December 3rd, 2008
08:51 AM ET
10 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. yellow dog democrat

    TO: GaVoter December 3rd, 2008 9:36 am E T

    hate to tell you GaVoter – your ignorance is showing!

    you, sir/madam, are a dishonorable bigot.

    December 3, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. Fast Eddie

    How quickly the American public forgets! The Clinton administration
    was the most CORRUPT in the history of America! If I remember
    correctly you agreed with "BUBBA" or you would be dealt with and
    wish you had agreed. 22 people in his administration wound up in
    jail or dead!

    December 3, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. Helene

    NO, NO AND NO !!! I did not vote for Obama to have Bill Clinton back.

    December 3, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. yellow dog democrat

    TO: JoePub December 3rd, 2008 9:38 am ET

    wasn't military cutbacks – it was intelligence "misfires" or as I like to put it "too many cooks in the kitchen" and nobody knew what was going into the soup "Communicate"!!!

    December 3, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  5. NY republican

    All this talk about Hillary the Great – after "moving" to NY she gets elected Senator saying she's committed to NY state. 1 year into a 6 year "committment" she runs for President. 2 years into this same 6 year "committment" she accepts a job in the Obama Administration.
    Is this the "committment" the rest for the U.S. is going to get from the "I'm happy to just be NY's junior Senator" (this is a direct quote from Hillary after losing the presidential primary) ex-Senator Rodham-Clinton? By the way did the same thing happen to her commitment to her family name? What happened to the "Rodham" part, does she no longer need that either?

    December 3, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Randy

    So, Bill, you and your wife talk "about everthing", huh? Even Monica? Or was this something you started after you didn't have sex with her? Oh, I mean after you recanted and said you had relations with her?

    Did some of her "invaluable" advice include keeping your fly zipped up this time?

    December 3, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. Scott Tucson

    Yeah..the roll Bill wants is Obama's Presidency.

    Hillary is just a mere 4th in the sucession line. Maybe Obama ought to skip any future parties that Bill and Hillary may throw where Biden, Pelosi and Byrd are gathered under one roof.

    December 3, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. Mohammad Faraz Hashmi

    I belive Obama will be good for US, and clinton is an excellent choice as Sect. of State

    GO OBAMA!!!!!!

    Finally the end of republican B.S

    December 3, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. David

    Gag me... yuck... phooey. Bill Clinton needs to stay out of things!!!!! Hillary is one Clinton too many.

    December 3, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. NY republican

    to Change – don't forget – the 90's is also the decade that President Clinton let Usama bin Laden walk on a terrorist charge.

    December 3, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. Linda of Atlanta

    Rector: THANK YOU

    Finally someone else who can read and understand a little constitutional law!!

    December 3, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  12. Sizali


    December 3, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  13. Carl

    I got an email from Michael Moore this morning regarding the bailout of the big 3 automakers. That's another topic but one thing Moore said stuck in my mind.
    He said, "We need a Marshall Plan to switch us off oil-dependent vehicles and get us into the 21st century.
    This proposal is not radical or rocket science. It just takes one of the smartest people ever to run for the presidency to pull it off."

    I think this is the most important point. We now have one of the smartest presidents ever about to take office. Why don't we wait till the inauguration and give him some time to see what he can do before we start the criticisms?

    December 3, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  14. Dan, FL

    This guy is a discard. I do not know why he and Jimmy Carter getting involved in today's politics. Give us a break. Barack Obama himself is an inexpereienced guy and he needs lot of advisors.

    December 3, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  15. Change - Yeah Left

    Bill, go away! You had your chance ,and now go away!!

    While there is a chance that Hillary won't be able to become SoS, I'm sure that the Dems will just trample on the constitution as a prelude to what PE Osama will do.

    December 3, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  16. CanIcallyouJoe

    I do think that Hillary's appointment to SoS is a bad choice, but that doesn't effect my opinion that having President Clinton on an advisory counsel in an official capacity is inappropriate. Especially, if you have some of the advisers from their own presidency on your staff.

    I voted for and support Obama, but anything more than a phone call or casual discussion over current affairs (I couldn't help slipping in that Clinton pun.... apologies..) – anything he'd have to "be in the credits" for – is overdoing it a bit.

    December 3, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  17. Maggie from Virginia

    Republicans are scared of the Clintons. That's why they keep harping on Obama's selections. Obama is creating an unstoppable movement.

    December 3, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. John

    The facts are in folks. they are waking up to the idea that change is not changes, that Obama is putting together an old administration. Going back in time. 8 years. NOT GOOD FOLKS. this is not change its worse than BUSH. That is why georgia woke up and voted the republican in. Obama lied about change and is scaring the hell out of people.

    December 3, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  19. Dan, TX

    I have no idea why people are so negative. Obama is the president. Who would you hire? Your choices would be far worse, which is why I'm not interested in any of your opinions. It appears that only the non-elitists comment here. Which proves why we need elitists to run the country.

    December 3, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. clifford

    Bill to Hillary,"Our grand plan is working"!!!!

    December 3, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  21. shucks

    President Obama would be foolish to not use this mans experience in politics to some degree. I still think he would make a great Supreme Court Justice.

    December 3, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. docb

    Enough, who can believe a word out of either clinton's mouth's!..I am distrustful of this pick because there is so much talent out there- we do not need the OLD TIRED Drama of the has beens!!!

    but i voted for him and will try to suspend judgement for now

    December 3, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  23. John

    Yeah lets go back to clinton years. Where Social security was robbed and went broke by clinton to pay the bills. Just like illinois, when obama helped our governor take state pensions funds to pay off bills. then spent more. Now we have more debt. and they want to raise taxes to pay back funds they drained. Go illinois. Obama will do the same to the whole usa.

    December 3, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  24. Ken in Florida

    To those of you who whine about former Clinton administration officials becoming part of the Obama administration not representing "change" miss the point. Change primarily is referring to the policies set by the Republicans in the last eight years. Obama is a Democrat, Presidents traditionally fill their cabinet with members of their own party. Most experienced Democrats where connected to the last Democratic administration (Clinton) The last democratic administration before Clinton was carter in the late 1970's. How many of those folks do you think are ready willing or able to serve now?

    December 3, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  25. joe smith

    great, then the big deal will be complete: we see polanski wants his case dropped, charges dismissed,etc, etc.. just keep the vert out of the US, we have plenty..

    December 3, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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