December 30th, 2007
08:01 AM ET
15 years ago

Bill Clinton: Hillary can best handle 'unexpected' threats

(CNN) - Bill Clinton told a group of New Hampshire voters that the "most important" reason to elect his wife Hillary president is that she would be best able to "deal with the unexpected," like another terrorist attack.

“You have to have a leader who is strong and commanding and convincing enough . . . to deal with the unexpected. There is a better than 50 percent chance that sometime in the first year or 18 months of the next presidency, something will happen that is not being discussed in this campaign,” he said at a Saturday campaign event.

“President Bush never talked about Osama bin Laden and didn't foresee Hurricane Katrina. And if you're not ready for that, then everything else you do can be undermined. You need a president that you trust to deal with something that we will not discuss in this campaign. . . . And I think, on this score, she's the best of all,” he said.

A recent memo from John Edwards' campaign predicted the Clinton campaign would try to appeal to voter anxiety over worst-case scenarios. "We know that Senator Clinton will spend the week touting her national security credentials in a move that echoes George Bush's 2004 campaign… We believe Democrats will not be fooled by efforts to play on their fears," wrote Edwards’ deputy campaign manager, Jonathan Prince.

Last week, the former president told another Granite State crowd that his wife was the most qualified to deal with issues like climate change and terrorism, compared to other candidates with less experience. He added that "how we meet those challenges will determine whether our grandchildren will even be here fifty years from now at a meeting like this listening to the next generation's presidential candidates."

–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand


Filed under: Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Liam

    Reality Check:

    Senator Obama treats his wife with respect, as an equal marriage partner.

    President Bill Clinton treated his wife to a steady diet of Bimbo eruptions. How does that qualify her as a strong leader? Her own husband treated her with the utmost disrespect through out their marriage, and what is worse, she accepted it, and continued to enable and cover for him.

    If she did not respect herself, then how is she supposed to regain respect for America.

    December 30, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Rosa - Single working grandmother

    New Orleans is shamefully still buried in rubble and ruin – and the victims of Katrina living in trailers or scattered far and wide across the country!! Where are all the promises that Bush & his inept staff offered??

    Dreams don't put a chicken in my stew pot and keep a roof over my grandchildrens' heads.

    And all the Wishin' and Hoping in the world, won't land me a good job either.

    It takes education, hard work, and TONS of perserverance to succeed in life and get ahead.

    As far as I can see, Obama is offerring squat for most folks except serving up heaping platefuls of hollow dreams and empty promises. Michelle and he don't even have enough gumption to keep trying, if at first they don't succeed?? That sealed the deal for me!!

    And I don't want no former drug addict as a role model for my grandbabies either – they already have enough of those overpayed athletes on steroids and smutty trash rappers who demean black women (and a dear deceased mother from a father who was driving drunk). So spare me all of the eloquent speeches Mr. Obama and take your wife and family and go home to Hyde Park, if you haven't got what it takes to "keep trying" ...for as long as it takes.

    Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who has worked tirelessly for women's and children's rights from day one. She has my Vote as well as the other working women in my neighborhood. Hillary Clinton isn't afraid to stand up for the needs of the black women in America - The Republicans don't want her to win because they know that America will finally be equal!! I'm deeply ashamed to see that there are Democratic men who think the same way as the GOP scumbags – May you seek God's forgiveness. God Bless all the rest. ~Rosa~

    December 30, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. Paul, Tampa, FL

    The fact of the matter is, if you elect a president from the party that publicly espouses a hate for government, you can count on a government that cannot accomplish the essential jobs it is tasked with completing. There were two major changes in 2001 when Bush assumed office. First of all, most the key appointments (e.g. FEMA director) when to political allies with little experience or aptitude in the position. The second major change was an abandonment of the goal seeking-out all viable opinions regarding any issue before making a policy decision. Instead, the Bush administration employed a "go-it-alone" strategy that has, without a question, led to disaster in Iraq (just because things are getting better will not bring back 4,000 American soldiers or 30,000+ Iraqi civilians), with the environment, with the economy, and with our nation's image around the world. A terrorist attack in the first few months of the next administration's tenure is just one possible hurdle that could be encountered. If the next administration does not learn from the devastating failures of the present administration the prospects of this great nation are very bleak indeed.

