August 25th, 2008
11:02 AM ET
14 years ago

Bill Clinton not happy with convention role

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Bill Clinton would rather discuss economic issues than national security, sources say."]DENVER, Colorado (CNN) – Bill Clinton is perplexed and, frankly, not happy that he was asked to speak about national security Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention and not about the economy, the issue that he rode to the White House at another time of economic peril, a source close to the former president said Monday.

Some close to Clinton are encouraging him not to stick with the night’s theme of national security and add language about the economy in his remarks, in a way that Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, would frame it, the source said. It’s no secret that Clinton considers himself a highly effective communicator on the politics of the economy.

Watch: The best and worst of convention history

As word of his displeasure was reported Monday, aides tried to suggest it was being overblown. It’s a pattern strikingly similar to reports of Hillary Clinton’s unhappiness with the way she was treated by Obama during his running mate search, which has contributed to intense talk of tension between camps Clinton and Obama leading up to a convention that’s being billed as a chance at unity.

Another Bill Clinton associate contacted CNN to dispute one report that he is angry about his speaking assignment, but that source also said the former president “believes there would be a lot of power in a Clinton/Bush/McCain economic contrast and might mention that a bit anyway.”

If history is any guide, it’s unlikely the Obama staff will know exactly what Clinton will say before he says it.

Another Democratic source who is involved in reviewing the convention speeches this year, and has in years past, said that unlike most other speakers, Bill Clinton's speech generally “comes in when he does - on a detachable drive and into the prompter.”

Filed under: Bill Clinton
soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. Franklin

    If there were 5 unhappy Clinton Supporters in Denver, CNN would find each one of them and interview them every day of the convention – twice. Here's a concept, CNN. How about REPORTING the news, not creating it.

    This convention will be about America and Obama no matter how much the Clinton News Network wants to create a lasting rift.

    August 25, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Dash Riprock

    John McCain Not Happy With Convention, Period

    With speakers like Lieberman, Cheney, Giuliani and George W. Bush, would YOU be happy? The GOP convention and Ambien™ definitely do NOT mix.

    August 25, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. Stop playing the "POW" CARD!


    August 25, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Dear God, please CNN let it go. Who cares if he is unhappy. He has nothing to be unhappy about. The family has earned over 100 million dollars in 7.5 years. He is given an appropriate spot to speak to the Nation. What else could a person possibly want?


    August 25, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. jeri

    It is not the Clinton era anymore. They really need to move on, let go of the power and be wise leaders. People are watching you. And you and your wife a leaving behind of legacy of disgust.

    August 25, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. Latinos for Obama/Biden

    Let me take this time to THANK the Clinton supporters who are true Democrats and are now voting for Obama. These are TRUE DEMOCRATS that have placed Party above personalities. There are over 70% of people who voted for Hillary now supporting Obama. The other 25 % or so never were Democrats and were closet Repubilcans.

    August 25, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Sue from California

    How can anyone be amazed by this report. The Clintons are still bitter they didn't win. It would not matter what they were given at this convention – more that I feel they deserve. The Clintons and their supporters are going to do what the Democrats do best – snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. They are disgusting.

    August 25, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Mark, VA

    Just another Obama mistake. Judgement uh?

    August 25, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. king

    can't everyone see that cnn is becomin more like fox news each day?? don't tell me i'm the only one!!!

    August 25, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  10. Jane

    CNN is in the tank for the GOP.

    It's too bad the media is still trying to tear down the Dems, after 8 years of Bush and many thousands dead in Iraq and Katrina.

    For shame.

    August 25, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  11. Joan, Ontario

    Keep trying to stir up a controversy CNN. You should post the joint statement that just came out from the Obama/Clinton camps that debunks all of this kind of information. They want unity so let them have it. It may not get you as many juicy stories and ratings, but it's the truth. Your stories lately sound like the Enquirer with lots of information from "sources' close to the campaign. If someone won't put their name on the allegation, then it cannot be verified.

    August 25, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  12. Gerry

    All this press about ‘tension’ between the Clinton camp and the Obama Camp looks like a media plant by the Republicans. This is just the kind of divisive nonsense that the Bush team used to create diversion during their campaigns. Poisoning the media is a relatively fool proof method because the media is compelled to report anything especially if it appears that there is a fight brewing. Grow up media barons and get some judgment. You don’t have to print every fool thing someone says.

    August 25, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  13. Remembering the Clinton era

    Where is the headline regarding the DNC's decision to reinstate Florida and Michigan delegates?? Why did they wait until their pet student had effectively clinched the nomination to release their strangle hold on Hillary's success? Bill should address the fact that Obama has effectively been shoved down our throats and Hillary can now take the nomination if we stand up and do what's right: Nominate the best candidate to lead our country from this mess we are in. Hillary can win if she and Bill will simply accept the responsibility for what they do best: Leaders of the United States of America. Both Clintons should honestly inform the American public of this travesty in the voting process and retake control of the party.

    August 25, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. Fazio

    UNITY is needed... now more than ever

    unless you want four more years of George Bush, administered by McCain

    August 25, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. Pepou

    Who cares ! You are history. Get out of the way.

    August 25, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. Winny

    Respect isdue to the Clintons. Strong arming others will not get them anywhere. The talk is always about that Barack dissed them which is not true. They were the one who went below the belt. Why should everyone be bowing down to them after they treat Obama in such a bad way. No that is not right. The Clintons need to humble themselves and stop behaving like it's all about them. It is Barack's moment, let him shine stop trying to take the spotlight from him. Stop undermining him. Comeon now.

    August 25, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. sharon

    I would like to hear just 1 hour of CNN convention coverage without Hillary's name being mentioned.Are you up to the challenge?Please.....I beg you

    August 25, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. Avis

    If the Clinton's are so pissed then why don't they have the balls to run as an Independent? You know, more or less Perot Obama, just as Perot blew the win for Daddy Bush in 1992. (S)he won't though because they are nothing but talk and only in it for themselves. Not to make this country better.

    August 25, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. H Jay

    The Clintons are going to destroy the Democratic Party.

    August 25, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. James

    Enough of the famous clinton flap and cry. Their time is past and the need the go away. We have enough drivel with a wordy and ineffectual obama that having a muzzel on the clinton twosome would be great.

    August 25, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. Fazio

    Obama needs Clinton's help.... but remember, it is Obama that is running the show now

    (this is something the Clintons are not used to... but they have to)

    August 25, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. Dominique

    President Clinton would not have been happy with any role at the convention unless his wife was the nominee. This is not a story. Move along media. Nothing to see here.

    August 25, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  23. A CANUCK

    It is time for the Hillbillys to walk into the sunset with their tails between their legs. WE DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK OR FEEL!!!

    August 25, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  24. Stop playing the "POW" CARD!


    August 25, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  25. Tom Soppe, Portland, OR

    The fact that this is an article suggests that CNN, ever a hack network for Republicans, is just trying to anger disgruntled Clinton supporters to get them to vote McCain.

    August 25, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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