January 31st, 2008
09:50 PM ET
9 years ago

Schneider: Clinton tackles the First Spouse issue


Former President Clinton campaigned for his wife in New Jersey recently. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Hollywood loves the core of Obama’s answer on the sex and violence in media issue: don’t blame producers, blame the parents. He doesn’t let them off the hook, but he does argue their case somewhat.

Meanwhile, Clinton’s having trouble with a tougher question – and a unique problem for her. Obama doesn’t have to deal with the specter of a former president in the White House alongside the new commander-in-chief. There’s a lot of evasiveness in her response.

Related: Hillary Clinton says she's running for president–not Bill

- CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider

Filed under: Schneider analysis
soundoff (263 Responses)
  1. fergusparent

    regarding Anna's response,

    January 31, 2008 10:04 pm ET

    All I want to say is "It did take a Clinton to clean after the first Bush, and I think it might take another one to clean up after the second!"-Hillary Clinton.

    Clinton-Obama 2008!!

    I agree, that was a fantasic answer from Hillary, in your face Bushy boy.

    January 31, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  2. Mary Cynor

    Why do you pathetic people in the media continue and continue to waste my time by asking such stupid questions. Please don't continue to question my intelligence and waste my time and stick to the issues that are relative and dire to our country.

    Don't you get it. We don't care what you think or believe. All I want is the facts. I can decide who fits my criteria for a good president.

    I frankly cannot stand the circus the media has become and I do not know who to turn to to get the real news. I find myself changing channels or turning the darn thing off.

    Please give us a break.

    January 31, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  3. Grace, Overland Park, Kansas

    i think it would serve hillary well if she stops citing statistics of her husband's candidacy. this is why that spouse question is so potent, because sometimes people (including the clintons) get confused with who is actually running for President. and this is also why hillary is a weak candidate, because her "experience" is completely dependent on bill. many people are cognizant that without him, she most likely would not be here. on the other hand, obama's accomplishment's are solely his, so he has more legitimacy.

    January 31, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  4. Jeanette J

    Bill, I think you are disappointed there wasn't a brawl on stage tonight, so you're trying to stir something up!

    January 31, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  5. Doe

    I see an Obama-Sebelius ticket as the best bet. That would be unbeatable in November.

    January 31, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  6. WhoCaresWhatBillThinks

    Won't he ever just go away...the answer is as long as Hillary is running for HIS THIRD TERM....NO....NEVER.....NEVER EVER....NO WAY JOSE.

    Just go away Bill Clinton and please take Hillary with you. Go back to the good old 90's already.

    January 31, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  7. Eric Hoerger

    When Hillary was asked what she would do with her husband's comments on Barak she said it was her campaign and she was in charge. And I think we would agree, so why has her husband had such free reign, and is this a forwarding sign of things to come if she were to win the Presidency? If she can't control Him now, and secretly cheers him on, what will happen when there truely is nobody able to say "NO" to Bill?

    January 31, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  8. Carmen Barringer

    An enjoyable debate. Both candidates are impressive. Hillary I thought had a slight edge tonight. However, both of them are head and shoulders above anything the Republicans can produce because their main thrust is who is the most like President Reagan, and sucking up to Bush. Congratulations Democrats

    January 31, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  9. Percy

    Obama did better than he usually does in a debate. He still stammers and what is concerning is he should really have such a handle on the material – by now. He didn't stammer as much. He did his job tonight, he had a chance to clean up after his appalling behavior at the State of the Union...and he did. All in all, he is just not prepared. He will be soon. He needs a few more years under his belt, not to get the hope boiled out of him....yet to get him more skills to bring hope to reality. Hillary for President '08.

    January 31, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  10. Pamela

    Obama has the leadership ablity and the integrity needed to take our country in a new direction. He is genuine and does not come across as phony the way Hilliary does every single time I have watched her. She never answers a question directly. Barack has the vision and he is ready. The question is, are we?

    January 31, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  11. BofT

    Dear fergusparent,

    just becasue Hillary says she will be in charge does not make it so. She has never been able to control Bill and she will not in the future. The media will see to it that Bill will be center stage should Hillary become president. Heaven help us shold this happen. Hillary will challenge Hugo Chavez for the title of the hemisphere's leading socialist.

    January 31, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  12. Bill Hutnik

    I am disappointed that the questions of Mr. O'bama in the debates fail to challenge him on his statements on the war in Iraq. He often speaks about his opposition to the war and while I respect that about him, I think he is somewhat exploiting the benefit of hindsight on this issue. The public and democrats now having hindsight are now anti-war. However, as I recall, at the time that a bill was proposed to give the president the authority to go to war in the event of an imminent threat , the public among both democrats and republicans was overwhelmingly in favor of that bill. The question I would like to see the media ask Mr. O'bama is what would he have done if inspectors had been permitted to do their job, and they had found WMDs and if Hussein presented an imminent threat. Would he authorize the use of military force? And what would he do if the U.N. failed to act to protect the US or its interests? Would he ever authorize unilateral military force to protect the US from an imminent threat? There are many potential threats that exist today, N. Korea, Iran, Syria, Terrorists, etc. Under what circumstances would he authorize unilateral military force to protect the US?
    I am an undecided Democrat. Until I understand O'bama on this issue, I don't know if I can vote for him. Please challenge him on this issue.

