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. Mike

    Dear Sam:

    You wrote that Bill was "one of the most carasmatic leaders of the 20th century".

    You do realize that the 20th century lasted 100 years. You apparently put Bill right up there with Ghandi, Roosevelt, Churchill, Mao, Lenin, Hitler, MLK, etc.

    Lay off the booze dude!

    December 3, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. tom

    Let us not forget dear democrats, that Clinton was the reason Bush was elected! And let us also not forget that we were already going into a recession his last year which Bush inherited when the dot.com bubble burst. So you can get off your high horses about the last 8 years...your manical partisanship is equally to blame.

    December 3, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. Voter

    Looks like Obama is the luckiest man alive!

    And smart – he's tapped practically every key player in the Clinton Administration, much to the dismay of those who actually bought the "Change" thing.

    As for Hillary, although many have forgotten, she DID win the popular vote, and only by disallowing both Michigan and Florida, whose votes had to be cut in half, did the cunning Mr. O manage to elbow his way in.

    Of course, he needed the Boys Club to go along with it, and of course, they did. Boys will be boys.

    The fun part was that the day before the Dem Convention began, the same boys decided for "unity's" sake, they would give both states all their votes after all.

    Voila! a presidential nominee is SELECTED – only to find that the emperor has no clothes! Where are all those shiny, new fresh-faced Change advocates he promised us?

    Even Obama can figure out that experience is better than rhetoric when you actually have to DO something...

    December 3, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. Lisa

    For all those Republicans and Democrats still talking about Monica and Bill, get over it. That happened over 10 years ago, if his wife forgave him so should you.

    December 3, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. Mark in Arizona

    I was hoping President Clinton would be asked to Secretary of State. I hope he has a role in Obama's administration. The great bonus would be Clinton would provide a target for american right-wing extremists pulling attention away from Obama– the architect of America's movement back toward the center, away from the right wing extremism of the past eight years.

    December 3, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. TyWebb

    Bill Clinton said he and his wife have always talked "about everything," and he called her advice "invaluable" throughout his career.

    Well, I can think of at least two days in his second term this did not happen nor was the advice applicable...

    December 3, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. bernj

    Question: Will republicans and the right wing ever stop sounding like idiots?

    Answer: Nope

    December 3, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. rachel

    Some of you ought to be ashamed. If Obama wants bill's help great. What do you mean Bill can't be around the Obama girls. They are 10 and 7 are you calling bill a child molester? Womanizer yes but not a child molester, besider I thought you guys thought he was racist if that's true there's your theory of interst in the girls.

    December 3, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. mike

    "You people that talk down on Bill Clinton are Idiots. The man don more ... ". And he calls us "idiots"

    December 3, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. Bill and Hillery believer

    To Mr. PjP and others bashing Bill Clinton: He was one of our best presidents. Our country was at one of its strongest points when he was in office. I personally do not care who he sleeps with. That whole impeachment thing was a right-wing distraction to win the presidency in 2000. Boy did your plan work! Look where we are eight years later! You boy Bush was such a better choice. Our economy is in the toilette, and Mr. Bush just sits there and says he's sorry.......

    December 3, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Jay

    i find it hard to beleive peoplen critize Bill for fooling around with an intern, mean while the current President has done the following:

    1) Allowed the tourchure of POWs
    2) Started a war under false pretenses resulting in what will be close to 10,000 deaths on both sides fo the isle.
    3) Taken away personal freedom rights through the patriot act
    4) Bodged every natural disaster relief effort
    5) Killed the national debt and is responsible for the housing stock market crash.
    6) Dick Chenny shot his friend in the face for christ sake..

    December 3, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. mike

    hahahaha....gaylon barrow.....hahaha wow you are funny.

    trillion dollars in escrow....hahaha....another one who doesn't even know the difference between the national debt and the deficit....and we wonder how dems get elected. hahaha

    December 3, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. Larry C. Houston, Texas

    CNN, I hope you print this....I have to agree with crazy girl, as after I read what she wrote, she is telling it like it is....

    Larry C.
    Houston, Texas

    December 3, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  14. Ryan George

    What are some of these idiots on here thinking saying "Where is the change Dems, you been duped." The change is getting Bush, probably the worst president in history, and his failed administration out. Obama is surrounding himself with smart people who know what they are doing and will give him great advice but ultimately he will set policy decisions. A

    Are all these people posting junk like I mentioned above Sean Hannity using aliases???

    December 3, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. Christie Avalon

    I simply do not believe Bill and Hillary talk about "everything". If they do, she is the biggest abetter of extra-marital stuff that ever lived. Or she watches and gets her own thrills that way.

    December 3, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. Randy

    I'm still disappointed that we wont have Bill as the first lady......

    December 3, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. Lisa M

    No please

    December 3, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. tess

    arrogance -arrogance and more arrogance!! can this man just go away – the country can and will do just great without him! he is the most needy, insecure and pitiful person in public life – love me – please! pathetic bill – GO AWAY NOW!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. Dave

    Here we go!!!

    enough of this two-party scam.

    December 3, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. mikes

    It looks like Obama wants to fill out the third Clinton term -I guess they can make him and adopted son -Barack Obama Clinton

    Long live the DLC and centrist thinking

    December 3, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. No Bush

    Bill, I will consider you for any job in Obama administration...u are just one hardworking, restless mannnn.... u da bestttttttttttttttt!!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. CNN = Jerry Springer of News

    GaVoter – You didn't need to clarify you are from the south. Your racist comment did that on its own. The south needs to press fast-forward and catch up to the times. Things move so slowly down there people behave as if it is still the 60's.

    December 3, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. Ron.Toronto. Canada

    CRAZY GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Way to go.You said it all.

    December 3, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  24. Lauren

    I can not believe all the support Hillary and Bill have. I really can not.

    I only have one question to that, where was this support when Obama took on the clinton machine and WON?

    Or could it be true, Obama won by being popular, entertaining, lovable.

    We hear how great Hillary will be as SOS, and Bill was the greatest,,,, but yet they LOST to Obama.

    I do not understand it.

    In other words, the best Democrat was NOT really voted into the office of President?

    December 3, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. TexasAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    DO ANY OF YOU PEOPLE EVER RE-READ YOUR COMMENTS BEFORE YOU HIT THE "SUBMIT" BUTTON??
    The grammatical errors and spelling mistakes and incoherent thoughts just amaze me.
    Here's a thought– take 30 seconds and re-read your post before submitting it!!

    December 3, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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