March 5th, 2008
02:37 PM ET
15 years ago

Panetta: Bill Clinton "has been very controlled"

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The former president has been a quieter presence on the trail, says Panetta."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Bill Clinton’s former White House chief of staff thinks his old boss has been doing a pretty good job staying out of trouble.

Leon Panetta told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Wednesday that Clinton “has been very controlled” on the campaign trail in recent weeks.

“He’s handled himself pretty well over the last few weeks,” said Panetta, who served as chief of staff in the White House from 1994-1997.

“He’s been obviously involved,” Panetta said, asked how visible the former president should be in his wife’s presidential bid. “He’s working very hard top try to help his wife out, as he should.”

“But I think in particular, he’s been much better at talking about the issues that count, and I hope they continue to use him in that way, because I think he can be very effective.”

Panetta said that while Clinton cares a great deal about what happens in the presidential race, “he himself knows that when he speaks, he’s going to have to speak carefully.”

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Bill Clinton
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. ACitizen

    After wasting over 40 million dollars of tax payers money, some are still not satisfied... they call the Clintons divisive... corrupt... most who say they hate Hillary or Bill Clinton can't say why when they are challenged... talking heads say people hate the Clintons, so they join in.

    On NAFTA, Obama self destructed by mismanaging his staff, being ill informed... where is the accountability? Looks very much like the current failed administration with a likable fool at the top but being puppeteered by a bunch of goons from Houston. But Obama is a very shrewed and sharp man... but he lets these things happen... it has happened more than once. That bothers me.

    On the 3am ad, it was a legitimate difference... considering the health care leaflets that the Obama campaign released in Ohio, this ad is very benign.

    It is not negative campaigning to draw attention to ones opponents weakness, but it is negative campaigning to distort the opponents record and position.

    March 5, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. Sherylanne

    I'm more concerned about controlling Michelle Obama. Her statements were far worse than Bill Clinton; but as usual, they were swept under the rug at the CNN headquarters.

    March 5, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  3. PMI

    Somebody please clear this up for me and all the others that don't understand.
    How is it true that black people only vote for Obama because he is black but when white people vote for Hillary, it's because she is qualified and race is never a factor? Are we really supposed to believe that race was not a factor for all those little old white ladies that voted for Hillary in Ohio? What about all those women who vote for Hillary because they want to see a woman as president. Finally how do you explain the white males and females that vote for Obama? My son keeps telling me that race is no longer a factor and that we are on the dawn of a new and glorious future as Americans. Now I just tell him to come to CNN or MSNBC and read the blogs from my fellow American democrats or a stray comment from a dumb Canadian .

    March 5, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. B. Smart

    Obama/Edwards 08

    March 5, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  5. AtlantaVoter

    Bill is not out in front of the camaras because the media will not let him be a "candidate spouse" like the others.

    Remember, Michelle Obama hurled the first salvo of dirt when she said, "How can you control the White House if you can't control your own house?" Tip for Michelle: Women are not likely to forgive the dissing of another woman so cruelly.

    Canadian gdouglas - Thanks for your post. You are spot on.

    Hillary Clinton 2008

    March 5, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. ACitizen

    Lissa, there are ways to keep a nation safe, very effectively, without engaging in a hundred year war. Iraq had nothing to do with keeping America safe, had everything to do with oil, keeping the Saudi's safe... I can't believe people are still drinking the Houston cool aid.

    March 5, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  7. s voter

    As an African American Female. I agree with Gdouglas. Blacks are voting based on race alone and would scream bloody murder if the situation were reversed. No other racial group is voting this way. Yes, Hispanics supported Clinton but with 50 – 70 % margins not the 80 – 90% margins of African-Americans supporting Obama. Whites have also been more evenly split.

    I have many friends and family who voted for Obama but cannot state one specific tenet of Obama's campaign. Just "Yes We Can" and "Change". Sometimes not even that.

    If Obama wins the primary, I will vote for him but I voted for Hillary because she has better experience and has articulated specific plans vs. Hope and Change with no substance.

    March 5, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  8. Clinton Shuts Down Obama

    Hillary shuts down Obama and silences her critics. As the media continues to handle Obama with care, Hillary proceeds full steam ahead. Hillary is the "comeback kid" and well on her way to winning the Democrate nomination. Obama struggles with finding his footing and has a long road ahead.

    March 5, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  9. GoHill

    You are missing the point-
    No demographic group has broken 80-85% for one candidate over another- EXCEPT the African American vote.
    Since both candidates are similar on the issues, AND Hillary polls ahead of Obama on being able to deal with all the problems facing the nation, then that vote is based on race and NOT the issues.
    That is RACISM.
    Why pretend otherwise?
    Women are NOT breaking 85% for Hillary.
    Non-Blacks are NOT breaking 85% for Hillary.
    The Old geezers are NOT breaking 85% for Hillary.
    So ALL groups are voting on the issues- at least as THEY perceive them- except blacks, who ARE voting on race.

    March 5, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  10. Eye Opener - Las Vegas

    To Chris from Seattle:
    You are certainly entitled to your opinion but to call people names just because they support a candidate other than yours is speaks volume of you. All those colorful adjectives apply to you and not the other people you were referring to.
    I do not know what your background is and quite frankly, I am scared to even ask, but for you to have the audacity to denigrate one of the world's foremost statesmen, one can only surmise that it is either from utter lack of education or totally twisted upbringing from the ghettos.

    March 5, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. TerryD

    John McCain will never win the presidency, no matter who he goes

    up again Clinton or Obama. It is time for the Republicans to get out

    of "Dodge" they can try in another eight years!

    Everyone on this blog knows, that the best Democratic nominee for

    the presidency is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    The Reasons why are many but here are a few;

    >>she will be ready on day one,

    >>she is intelligent and understands the issues,

    >>she will have very effective solutions to the chaotic confusion and

    disorderliness, left on her desk in the White House, by George Bush

    >> she already has in place the best Military advisors in America etc.

    March 5, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. Puddytat

    HEY ....I never thought sticking up for the DEMs could be so much fun !!!


    aiding and abetting criminals that slither through the border

    letting border patrols be imprisoned for doing their job ...

    the Fl. State sanctioned torture to death of the disabled woman TERRI SCHIAVO who was neither comatose nor terminal UNDER GOVERNOR JEB BUSH ... both JEB and GEORGE had the executive power to stop it.

    BILL makes GEORGE look like Atilla the Hun . hahahaha


    March 5, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  13. Latina for Obama

    Haaahaa , now BIll is great, plzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Clinton Clan, plzzz

    March 5, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
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