    December 30, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. Mr Kiz

    What a Crock...Hilary is a power Hungry woman whose head is so swelled up, it's Ugly.
    She will don and promise anything for this job. Go back to mending your old man's socks Hilary.
    Mr Kiz

    December 30, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. Cass and Andy in Iowa

    Good for Bill Clinton. He is concerned about our country and it's place in the world and he happens to be married to the strongest candidate running for President today.

    We are commited to supporting Hillary and we will caucus for her on January 3rd.

    December 30, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Gregory H. Smith, Brooklyn New York

    Obamas’ Experience We Need….Right Now!!

    I have come to realize that maybe, just maybe, the reason so many otherwise decent, Americans do not get into politics is, in part, the character assassination aspect of it all. People have family and friends whose lives get damaged and or destroyed because their loved ones decided to stand up for the masses.

    There are many reasons, I suspect, that one would run for the presidency of these United States. I suppose love of ones country would be one of them. I have no doubt then, that all the candidates running are patriots. The question is which one of them can unite and inspire a tattered nation and the world?? I believe Senator Barack Obama is that singular candidate, and I’m a testament to that assertion. Having read both his books, Dreams from My Father, in ‘04, (memoirs, which is quite transparent) and The Audacity of Hope (’06, which have resuscitated my hopes in America!) I met him and his lovely wife, Michelle. I also had the honor and humble privilege of introducing him at a Brooklyn, NY fundraiser. At the time, I was a doorman at a New York City hotel.

    Senator and Mrs. Obama are both real and down to earth people and my having or not having health insurance is genuinely a concern of theirs. All children having access to the best education in the richest country in the world is a concern of his. You having hopes and dreams for a better and brighter tomorrow is a concern of his. Your dad and mom paying additional taxes on their retirement for which they paid for before they were lucky enough to retire in moderate comfort, is of stark concern to him.

    Our young people being apathetic towards politics is a concern of his, for if in fact our kids are the future, they must take part in their present. Sen. Obama is the singular candidate, bar none, that has young and old alike excited again about their beloved country and world. The early states, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina are all drawing record numbers of people, just wanting to volunteer. There is an old adage, “action speaks louder than words”. Senator Obamas’ life experience is the right experience America and the world is seeking. In the final analysis, “Walking the walk” is what matters, not “talking the talk”. It is nice to reminisce, we just cannot reminisce about the future. ~~He’s Ready, we can’t Wait, Obama ‘08~~

    December 30, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. VOTE FOR THE QUALIFIED CANDIDATE-HRC

    Absolutely True! We need her understanding of people and her experience and careful leadership to represent our great country. What we don't need is a face without substance...I was open to Barack Obama until he left my intellect empty. He is a good speaker when he is told what to say ( and if you don't know-OBAMAS ENTIRE POLITICAL ADVISORY TEAM IS SOME OF THE FORMER CLINTON TEAM) So how is he an agent of change???? Hillary represents change. She represents understanding and experience. She can speak for herself with Presidential quality that is actually substantive, not empty. America do not leave us in the hands of an inexperienced man...YOU ARE RISKING ALL OF US with that uninformed, careless decision. VOTE FOR STRENGTH OF INTELLECT AND EXPERIENCE, CLINTON 2008

    December 30, 2007 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. J, Ca

    Hillary holds a clear lead in the latest Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby Iowa poll released today. Interestingly, she still holds the lead after rearrenge the poll data with the second chioces of candidates who has less than 15%, which is important in caucus system.
    All those Obama-lovers, Is this a fake poll too?

