(CNN) – Amid reports that Bill Clinton is frustrated with his speaking slot at the convention and Hillary Clinton wasn’t considered for Barack Obama’s running mate, the Illinois senator refuted both Monday, telling reporters that former President Clinton can speak about anything he likes and argued that Hillary was in fact looked at.
CNN reported Monday morning that President Clinton is not happy he was asked to speak Wednesday night when the theme is national security. Clinton prides himself on his administration’s economic success, a pillar of his 1992 campaign.
Obama says he told Clinton last week he could discuss whatever he likes.
“Bill Clinton is a unique figure in our politics,” Obama told reporters at a hastily assembled news conference Monday afternoon. “This is the only person, the only Democrat that has been re-elected since FDR and he is somebody who is equally adept at talking about domestic issues and foreign policy issues.”
“Wednesday night most of the focus is going to be about foreign policy, but Bill Clinton knows a little bit about trying to yank an economy out of the doldrums and trying to help middle class families,” Obama added. “It wouldn’t make much sense for me to want to edit his remarks to prevent him from making a strong case about why we need fundamental economic change in this country.”
Obama also pushed back against questions about his campaign not vetting Hillary Clinton, saying “one of the things I don’t want to do is start getting into all the details about my vice presidential process.”
“I’ve said publicly and I will repeat again that Senator Clinton would have been on anybody's short list and so I took her very seriously,” said Obama.
What she on his short list?
“I think you can draw that conclusion,” Obama responded.
Obama said he wasn’t concerned about the possibility of protests by Clinton supporters at the convention because the Clintons have been clear about their support for him and will “be active parts of our campaign for the remaining 70 days.”
“There are going to be some of Senator Clinton’s supporters who we’re going to have to work hard to persuade to come on board, that’s not surprising,” said Obama. “But if you take a look I think at this week, I am absolutely convinced that both Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton understand the stakes…”