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. J. McKinney

    There isn't much way any thinking person can put down Bill's political savvy. I think Hillary will be a fantastic S of S, and if Bill is her sounding board, it will help her even more. And, those of you who think Obama is the be all, do all, surely you realize the shrewd move it is to hire a lot of Clinton's cabinet, as they are the top Democrats in the country, from a very successful 8 year presidency. Where else can he get experienced, super-intelligent people? Pick some untried person who knows nothing about politics? That would really be "change", wouldn't it? There is a LOT involved in running a country this size, not even mentioning the mess it is in now. We need all the intelligent, experienced help we (and Obama) can get.
    I definately wasn't for Obama, with his inexperience–I was for Hillary. But he is impressing me now with his intelligent picks. He DID NOT impress me with his VP pick, but............
    God Bless America. We are going to need it.

    December 3, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. An American

    Whoppie do – it will be just like having Bil and Hillary and all the rest of the old Clinton people leading our Counry again. Obama who?

    December 3, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  3. NY republican

    To NY – after doing my bit for my country in the undeclared Viet Nam War (maybe Bill's stead). I say why not have the big cheese along with all the crackers. For that matter just have Obama install the whole Clinton Administration (including Bill) and just sit back and watch the whole movie over again. Maybe the impeachment trial will end up differently this time (alternate endings are all the rage these days).

    December 3, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. LIP

    First and foremost ,for those that taut Bill Clinton and his many success, it should be noted that I believe the Republicans controlled congress at the time. So a balanced budget would be their success also.
    As far as Bill helping Obama out, why not. Just keep a tight leash on him and hire a group to monitor him for damage control, as Hillary will be busy lining up new clients for his brisk overseas businesses.

    December 3, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. jim, Middletown, Connecticut

    I can only guess that all the detractors have forgotten that President Clinton guided this nation through eight years of prosperity and no wars. He did – of course – squander his moral authority with a silly daliance with an intern. But, still, by most measures that count, he was a good president.

    As much as I admire President Clinton's abilities, I cannot support the notion of him having an official role in the Obama administration. I believe Obama needs to make his own mark, follow his own ideals, without a lot of second guessing from the populace about the question of how much of what he does – or doesn't do – was impacted by the very persuasive Bill Clinton.

    December 3, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. Maryk

    If not having my wits about me is the reason I voted the way I did, then I think I can join with the millions of people who voted the way I did by saying, you can keep your wits, I'll go with hope and change!!!

    December 3, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. Kay Scott

    I'm 83, am I old enough to make a commit? My thoughts have always been about our country. Have seen and lived through quite a lot in my life time. We're pulling together again and we will make it just fine. Obama, a good intelligent leader. Loves our country.

    December 3, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. vic nashville,Tn

    Buy one get one free

    Bill already join in the Obama admisntration

    December 3, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. Lynn in CT

    Someone pinch me! I bought a flag for the first time in my life and this new administration is the reason we can all become proud again of this country. This is how it's SUPPOSED to be! The good leading the good.

    Yes, we can!
    Yes, we did!
    Yes, we are!

    December 3, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  10. tom

    Great...bring in an impeached, disbarred sexual predator...


    December 3, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  11. The Anti-Hillary

    Jennifer, stop drinking the kool-aid, the campaign's over! What does it say about Hillary that she slammed Obama all the way through and then took a job from him? Sounds like desperation to me.

    I expect to wake up one morning and read in the headlines:

    "Hillary Clinton Dead. Overdosed on eating crow and humble pie."

    December 3, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  12. stacey johnson

    I think that he would make a great adviser in Obama's administration he has the experiance to get the country back in a postiive status

    December 3, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. Scott, Lexington KY

    CNN hurts itself when it uses headlines like this. It creates a story out of nothing. The headline leads you to believe Obama IS considering Bill for something. Not the case. Stop with the cheap tactics and stick to your strengths of reporting real news.

    December 3, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. Leon Darden

    People please! It is President-elect Obama right now. All you cynics should at least give him an opportunity. I'm not prepared to doubt this man. After all, he is the first African-American president; no small feat. He's following the worst president in the history of the United States. The problems he is inheriting were not caused by him. We elected him to fix them. Get off your moral high horse and realize that the Clinton years were some of the best of your lives and the President-elect Obama has sense enough to put some of those same people in his cabinet. Yes, President Clinton committed adultery. At least the skeletons are out of his closet. What about yours? And Hillary Clinton wears pant suits and she also the most accomplished and intelligent women you'll never be. Obama ran on the premis of hope and change. Where is your hope and where is the belief in your ability to bring about the change he asked of you? C'mon people. It's time to let love prevail after 8 years of hate. love you all.

