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. Tom in Delaware

    Sure – Let's return to slashing our Military and Intelligence Services by 90%, then calling the monetary savings an economic miracle.

    Then while we're peacefully beating our swords into plowshares (while our enemies our beating their plowshares into swords) we can let go of all the detainees at Gitmo to spread their wings and happily fly away. (just like he turned down Osama bin Laden twice)

    It worked so well before that we got 2 attacks on the World Trade Center....the third attack on our country should be a real charm.

    You Liberals sure have selective memories.

    December 3, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. The Rector

    to vigla,
    what linda is refering to is a clause in the constitution which roughly states... if a legislater votes a pay raise for a given position in govt, that person is ineligable for said position. It is an obscure rule, but a rule none the less. The easy way to fix it, as has been done in the past, is to decrease the pay to the previous level. That being said the question comes to mind why not donate the entire sallery to help people in need, the Clintons aren't exactly hurting for money, for that matter neither is anyone else in govt. , just something to think about.

    December 3, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. JLS

    Can't wait to see who all those donors are. Should make the confirmation hearings more enjoyable to watch. Can everyone say "Marc Rich"?? I knew you could!!

    December 3, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. KENNY B.


    December 3, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  5. Rockford



    Clintons highest un-employment was 7.9
    The current is 6.75

    The national debt was 5.5 Trillion when Clinton left which isn't quite ELIMINATED

    But don't let facts get in your way...

    December 3, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. Sizali

    Clinton was bringing in experience without change. Obama is bringing in change through experience. Its why he is employing most of BC's people with the experince to bring about the change we need. like creating jobs and getting the economy back on track. Stop hating the man, he has been hired to help you.

    December 3, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. Not very bright

    I'm not too smart or anything, but if someone takes people who oppose their views, out of the house and senate and puts those people under them where he can keep them in check, isn't that change? What about the new younger people with similar ideas who will replace these people in the senate and house? Is that not change? Again not very knowledgable about politics or the government, but aren't the appointees pretty influential people? Taking them out of the house or senate tempers their voices and lets new thinking, new ideas, and new voices in their place. Is this not change?

    December 3, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. larrywi

    Hillary may not even be qualifyed for the position, something she did as Senator may cause her problems here. Why should that interefer with anything, her and her husband are known crooks anyway, so what if she too has some bad baggage, let's bring her on board anyway, after all we are a second, third & forth chance society now, no one is expected to the right thing the first time around!!

    December 3, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. Carl

    Change comes from the policies being set not by the people implementing change. Why ostracizing proven and experienced public servants to put someone who doesn’t know jack about nothing like Bush did. It's obvious President-Elect Obama can’t please everyone. All we can ask of the man is that he provide better US policies and mandates in retrospect of the Bush Administration. As far as an elitist for sending his kids to private school, I’m sure he considered their security and their quality of education. I think that’s called caring about your children and being a good parent.

    December 3, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  10. Change we can believe in?

    So we are back to the Clinton presidency?

    December 3, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  11. Jay

    I am tired of the liberals on here and other blogs that feel that it is necessary for the continuation of the Republic that we back off being critical of BO unitl he is President. While that might be good, where were these people when Bush was and still is being savaged? Perhaps his policies might have been seen diffefrently when viewed outside the partisan window. You expect that for Obama, yet refused and still refuse to give it to Bush. You can't have it both ways.

    December 3, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  12. Lisa

    The most important role now could be to travel as a spouse with our Secretary of Tony Blaire's wife said, "A wife[or husband] needs to take a back burner. If it is good advice for Michelle, it is good for Bill. This is Hillary's time to shine and I know Bill has to support her!

    December 3, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. steve

    Everyone is saying how billy was great at creating jobs but look at every democratic president has done to our military and left it to a republican president to rebuild. while Clinton was in office the veterans got little or no housing increases, decreased on spending on medical coverage for the vets. these are the people who really keep you free. To me Clinton was worse than any president I served under while in the military!

    December 3, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  14. 60 year old white female and proud supporter of PE Obama

    Thank you John for stating the most powerful comment of the day!!

    December 3, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. CT


    You can say that again! I second and third that emotion!!!

