December 3rd, 2008
08:51 AM ET
5 years ago

Bill Clinton says he'd consider role in Obama administration

 The former President has pledged to release a list of donors.
The former President has pledged to release a list of donors.

HONG KONG, China (CNN) – Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Wednesday he will have "very little" to do with the decisions his wife Hillary will face as secretary of state in the incoming Obama administration.

"I'll just try to be a helpful sounding board to her, but I don't think I'll do any more than that," Clinton told CNN during a trip to Hong Kong.

President-elect Barack Obama announced Monday that Hillary Clinton, the senator from New York and former first lady, was his choice for secretary of state. Bill Clinton said he and his wife have always talked "about everything," and he called her advice "invaluable" throughout his career.

"I really care about all these profound challenges that our country and the world are facing," he said. "But the decisions will have to be ultimately the President-elect Obama's decisions to make about what we are going to do, what our policies are going to be."

Clinton said his wife learned she was being considered for the Cabinet post by reading it in the newspaper. He said he would remain in the background unless Obama "asks me to do something specific, which I'm neither looking for nor closed to."

"I think she made the right decision, but for her it was hard. She adored being in the Senate," he said.

Clinton was in Hong Kong to open a meeting of his Clinton Global Initiative, the non-profit foundation he started after leaving office. The organization, which is aimed at tackling international problems such as worldwide poverty and disease prevention, came under scrutiny while his wife was being vetted for the job.

Clinton said he has agreed to disclose his donors in order to eliminate concerns that supporters were trying to influence U.S. international policy, a move he called "over and above what the law requires."

"If she is going to be secretary of state and I operate globally and I have people who contribute to these efforts globally, I think that its important to make it totally transparent," he said.


Filed under: Bill Clinton
soundoff (245 Responses)
  1. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    ONE Clinton is TWO too many....

    December 3, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  2. Mike

    He should be responsible for Human Resources to interview future White House interns. That's what he enjoys doing most.

    December 3, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  3. Linda of Atlanta

    If anyone believes that Bill Clinton will not be involved with the job of Secretary of State if Hillary actually gets the job..... check with a mental health professionial.... you need help!

    Thankfully, there is some tiny little constitutional possiblity that she wont be able to become S of S, so that those few of us who still have our wits about us(otherwise know as Republicans) can hope!!

    December 3, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  4. obama-mama

    Oh boy.

    December 3, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  5. lonnette33

    I loves me some Big Dog, but I just want him to let Hillary shine now. It's her time. Let she and Obama do their think. Bill is still the Big Dog and will always be loved by many. If Obama asks him to help in some way then so be it. I think he can provide great help to the Pres-Elect. The Big Dog should offer advice when asked-nothing more. :=)

    December 3, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  6. lonnette33

    Also CNN-Give it rest for God's Sake.

    December 3, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  7. Martin

    Obama already has 73% of positions filled by former Clinton officials....he should just increase those "change" numbers and give President Clinton a job too.

    December 3, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  8. Barbara in NC

    Democrats had to put up with a village idiot running our country into wars and bankruptcy for 8 years. Now Republicans will just have to shut up for the next 8 years. (Not much wit – more like half-wit, to elect a sleeze like Chambliss, GA)

    December 3, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  9. Leah from FL

    Bill was a fantastic CEO of our country. We need the best in order to yet again get us out of the repub mess.

    December 3, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  10. katiec

    Bill Clinton is liked and respected throughout the world.
    He would be a good, uplifting respresentative for our
    country.

    December 3, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  11. Lois, Ont., Canada

    I was diappointed when Obama appointed Clinton for Sectretary of State. We will to see 'Madam Pant suit for at least four more years. Will 'Hillbilly' ever go away?!!!

    December 3, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  12. The dude

    Bill is awesome – he doesn't mean of word of that and every person on the planet knows it – yet we still love him.

    December 3, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  13. Jennifer

    Linda of Atlanta, Hillary already got the job..that was announced Monday..I don't know why everyone thinks whatever Hillary does in the US government that her Husband Bill will be involved..remember when he was President she had a lot to do with his administration..she helped him..give the woman credit for crying out loud..

    December 3, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  14. More Clinton

    We need them now more than ever,

    December 3, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  15. Larry, CA

    Who needs you? You have been a pain to USA.

    December 3, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  16. Way to Go Sarah Baby!!!

    Sarah Palin went to Georgia over the weekend, brought out the crowds, and swept Saxby Chambliss into the Senate and prevented the Dems. from a filibuster proof majority.

    Thanks Sarah and we'll see you in 2012 as Obama fails because he could not revive the economy and could not handle Al Qaeda.

    December 3, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  17. EVERYMAN

    Director of White House Interns, perhaps?

    December 3, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  18. Kim

    Obama made an awesome choice of Hillary Clinton for secretary of state. She will represent us well. As far as her connection to former President Bill Clinton; it is a great advantage.

    December 3, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  19. S Callahan

    Is it me, or has CNN ticker gone bi polar.....one end stating he was not being involved, and then alleging he was looking for a role...hmm

    I don't see his comment as saying he was looking for a role, only that he is available if needed............

    December 3, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  20. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    We all need to separate the candidates' behavior during a campaign from their behavior in their day job.

    Both Bill and Hillary got stupid during the campaign. The main reason Barack Obama won the primaries is that he mostly refused to return in kind. However, even he wasn't perfect. (Remember, he also had HIS 3am ad!!)

    But Both Bill and Hillary have done an excellent job in the White House and New York. And Obama has done an equally good job in Illinois.

    Now that the sparring matches are over, they can go back to normal. I believe that all three will be able to work out their differences and make the changes that we need.

    Of course, the first big change has already happened. We got rid of Bush and Cheney. That's an excellent start!!

    December 3, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  21. Thomas

    Yeah I like all the DEmocrats so I love Hillary

    December 3, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  22. Rep.

    As a republican why wouldn't we want HIllary as our Sec. of State? She has a great reputation world wide and I think thats exactly what we need when we elected a president with very little International Knowledge and experience

    December 3, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  23. yellow dog democrat

    Great!! I'm all for it – not a bad reference point for all concerned! At least its going to be intelligent thinking for a change. Not all the recommendations provided by so many negative "bloggers"......where are your degrees in political science and foreign policy? Why don't you run for an office and do something for the country instead of sitting in the comfort of your home and saying absolutely nothing? At least you do provide a degree of entertainment.

    December 3, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  24. Doug R.

    Mike tells us Bill should work in the HR Dept and interview interns. Mike's a funny guy. Maybe you can do that better than Bubba, Mike. There are job openings in the Obama administration.

    December 3, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  25. Pat in IL

    Good grief.....the nay-saying here is really getting boring. Appointments are being made by people who know the whole picture in the inside track, and the inauguration for their terms hasn't even happened yet. It makes a lot more sense to let it rest and wait and see what happens after the new administration takes office. In the meantime, most of us need to mind our own lives and quit wasting time being sarcastic or posting uninformed comments.

    December 3, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
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