    December 3, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  15. Lisa D

    GREAT JOB OBAMA!!! Linda check with a mental health professionialโ€ฆ. your party needs help you voted for Palin.

    December 3, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  16. JuanM

    Hahahaha...more of the same. Once again the politicians, bot from the left and right, prove they are one in the same. It looks like most of you kool-aid drinkers trust too much.

    December 3, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  17. Butch Dillon

    Why does everything that happens require a measure of validation from Bill Clinton? I voted for him twice and defended him through his trials while in office, but that was then and now is a very different story. He is not trustworthy. He should be rejected (especially by the wife he disrespected regularly during their marriage).

    December 3, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. BigVin

    It's amazing how all you leftists believe that Hillary has all this experience. This is one of the biggest frauds ever put over on the people of the U.S. Yes, she has been to many countries, but as the wife of a president. Having tea and cookies with the wife of a foreign leader does not constitute foreign experience. As for her service in the Senate, remember she went around the country looking for a slam dunk. She just happened to come across New York with the decrepit Patrick Moynihan retiring. Tne one consolation for myself and fellow New Yorkers is that she will no longer be our senator. Hopefully we'll have someone who truly cares about NY, not someone who is an opportunist who was basically handed the position.


    December 3, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. paulie_nj

    Let's see how long it will take for unbiased CNN to report on the Obama birth certificate story. All though it may not be true, it's still news and should be covered fairly by all MSM sources.

    December 3, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  20. GuyinIowa

    Cheers to the return of the Clintons! All you haters can eat your heart out. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    December 3, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    President Clinton seems to be doing/saying the right things.
    He's going to (actually already did) open up his orgnaization to be vetted so that there will not be a conflict of interest.
    He's not going to get in the way of Hillary in any way as it relates to her job as Sec'y of state.
    He's going to listen to Obama if Obama comes asking for Clinton to do a job in the Obama administration.

    What else can you reasonably expect?

    IF you don't like him due to getting his horn tooted by a starry-eyed intern, I understand that. But in the opposite direction, look at your quarterly stock report and tell everyone how much u've lost in the last qtr. Now, which issue affects YOU more – the intern issue (Clinton) or the drop in your portfolio (non Clinton)? I think nthe latter affects me more, so that's the issue I'd be worried about. And since Clinton did a marvelous job in getting 20 million new jobs to be produced under his watch, I'm all open for Clinton getting a job in the Obama admin.

    December 3, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. Mohammed

    Hi all:
    what is wrong with the idea that Bill Clinton may have an influence on his wife (soon to be Sec of State) decisions on foreign affairs? As I remember he did screw up a little (eg, intervention in Somalia and mis-jugging Al Qaida) but he could not come close to the mess generated by George W, even he stayed president for 50 years! And peoples, remember: Obama run his campaign, he went into election process,
    Obama is going to be the president! If we learned anything yet, Barack is smart and capable leader/politician.
    We need to focus on our daily lives, do our best to achieve our own success, help other if we can and let the new administration do its job. America is back and it is a wonderful feeling! God Bless!

    December 3, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  23. PLB

    Bill Clinton will be an excellent source of advice to President Obama. Clinton inherited a hugh deficit and left office with a surplus. If only a silent advisor,Clinton's experience and insite is invaluable to Obama.

    December 3, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  24. larrywi

    So let's get this right, Billy boy said that he confides in Hillary for advice, so when it comes to not having sexual relations with that Woman, was that from Hillary? That Willie is pretty slick isn't he!

    December 3, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  25. Sam

    If it isn't apparent now to everyone that the biggest con job in american history has just been pulled then we are one country of stupid people. Bill Clinton has just had himself elected to a third term of President. The fact of the matter is, the clinton's knew Hilary was not electable and bill was obviously not eligible so what do they do? They go find a little known puppet....a little known puppet that they can control and manipulate at every term and thus what do we have.....

    President Bill Clinton once again! All I can say is WATCH OUT AMERICA for the Bush's to try the same trick next time.

    December 3, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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