    December 30, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. OBAMA IS AN EMPTY SUIT

    Vote for anyone but Barack Obama. He is an empty suit for America! Did you read the ticker yesterday where he and his wife threaten not to run again!? That's the crock. IF OBAMA CARED ABOUT YOU, HE'D FIGHT TO THE END! LEARN FROM GREATS...they don't give up when the going gets tough. Look at BHUTTO. She returned time and time again to fight for a purpose. Look at some of our tried and true Presidents. Even John Edwards, McCain, Biden and yes, the Clintons fight to the end...not for themselves (They all have it all) but for this country and its people. Read the ticker article from yesterday and see what the Obamas are made of in the depth of themselves. They are not here for the long-haul. They want their fifteen minutes of fame. Then, they'll take their prize and go home "TO ANOTHER ORBIT FROM THE ORDINARY AMERICANS" as they themselves put it! READ IT. And with your conscience in your hand, place a vote for a fake-Barack Obama. Live with your choice that you will thrust upon the rest of us–for, what? What has he done? What has he said he will do? He has no plan. He is a FAKE. This is real. I will vote against Barack Obama at all costs. He is a dangerous risk for this country and you blinded people who are chasing his stardom, probably also watch Paris Hilton news–THOSE WHO ARE FAMOUS FOR NOTHING. Let the man pay his dues before he runs our country. Hillary or John Edwards, Biden or Richardson. You have good choices. YOU OBAMA PEOPLE will have regrets the first time we are faced with a real issue in our country and the rest of us will pay for it. GOD HELP US!

    December 30, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. paul

    Hillary spent the formative years of her professional life as a partner for the Rose law firm in Arkansas, a secretive elite which has been compared to the outfit profiled in John Grisham's novel "The Firm". Understanding what Hillary is about starts there.

    There were two occasions in her political career when Hillary Clinton stepped out in front and said, "Judge me on this." She was the head of the White House task force on health care, taking on one of the big promises made by candidate Bill Clinton. She tackled this by assembling a small group of academic advisors and preparing a complicated plan in secrecy. This is exactly what you'd expect from a Rose law firm partner. Of course the plan was DOA when it was finally rolled out because none of the stakeholders had been involved in the process.

    The other occasion was when George Bush recklessly decided to invade Iraq, and the moron commentators on Fox News went on night after night after night browbeating people into accepting that this had to be done now, without serious debate. Many Democrats in Congress did a quick political calculation, thinking that if they opposed "Desert Storm II" the Republicans would use it against them in the next election. John Kerry, for example, "reluctantly" supported the war, and John Edwards (another 2004 Pres. candidate) followed his lead. It was all very disappointing. But Hillary Clinton stood out among the pack for the vehemence and insistence which she proclaimed that the war was the right thing to do. And she still supported it months and years after the many-headed insurgency was well underway and our troops had gotten bogged down. It was startling. Why did she do this?

    I think she was already planning a run for the Presidency at that point, and saw that the Republicans with their attack machines would come after her as being a liberal Democrat who was soft on defense. She decided to make a preemptive strike by becoming a hawk, more stridently pro-war than just about anyone in her party (except for Joe Lieberman who has since turned independent). This is probably another tactic she learned from her years at Rose. The fact that thousands of American soldiers, tens of thousands of Iraqis, and hundreds of billions of tax dollars have been wasted, doesn't seem to faze her a bit. Advancing her career meant more than any of this. Folks, this is just naked ambition. She has never apologized for being a leading advocate of the war.

    Of course, now Bill and Hillary say that she has learned from her mistakes. But these were her two big chances to lead. To elect her on the basis of these two massive failures, would be like choosing Bill Callahan as head coach of your football team because he must have learned from his mistakes at Oakland and Nebraska.

    Why not choose someone who has shown better judgement to begin with?

    December 30, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. Josh, Chicago, Il

    Mr. Kiz...So what political candidate isn't power hungry?