    December 3, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  16. Tim

    Why not. Under Bill Clinton we had no unjust wars, we were safer, had a balanced budget and solvent social security.

    December 3, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  17. John from New York

    I would gladly accept Bill Clinton in the Senate or in a cabinet position. I think he should seriously be considered.

    December 3, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  18. Scott NYC Independent

    We are all fully aware that Clinton had one of the most impressive foreign policy administrations in this countries history. He will have a role be it official or not you can bank on it.

    December 3, 2008 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. Dixie AZ

    I was afraid of this. What a big mouth. I don"t want two for one. I want Hillary. Bill, you and Sarah Palin - who likes the limelight more? You don't have to be the bride at every wedding.

    December 3, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. Matt

    @ Meh

    Yes, people who vote for Palin "have their wits about them." Their wits are strewn all over the floor cuz they fell out of their heads.

    December 3, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. Joe M

    Uh oh! He's back! Get the hook!

    December 3, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. Joel In Corona

    Change is coming! Wait for it... It's coming... sometime... one of these days...

    December 3, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  23. Matt

    @ Major, who said

    "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."

    I think you have that backwards. The GOP is promoting Palin. If there was ever evidence of running out of human resources, she's the smoking gun. On the other hand, dipping into the human resources that helped make Clinton such a successful president...that's just good sense.

    December 3, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  24. Jeff from Atlanta

    Bill Clinton was an average president at best. Sure he left with things in good shape if you look at the surface. Underneath was the banking bubble ready to burst and a weak military ripe for 911. What did he care, people would blame all that on Bush.

    I find it hilarious that people on this blog say Obama is inheriting Bush's mess yet refuse to acknowledge the mess Bush inherited from Clinton. Bush tried to fix the Fannie Mae fiasco Clinton left behind, (research in the Democratic Newspaper, the NY Times), and even submitted legislation to Congress to regulate the industry but was stopped by the Democrats in Congress. Talk about thinking of their party first over the American people. Sure Clinton created jobs, mostly related to the housing industry that rode the housing bubble all the way to bursting.

    Read people, don't just follow like blind sheep! I can see why you like Obama. He's a great speaker, but he's done absolutely nothing yet but you still think he's the messiah.

    Let's see what he accomplishes and hope he doesn't make it worse. So far I am not so sure based on his comments about what he wants to do. So far it looks like history has taught him nothing, but I am hoping he changes my view.

    December 3, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  25. crazygirl

    To all the complainers here. You better be happy with something, because fact is we have a huge ship that is sinking. Try being a little supportive of the efforts. It may be easy to sit in your chairs and toss eggs at people, but we're in big trouble here. You may not like the Clinton's, but fact is, when they were in office it was a lot brighter days than they are now. Bringing sex into everything is really quite unappealing. Has it ever occurred to some of you, sex sometimes has nothing to do with a thing? Did it occur to you, other countries , via the Internet can read what Americans are writing out here for all to see? Did it occur to any of you, that through the writings you share, the terrorists country can plan through you and your words? When they see an united country, they see opportunity. Are you opening a door to have thousands killed because you had trouble controlling yourselves, your words and lack the support our country definitely needs to get past all this anguish? As much as everyone would like to believe this entire catastrophe is about money and sex, it goes way past it. IF you were observant, you would understand that unlike you, other countries take religion very seriously. Serious enough to kill your families for. It's not like here in America when we only have faith when it is convenient. Or when a catastrophe happens. No one in this country is united They are all simply trying to find ways to tear our country apart & Americans are helping. Filled with as much hate as the terrorists have. Except Americans are underhanded about it. Politicians are taking away your rights one by one & how do we handle it? Sit on a computer and talk filthy dirty sex talk that has nothing to do with a single thing. Talking about Bill's affair? Well, I hate to tell you this, DIVORCE rate is pretty high in this country which says Bill and Hillary had something most Americans don't. The strength to get through the worst! Which is who I want helping make our country a better place. Some of you lacked severe disapline growing up and sadly it now shows! Sad for America! Lucky for Terrorists who want to take YOUR LIVES AWAY!

    December 3, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
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