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. Tom of Dallas

    Oh come on you sore losing republicans. Why can't you just admit you lost and move on. I can't quite understand how anyone could still be criticizing the Clintons with a straight face. Take off your blinders and look at the last eight years of failure and corruption.

    December 3, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  2. Mike Cairo,NY

    At least we're rid of her in NY :)

    December 3, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  3. Amber in Orlando

    I love me some Clintons! :) Obama will never be as great as either of them. It's not possible.

    December 3, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  4. Puppet

    Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter all over again, while the one-term senator Barack Obama is a mere puppet. Everyone has his or her own (secret) ambition, to control and manipulate, out of pride and lust for power, it is sinful human nature. Even Michelle Robinson Obama may have a long-term political plan for herself. What is new? Only Joe Biden is content, with his fate without any real power.

    December 3, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  5. Clinton Fringer

    hhahahahahahaahahaa...........loving these comments. :) Our "deer in headlights" president-elect has had to call in the person who should have been the president in anyway and if he's smart he will let Bill Clinton in as well. Now that's change I can believe in.

    December 3, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  6. Spider

    Lois-

    Hillary Clinton is a U.S. Senator. Did you believe she was going to disappear because she wasn't elected President?

    Besides, if you, as a Canadian, don't want to see her, don't watch American politics. You should keep an eye on Canadian politics. By the way, who is your President? Do you have a President or a King? Wait, who cares? It's Canada.

    December 3, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  7. Brenda

    To Lois in Ontario Canada:

    Worry about your own Country. As far as the Clintons are concerned, one only has to remember what shape the country was in when he left office. The economy was strong, people had jobs, etc.

    Worry about Canada and their own problems, not ours.

    December 3, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. Laverne

    Bill, we love you, but we can take only one Clinton at a time. Step back you had your turn, now it is Hillary's time. I sure hope Chelsea decides not to go into politics!

    December 3, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  9. demwit

    Interviewing Obama's interns perhaps??

    December 3, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  10. Major

    Majority of his cabinet members are from Clinton's administration.
    Where is the change Obama talked for the last 2 years?
    Democrats are running out of resources to fill positions.

    December 3, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  11. STOP THE INSANITY

    Enough is enough.

    December 3, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  12. Puffin

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

    Right. If she adored it that much then why did she take the SOS job?

    December 3, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  13. Hockey Mom

    Bill Clinton is a brilliant man and was an excellent chief executive of our ation. Unfortunately, he also seems to be a megalomaniac with an exceptional sense of entitlement. I wonder if that's an inevitable consequence of eight years of being president...

    December 3, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. GaVoter

    From the makeup of the new White House cabinet Bill is obviously going to be the defacto President. Nothing will get done without his knowledge, and approvement. The only differences are going to be the congressional liberal spenders and house negroes.

    December 3, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. Vigla

    Linda, are you joking? "Tiny little constitutional possiblility?" Why would Hillary be ineligible pray tell? Was she not born in the US?

    Yeah, "your wits" supported Bush twice, and got us into this mess. Thanks for that, by the way...

    December 3, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  16. Petena

    Linda please..........give it a break

    December 3, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  17. Brian

    It's really too bad that the republican party can't give credit where credit is due. Bill Clinton was a GOOD president. Sure, he got caught and called on his bad choices but as the leader of our country, he created new jobs, balanced the federal budget and the US was respected globally.
    Hillary worked very hard on healthcare reform and gained a great deal of experience simply by being so immersed in our government at that level. NOBODY is without their faults. The best thing that we all can hope for is that when mistakes are made, something is learned from them and they are not repeated.
    Our country could do far worse (and has for the last 8 years) than to utilize the knowledge and experience of people like the Clintons.
    If you don't agree, just read the newspaper and see what the results of the republican party's choice are.

    Go to it Hillary!

    December 3, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  18. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Bill would be great being in charge of the White House interns.

    December 3, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  19. Helen, NC

    Bill could be a huge help, but how can you trust him? Barack fortunately has people who will watch him like a hawk.

    We know the Clintons only think about themselves, so there will have to be someone onboard who will remind Hillary that she is there to do the people's work. She's not there to drum up more donors for Bill's library.

    December 3, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. daniel

    I am humored that during Bill Clinton's administration everyone complained that Hillary was calling the shots and now that she has a position of power they're complaining the contrary.

    December 3, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  21. JoePub

    Yes, Bill was a fantastic CEO of our country. Especially with all the military cuts that left our nation unchecked and vulnerable for 09/11.

    December 3, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. Ken in NC

    The campaign is over and The Clintons are a national Name Sake. I hope Pres. elect Obama will call upon Former Pres. Clinton from time to time to do things to help our country come up out of this hole we are in.

    I can even see Pres. Elect Obama bringing Gov. Sarah Palin into his Cabinet as the Sec. of Pooper Scooping for the girls new dog. We must remember people there is work there for everyone. LOL

    December 3, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  23. GA for Obama

    Martin- I don't know where you got 73%. Obama has around 10/50 ppl chosen so far EVEN MINUTELY RELATED to Clinton. Stop being so Clinton-blindfolded and open your eyes.

    December 3, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  24. 60 year old white female and proud supporter of PE Obama

    It is hard to determine who CNN's more mesmerized with: Sarah Palin or Bill Clinton!!

    December 3, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  25. Evie ~ from TS ~

    I am excited and hopeful for our future .... coming from our muck and mire dire circumstances ... We DO have a chance

    December 3, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
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