    The only difference I can see, is that she's a woman. Are you scared of strong women, Mr. Kiz?

    December 30, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. VOTE FOR AMERICA 2008

    "John McCain and Hillary Clinton both picked up primary endorsements from New Hampshire’s Concord Monitor this weThe Monitor’s editorial board said Hillary Clinton got their backing because her “unique combination of smarts, experience and toughness makes her the best choice to win the November election and truly get things done.”

    The Monitor’s editorial board said Hillary Clinton got their backing because her “unique combination of smarts, experience and toughness makes her the best choice to win the November election and truly get things done.”

    “Clinton's ambitious to-do list for her first few weeks in office gives us confidence that her priorities are right and that she would act swiftly to make a positive difference,” the board wrote in an excerpt of its Sunday editorial posted on the paper’s Web site Saturday." (as reported by CNN)

    December 30, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    And Bill Clinton said "convincing enough"
    Thats it, IF Hillary can 'convince' America, and lets not forget our Military Commanders, that SHE knows best in an unexpected situation, bill is saying this makes hillary the best one for President?
    Yes, America, IF she can 'convince' us.
    Glad bill admitted hillary should 'convince' us of that.
    As for me, 'convincing' me of that, they haven't succeeded in doing.

    December 30, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Ryan, New Jersey

    He keeps saying she has more experience but he never says how!!! Someone call him on this, please! I mean, yeah, it's fear-mongering too, but more importantly, he's just making stuff up now!!

    December 30, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. Nando,Florida

    Well Bill can you realease the White House Records Locked away in your Library, and we will be glad to take that in to consideration, But you won't because she was sipping Tea and Baking Cookies. And answering for you and you extended famlies.

    CLINtons are old news , and America will would be wise to move on from this disfunctional family.

    December 30, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. Frederick

    I suppose to be fair, Hillary did handle a lot of "unexpected" press and attention when Bill was being examined for birthmarks on his privates during the various sex scandals that marked his terms in office.

    But I have to agree with Liam – she enabled that behavior and covered for Bill. The fact that she wore that badge just goes to show how much hunger she has for power. She put up with Bill's infidelity knowing she could springboard into carpetbagging for Senate in New York and probably had her eye on a presidential run all along.

    She weasels out of answering if she would bring our troops home. She leaves herself plenty of room to continue the occupation of Iraq and to use rent-a-soldiers. She learned well how to be a politician and let people interpret what you say however they want, yet when under scrutiny, it's apparent she never said anything at all.

    I do not trust her.

    December 30, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. Jason,of Indianapolis

    We need people who have good judgement, not people who vote to get us into wars. Folks why is it so often that old are the ones ready to declare war and the young are the ones who die! I'm a young male, living in indianapolis and I think we need a president that can has the ability to think outside the traditional box of washington politics, and it ain't Hillary!!!

    December 30, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Dan Seattle, WA

    Right Bill. You have a very short memory, obviously. Hillary's vote to authorize Bush's invasion of Iraq would make her one of the least qualified to "deal with the unexpected."

    Seriously, Hillary should be reminded of this again and again and again. She was party to making the worst foreign policy decision in our nation's history.

    I'm undecided myself, but Hillary has truly shown very poor judgment on matters of critical importance.

    And no, Bill, I don't count her 8 years as first lady seething in anger as you received "favors" in the oval office as political experience.

    December 30, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. Anne Westchester NY

    MJ Westport CT December 29, 2007 2:25 pm ET

    My uncle, a heart surgeon for 35 years has been married to my aunt for 42 years and they are very close.
    My question is: Would any of you Hillary Clinton fans let my aunt operate on your heart? That makes about as much sense as Hillary having experience just because Bill Clinton was president for eight years? My aunt went to AMA functions with my uncle and she says she was his confidant during stressful times in his career as a heart surgeon. She even read a lot of his medical books.