    January 31, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  13. carrie

    The media has a love affair with Obama and sadly I think cause its a new face-new stories to tell and new people to write and talk about. They already know about Hillary so no news there. The media gives Hillary the shaft by giving her constant low blows with a smile. I congratulate her with riding the storm. Why is her husband being a former president of the United States such a bad thing? When Obama's wife goes and talks about her husband and says you would be out of ur mind for not voting for him, nothing is commented by the media but if Bill Clinton says Boo she needs to control him. The idea that Hillary cant "control" her husband is sexist! Imagine asking Obama to control his wife! Things were said on both sides. I don't understand why experience is frowned upon. If everyone wants a really new face and a "change" vote for any democrate. Besides all this talk about change. There are certain programs that are taxes fund, how much "change" can in reality be changed and how much is too much? Cnn should have asked what would they keep!

    January 31, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  14. Tommy


    The bill was not an approval to go to war, as it was NOT a declaration of war. Hillary was correct and it's stupid of anyone to think that if they did the right thing at the time, based on facts at the time, and someone else chooses to do something else, well then, it boils down to, should you be held accountable for the actions of your children as a bad parent who made bad decisions, when the kids are 42 years old. Get real.

    And, she didn't look down and evade unless you suggest that the 210 times that Obama looked downward means that he's a liar as well.

    January 31, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  15. Lieven Van Neste

    The 2 of them are a great "TEAM"... and for sure they represented the position of the Democrats much, much better than the Republicans bickered (at least McCain and Romney – who were like fighting children).

    However, Clinton weakened her position, by attempting to defend (sooo long) her decision (her judgement call) to agree with Bush, originally. And this will likely benefit Obama a lot.

    No doubt... Obama is a REFRESHING ALTERNATIVE!!!

    January 31, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  16. Alabama's Thoughts

    I agree about the biased analyse but we as individual thinkers should still be about to come to our own decisions without the influence of others... granted this is rare now a days... This just allows u to realize that you disagree with him and that henceforth helps u come to your voting decision.

    January 31, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  17. Dean Alan Hypes

    I liked how both candidates tried to show the Democrats as a unified party and being civil with each other. What I didn't like was Wolf trying to stir it up and put words in the candidates mouths, especially Hillary's. I was leaning towards Edwards prior to the suspension of his campaign and will take my time deciding between the two remaining candidates. Whoever the Democrats decide on will get my vote over McCain or Romney.

    January 31, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  18. observer

    CNN certainly is biased to Obama. Whatever, Hillary is one tough woman, there is no doubt. She did not flinch on anything she was hit with, and she was hit with alot. She was in total control and on target. This is a woman ready to be President, CNN might as well get use to it. Too much ers and uhs from Obama, too much stalling and trying to come up with another of his chants.

    January 31, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |

    Bill is still a President. He will get his fingers in the pie. She cannot simply put him a corner when he speaks as if he were still running the show. It will be impossible to keep him quiet..Look at his actions over the past three WEEKS. Think about FOUR YEARS!

    January 31, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  20. CA Voter

    The "real" Hillary/Bill question is why she has allowed Bill to walk all over thier marriage without much debate. Will anyone ask that question? Why is it being avoided?

    January 31, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  21. Gary from California

    I have to give Hillary Clinton alot of credit for being a brave and honest person while fielding such difficult and personal questions. After her husband commited material indiscretion, she hung in there and worked hard to make it work. Give her credit not flack. Remember, don't attack the innocent spouse for the mistake of the other. If people think she has baggage then people must be pure as the driven snow. She and her husband have reconciled and are still married and they are both role models for working out their problems and not divorcing, like so many Americans eventually do. All people make mistakes and as Americans we all celebrate our fability for tollerance but lately many have forgetten this and its evident in this new media world we live in. We should all judge her on her merits instead of stereotyping her as a woman and wife who is by the way a politician. Both JFK and MLK would have agreed on this. Go Hillary, she will be our new president.

    Clinton '08

    January 31, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  22. Bill

    Whoa, who let the nut in the building. Timmy....bit of a conspiracy theorist arnt we....dont belive anything you read.

    Even if your website is true, who has killed more, Bill Clinton or George Bush?

    January 31, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  23. Raul

    It would hard for Hillary to unburdan herself from the bill bagage once she is in the white house.....the bagage comes with all the paraphernalia of clinton campaign machinary, lobbyists and special interest groups....the same poiltico-economic force that shaped and defined the clinton era. what is the strength of the Hillary's conviction that she would deny "bill" the role of first man and a consultant when she herself was politically born out of being the first lady.

    January 31, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  24. Vivi

    What Obama answered proved that he is not an expertise. It's good but it's not practical. Especially, about the war, I think he dreams.
    Come back on 2017, Obama

    January 31, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  25. Big'n'Little

    One of these days Hilary is actually going to answer a question instead of three words into the answer, changing the direction to something convenient, and the sky is going to fall.

    January 31, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
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