December 3rd, 2008
08:51 AM ET
9 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. Robert in raleigh

    Bill, you are hard to trust, so please don't make all the naysayers right by screwing this up for pres obama

    December 3, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  2. Robert

    The U.S. citizens should be thankful that their country is turning a new page again and with Obama as lead and such highly respected people as Hilary Clinton...... the world will start looking brighter. To those who pick the negative route on their criticisms.(Clintons)............ i really wonder how much you really know what is going on around the world and the depth of U.S. involvment and challenges ahead. Put strong respected people at the front...the new page is turning quicker.

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

    All I know is that when Clinton was president people had jobs, we were not at war on two fronts and most of us had change in our pockets; don't forget he was responsible to eliminating the deficit. Frankly, the GOP did everything in their power to discredit the Clintons. Why don't we ever address the fact that the GOP brings out the abortion issue every time there is an election? If Roe vs Wade was going to be repealed wouldn't have the village idiot taken care of it in the eight years he was king? Same old tune. The GOP needs to disband and began a new party.

    December 3, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  4. Cynt

    I hope Obama does not give him a positon, I still think Bill is upset about theoutcome of the primary when Hillary lost, he can't be trusted.

    I have always like Bill but the election changed my mind about him in many ways. Let Hillary be the SOS but bill needs to continue to work with his global progam, not have a position in Obama's administration.

    December 3, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  5. Gail, Pittsburgh PA

    Sounds like sour grapes to me-are you suggesting that Hillary can not think for herself?After all we already had Two too many Bush's and you did not seem to mind.Can we give them a chance? If this administration
    sucks we will vote them out also

    December 3, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  6. Bill----here's a job for you.

    Find Obama's illegal immigrant aunt who is hiding out in the U.S.

    She was deported 4 years ago and has lived here illegally at taxpayer expense in Public Housing. She should be on the next boat back to Kenya but all the news organizations, especially CNN, have been ordered to suppress the story.

    get on this Bill.

    December 3, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  7. Sylvia

    What is wrong with Campbell Brown? Why is she always huffing and puffing about sexism or PE Obama said this or that not to her liking. She does not appear to be a happy person nor an objective reporter. I guess being married to Dan Senor, big time GOP, makes it difficult!

    December 3, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  8. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    The people who has the fear about The Clinton's are small, low, narrow mind, and stupid idiots. They have the rights to do any position they could, Americans should be proud of The Clinton's. You will never have such a great couple for many Century.

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

    Obama's already picked the WRONG Clinton.

    Now, he might as well pick the RIGHT one, also!

    December 3, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  10. Mobius

    They're ALL Clintons – aren't you paying attention?

    Change. Riiiiiiight. Suckerrrrrs.

    December 3, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  11. angela

    Our country need all the help we can get. If Bill Clinton wants to help, please let him. Also Colin Powell would be a great advisor to Obama if he does not want a position. Go OBAMA!!

    December 3, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  12. Andrew

    My views are more 'real' republican than democrat for sure. Meaning less government involvment/spending, but the Republican Party has moved away from that (who knows why). When you look at United States history it is hard to see why the people have been so against Democrats. The 2 Presidents that have contributed the most to our national Debt have been Reagan and G. W. Bush – REPUBLICANS! Bill Clinton with a Republican Congress is probably the most successful government this country has had since Eisenhower. The US thrived in the 90s with a Democrat at the helm. He would be remembered as one of the best Presidents of all time if he hadn't had an encounter with an intern which had nothing to do with how he ran the country. I may not agree with Public healthcare and terrible spending habits of our government, but its hard to argue that a republican would do a better job than Obama. There is one thing Obama has going for him, he is very smart and surrounds himself with smart people. Can't fault him for that, especially after the last 8 years.

    December 3, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  13. Linda of Atlanta

    Lois of NC:

    Read about some of what Martin gave himself while an elected representative in the Georgia state legislature and you will know why many of us Republicans down here in Georgia will never vote for a Democrat in our lives.

    December 3, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  14. Curtis Walker

    Bill Clinton says he'd consider role in Obama administration
    is the headline for this story, yet it is all about Hilary Clintons position as Sec of State.
    CNN's editorial staff is pathetic. I catch more mistakes on CNN's web site than the entire CNN organization.

    December 3, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  15. Jodie

    Good points, Bill Clinton was liked and respected all over the World, not so with G W Bush. He left the country in a positive state with a surplus which Bush used up and spent more. The Democrats have had to put up with 8 years of disasters one after the other. It is time for you to sit back and allow the Democrats the opportunity to bring this country back the respect it needs and to get the USA back to a working country and not a failing one.,

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

    Oh for crying out loud people give the man a chance to be president! He hasn’t even gotten into the white house yet and people are already trying to predict the outcome of things. Hasn't he already proven his ability to change minds and views? Change is in the leadership and what that does with the tools at hand. When a corporation gets a new CEO he often keeps most of the upper level staff. The change lies in how the staff is directed.

    December 3, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  17. sonnett

    Lois, Ont, Canada

    Mind your own business, we have our problems at home with our politican too.

    December 3, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  18. carol

    I don't think we need Bill involved....let Hillary do her job, she will be very good at it I have no doubt.
    Bill has had his day in the sun and now it's Obama's time to shine and he and Hillary are the team now, not Bill and Hillary.

    December 3, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  19. Mark

    I was a little shocked that Hillary was chosen for such a position. I guess Obama wants to keep her close by so she won't threaten to run against him in 4 years. And Bill if you all remember can't be trusted to be near the Obama girls. September 11 was planned and arranged on Bill's watch. Of course he did nothing when our ship was attacked (USS Cole) killing 27 US Sailors. We kept getting attacked while Bill was president. So they kept attacking us. So what job does Bill want now?

    December 3, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  20. Joe the Troll

    Hey, Republicans....the country was in pretty good shape after Clinton. What shape is it in now? Obviously, Clinton isn't the one we need change from.

    If he did what you Republicans want him to do, put inexperienced yes-men into important positions, that wouldn't be CHANGE, it would be a repeat of Bush's stupidity. Republicans keep saying that government is the problem, and when the government is run by Republicans, they're right.

    December 3, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  21. Sandy - PA

    I also am disappointed that we have not seen the last of the Clintons. I don't like Bill, and I like Hillary even less. My problem with Hillary as VP all along was that we would have to put up with not only her, but Bill Clinton, too. I believe that those 2 together would overshadow everything Obama does. It is bad enough that Obama gave such an important position to Hillary – I say we don't Bill along with her.

    December 3, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  22. Don

    The best role for Bill? Replacing Hillary as Senator from NY – Now THAT would be senate leadership!

    December 3, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  23. Sam

    Say what you will...Bill Clinton was one of the most charismatic leaders in the 20th century. He is also a very intelligent leader (unlike the current POTUS)...

    December 3, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  24. Mike Cairo,NY

    They're BAAAAACK 😦

    December 3, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  25. Lauren


    Lets see how all the Sarah Plain critics like my comments here.
    If CNN will post them,,,,,,

    Please Bill, just go away. Go back to where you belong, on the sidelines. You did your stint, it is over. Retire, get out of the way.

    Hillary has always wore the pants anyway, while your tried to get into a few other pair of pants that where not Hillarys.

    Just fade away Bill,,,,,,,, go chase skirts like you have in the past.

    Biden got the Vice job Billy, sorry, you can not serve again. We already elected Barrack " Clinton " Obama,,,, or so it seems by looking at his cabinet now.

    December 3, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10