    Or, maybe Hillary supporters would let my friend handle a case for you just because her husband is a lawyer and she typed legal documents for him when she worked as a legal secretary.

    If so, please sign up to let my neighbor pull your teeth and do dental surgery on you or a member of your family because she was a dental assistant to her dentist husband early in their marriage.
    ___
    To M.J., Makes good sense to me. I am waiting for Laura Bush to jump into the race with all her years of experience as wife of a president and governor; and let's not forget the experience she gathered as daughter-in-law of a vice president and president. Much more qualified than Lady Macbeth; and she is a much nicer person.

    Why stop there, maybe we can get Roger Clemens wife to come out and pitch next year because she was a witness to his pitching career.

    Hillary Clinton has higher negatives than positives. Also, if you want true experience, why not go for Joe Biden, Richardson, or Dodd. How about someone who has real first-hand experience as a participant; not second-hand experience as a witness to history?
    __MAKES GOOD SENSE TO ME. TOO!!

    December 30, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Gundy, NY

    I'd sooner trust Ann Romney in the White House over this power hungry beast of a woman.

    December 30, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. VOTE FOR AMERICA 2008

    Vote for anyone but the empty suit.

    Obama is an empty suit for America! Did you read the ticker yesterday where he and his wife threaten not to run again!? That's the crock. IF OBAMA CARED ABOUT YOU, HE'D FIGHT TO THE END! LEARN FROM GREATS…they don't give up when the going gets tough. Look at BHUTTO. She returned time and time again to fight for a purpose. Look at some of our tried and true Presidents.

    Even John Edwards, McCain, Biden and yes, the Clintons fight to the end…not for themselves (They all have it all) but for this country and its people.

    Read the ticker article from yesterday and see what the Obamas are made of in the depth of themselves. They are not here for the long-haul. They want their fifteen minutes of fame. Then, they'll take their prize and go home "TO ANOTHER ORBIT FROM THE ORDINARY AMERICANS" as they themselves put it! READ IT.

    And with your conscience in your hand, place a vote for a fake-Barack Obama. Live with your choice that you will thrust upon the rest of us–for, what? What has he done? What has he said he will do?

    Obama has no plan. He is a FAKE. This is real.

    I will vote against Barack Obama at all costs. He is a dangerous risk for this country and you blinded people who are chasing his stardom, probably also watch Paris Hilton news–THOSE WHO ARE FAMOUS FOR NOTHING.

    Let the man pay his dues before he runs our country. Hillary or John Edwards, Biden or Richardson. You have good choices.

    YOU OBAMA PEOPLE will have regrets the first time we are faced with a real issue in our country and the rest of us will pay for it.

    GOD HELP US!

    December 30, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. Chris Fischahs, Los Alamos, NM

    Now we've got it straight. Sen. Hillary Clinton is a flip-flopping, record-sealing, war-in-Iran-voting, Social-Security-ducking, politically calculating, lobbyist-loving, polarizing and unelectable Democrat who acts like a Republican - and a Clinton.

    December 30, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. Christyle, Tallahassee FL

    I have the upmost respect for Clitons but running to control the white house again is showing how power hungry they are, they really miss the presidental life. Please Obama win and bring a NEW FACE in the whitehouse.

    December 30, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. Lynn Jensen

    When you actually listen to what the candidates say, and see them in person, instead of relying on hearsay or prejudice or sexism, or other nonsense (please pay attention Kiz and Liam), Hillary has the most knowledge, insight, and concrete solutions to this country's problems. Not that all the other candidates are "terrible" – some are passable, including McCain. But really LOOK at the specific answers candidates have to our problems – and ONLY THEN decide how you will vote. I know it takes a lot more work to think, analyze, and use logic, but Kiz and Liam should try it – its not that painful to try using your brain.

    December 30, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Heck, no, let Bubba blather on to make sure this vile woman is not nominated.

    December 30, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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