August 25th, 2008
11:02 AM ET
6 years ago

Bill Clinton not happy with convention role

 Bill Clinton would rather discuss economic issues than national security, sources say.
Bill Clinton would rather discuss economic issues than national security, sources say.

DENVER, Colorado (CNN) – Bill Clinton is perplexed and, frankly, not happy that he was asked to speak about national security Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention and not about the economy, the issue that he rode to the White House at another time of economic peril, a source close to the former president said Monday.

Some close to Clinton are encouraging him not to stick with the night’s theme of national security and add language about the economy in his remarks, in a way that Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, would frame it, the source said. It’s no secret that Clinton considers himself a highly effective communicator on the politics of the economy.

Watch: The best and worst of convention history

As word of his displeasure was reported Monday, aides tried to suggest it was being overblown. It’s a pattern strikingly similar to reports of Hillary Clinton’s unhappiness with the way she was treated by Obama during his running mate search, which has contributed to intense talk of tension between camps Clinton and Obama leading up to a convention that’s being billed as a chance at unity.

Another Bill Clinton associate contacted CNN to dispute one report that he is angry about his speaking assignment, but that source also said the former president “believes there would be a lot of power in a Clinton/Bush/McCain economic contrast and might mention that a bit anyway.”

If history is any guide, it’s unlikely the Obama staff will know exactly what Clinton will say before he says it.

Another Democratic source who is involved in reviewing the convention speeches this year, and has in years past, said that unlike most other speakers, Bill Clinton's speech generally “comes in when he does - on a detachable drive and into the prompter.”


Filed under: Bill Clinton
soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. ANA G. LOS ANGELES. CA

    The ball is not in his court...hello!

    August 25, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. Brian Rich

    More rumors from the media machine, obsessed with driving wedges between everyone who ever voted for Clinton and everyone who will help Obama become the next president. Give it up.

    By the way, when was the last time CNN asked Republicans in a poll if they would rather have someone other than McCain as the nominee? I bet it would be around 50 percent.

    August 25, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  3. Travis

    Poor Bill....not happy.....too bad....so sad...get on with it loser and all

    this time you thought Monica could sneak in the back door...not

    happenin'.....YOU ARE THE REASON BILLARY LOST....full stop

    August 25, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. Spencer from VA

    Get over it Bill. I know one thing, he better play nice if he wants Hillary to get elected in 2012.

    August 25, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. Jim Schimmer

    Be smart vote democrat.
    Just look at your wallets!

    August 25, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Paula from Canada please post !!

    Hillary Bill..shut up! You are NOT the King and Queen of the world or the HILL for that matter. Go away you whiners! Everytime you two whine and have your hissy fit you take something away from the party..it's called DIGNITY.. give it up! IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU ANYMORE!!!

    August 25, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. CNN=Clinton

    Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton Clinton

    August 25, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. Catty

    You can begin to see the imploding of the democratic party.

    August 25, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. jen

    McCNN your reporting has become almost criminal. Now you are naming unknown sources to stories in order to stir up trouble for the Democrats.

    August 25, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  10. John in Ohio

    Bill Clinton's inability to keep it in his pants and his inability to be honest about it cost Gore the 2000 election and gave us 4 years of Bush. Lackluster support of Kerry by the Clintons quite possibly gave us 4 more years of Bush in 2004. And his anger and feeling of privilege may cost us the 2008 elections.

    The Clintons need to get it through their heads that IT IS NOT ABOUT THEM. Their supporters need to get it through their heads that IT IS ABOUT ALL OF US. It is about changing the direction this country is going in.

    August 25, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. KateyGreen

    Heeeee's Baaaack!

    August 25, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. Brian

    Let him talk about whatever he wants as far as I'm concerned. As long as this country gets back on track and starts acting like grown ups, than it doesn't make a difference to me. Just get everyone to rally around Obama, however you need to!

    August 25, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. NotFallingInLine.org

    CNN is in the direct middle of causing disorder. CNN wants the democrats to lose and they are trying everything they can to be like faux. Sick, sick, sick!

    August 25, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. R

    where's free speech? It's his speech. Plus I think it would help democrats to focus on the economy. This is huge issue right now

    August 25, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. Linda from Prescott AZ

    I sincerely hope that this report is not correct. Quite frankly if it is, I'm amazed, this is the Democratic National Convention...not the HIllary and Bill I'm not happy convention.

    Let's get together and knock this stuph out. I'm sure that once again Cnn is over zealous in it's reporting the negative. They do much better in supporting McCain than doing anything positive in regard to the Democrats. Including "CNN forces Obama to announce his pick early" It really accomplished nothing.

    August 25, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. Hillery help us

    Help us Hillery!

    Who do you believe we should vote for?

    Were not so smart without out, give us a sign?

    August 25, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. Abby

    Dear Angry Clinton backers,

    You are killing what little chance Hillary had of future presidency by angering the democratic base. The more you sabotage Obama and divide the party, the less likely it is that Hillary will EVER be nominated. She’s going to need African Americans and other obama backers in the future if she is ever to have a chance.

    Use your heads please.

    August 25, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. bruja

    It seems to be REALLY hard to make the Clinton's happy......

    August 25, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. Who cares?

    This family is now totally irrelevant. It's time to turn the page.

    August 25, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. Linda31

    I have a question for Hillary supporters that are still upset. Would it have helped if Hillary said that Obama won the nomination fair and square?

    I ask this question honestly, because if the only reason you are not supporting Obama is because Hillary did not win, then our country is not why you are voting.

    August 25, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  21. BGIV in NC

    We keep this up, way may as well just hand the keys to the White House to John McCain. All these individual egos to be appeased at the price of winning the election. As the leader of the party, Barack need to get control of this mess and soon.

    August 25, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  22. Where is Howard Dean?????

    It is hard to believe that the DNC is going to stand by and watch the Clintons destroy any chance of Obama winning in November because of their own self serving ambitions. When this election is over the Clintons will have a lot to answer for and they should not be let off the hook!! They only have themselves in mind and are really saying screw the rest of us and the way that we voted. We voted for Obama and he won!!

    August 25, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  23. Marc PDX

    MISJUDGEMENT...

    Obama, he of the superior judgement, should have made reconcilling with the Clintons priority #1. After all, Hillary had 18 million people vote for her. But Obama has acted like he doesn't care one way or the other about the Clintons. And that is very poor judgement!

    August 25, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  24. mobile251ala

    why is it that the media seems to wont to stir drama. man this is unreal all this over what. gas is $4, my overtime at work has been cut, food prices is up, i am unhappy about a lot of things, who cares if the clintons or mad i am mad to. give me they money and they have my money and i will show you how unhappy i will be. if obama lost i bet you she wouldnt have picked him...

    August 25, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. pb

    Is this about the Clintons? Why is it that Obama who is the nominee is not getting the respect that he has earned?

    Typical!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 25, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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