out to be, which can only raise new questions about whether Hillary would have been a better choice, a point Biden himself has conceded.
Of course, what the Clintons think is that she would have been a better presidential candidate than Obama. And despite successful pledges of unity at the party convention last month by Bill and Hillary, both are said to still harbor doubts that Obama can beat McCain.
They're not alone, as the polls show. But who knew Biden would be their Manchurian candidate?