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. Denise

    For Gods sakes! HRC and her backers and her husband need to just quit whining! Grow up!

    August 25, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Ken K

    Whine, Whine, Whine. That’s all the Clintons know how to do???????????????? Enough already. This isn’t their convention!

    August 25, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. todd

    National Security or the Economy, Clinton can speak to either with ease as George W. Bush has brought both to their knees for this country. Just run with it Bill.

    August 25, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. Tony

    I'm sure Bill and Hiillary would like this entire convention to be about them.


    Hillary is NOT the nominee, and this convention is NOT, I repeat, NOT about them.

    Either do everything you can to elect the Democratic nominee, WHICH IS OBAMA, to the White House, or shut your mouths for the next four years.

    August 25, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  5. Candy West Virginia

    Aw the Clintons want their way? What else is new? Bill Clinton, I believe is a bit unstable so you never know with him. If I never see another Clinton in this lifetime it will be too soon.

    August 25, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. Livia

    After the divisive comments he made during the primaries that not only threatened Hillary's campaign but damanged the party's reputation, too, he should feel lucky that they're even allowing him to show his face let alone speak.

    I used to be a Bill Clinton supporter (though I was always an Obama supporter this time around) but lately I have as much respect for him as I do for his wife, which is to say, none.

    August 25, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  7. Tom

    Just another snub from the chosen one. I would love to have the l990's again. Great years for my family and friends and for most Americans. To Linda31 – H__ no, because it would be a lie.

    August 25, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. gluv

    wow...CNN didn't even accept my 1st post!


    August 25, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. s

    CNN you're pathetic with your continuos Clinton reporting. Get over it, the Clintons are not in the GE race.

    August 25, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. tom

    Yes we the American who voted for Obama do not need Clinton and point of correction he is not Clinton is not the President, he was, get over it people.

    August 25, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  11. Timmy

    why does it always have to be about Bill?

    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Andrew

    I do not understand these PUMA Hillary backers. The price they demand to vote for Obama is the VP spot, and yet they say they will vote for McCain for nothing.

    Why are you not demanding the VP slot on McCain's ticket as the price for your vote?

    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. Tony

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

    CNN is one step above FOX. What do you think?

    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. Lisa

    Too bad Obama's losing in the polls. HAHAHAHA

    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. JFK

    The Obama campaign wants to marginalize the Clintons. BIG MISTAKE! It goes to show their on going lack of respect for Hillary's 18+ million voters. Shame on you Obama!

    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. Election Watcher

    What are the DNC and Obama afraid of? That Obama will be shown up by Clinton in regards to a hot button issue like the economy? It sure looks that way to me. If they want party unity, Obama and his supporters have to begin behaving like gracious victors embracing disenfranchised Clinton supporters rather than spoiled children sticking out their tongues saying "Nyaahm, nyaah! My candidate beat yours! I told you so!"

    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. Todd

    Anything negative about the Dems makes headlines. If it's close it equals rating, you know that

    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. Justme WV

    Bill, please just Go Away, Far Far Away and take the ole girl with you!

    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Kelby from Houston, TX

    It's like CNN woke up and said...Let's make things interesting, DANCE PUPPETS!!!
    I swear CNN doesn't want a Democratic president for some reason. Are guys owned by Rupert Murdoch? (did I spell his name right?) The Democrats are trying to present a unified party and you are doing everything you can to point out and create division. Why? Don't you want the world to be a better place?
    That's okay. Nobody cares about your polls either CNN!


    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  20. Bulldog

    Obama will make a great President if Bill and Hillary help him to get there. I think the media is overplaying their negativity, though, and both Clintons want to see Obama win. This is the media once again overblowing a story.

    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  21. harlan hubbard

    Obama does not believe that Clinton was effective in the area of the economy, as witnessed by his repeated hits on the Clinton Presidency record in the primary fight. It makes one wonder what Obama did not like about the successful 2 term democrat, who left Bush with the first government surplus in 45 years.

    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  22. Megan

    oh good grief. The Clintons are becoming the school yard bullies, I am so sick of both of them. I wish the Democrats would grow some and tell them both to have a seat and shut up!

    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. Karen from Missouri

    To CNN, the Republicans and the Clintons: GET OVER IT!

    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  24. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    This is probably the media trying to stir things up to make the convention coverage more exciting......but if true, you need to get over it Bill.......this is not about you this time around.

    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  25. Rachelraye- MD

    Please this is not about the Clintons. When will we stop hearing about what they have to say and how they feel. Let's try to win the White House back for the Democrats and move this country forward.

    August 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
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