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. Marsha, PA

    I wish the Clintons would get over themselves. This convention is NOT about them. They don't get that. When Clinton has his convention it was exactly as he planned, so why should Barack's convention be any different.

    Well, I know one thing, if Hillary spoils this convention in any way she will be toast. Wherever she and Bill go there's always drama. It is unfathomable that someone could put their own selfish needs before the American people.

    Obama / Biden 08

    August 25, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. richard j

    silly obama. snub the only successful democrat in the past three decades. That's how you build unity, right? Clinton was a well liked, what happened? Now we have these ultra liberal dems that think they know everything.

    August 25, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Bulldog

    Obama is a good person and will make a great President.

    The GOP is trying to paint him as this horrilbe monster by making false accusations and trying to tie him to anyone they can. This is what they have done in 200 and 2004 and look at the damage that was done by election Bush twice.

    Don't believe the GOP lies if you want America to get back on track and restore it's reputation that the Bush/Cheney administration has greatly damaged.

    August 25, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. John Hussein Karsten

    All i can say is wow.....Just another UNHAPPY Clinton. Only a few more days and we do not have to hear about any Clinton NAYMORE!!!!

    August 25, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. rob

    He's not the king anymore and thats a hard thing for him . And Hillary can get her crown next life . Its not happening in this one .Their just very bitter people.And CNN needs to start telling some of the truth out there about Mc Bush–guess your in his back pocket

    August 25, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Aboleo

    To Hillary voters,
    If you stop and look at her record in the Senate, Hillary is A lot closer to MCcain than Obama is. Think about it. In Addition, I am a Conservative from New York that thought that releasing the text about Biden was a real cheap shot at Clinton. In New York, We call that kicking someone when they are down. Something to think about huh?

    August 25, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. Debra, Alton

    To Hillary better watch the African Americans vote here. If she sabotages this can best believe she will loose in 2012 because she will need the African American vote and its a guarantee if they feel she clipped Obama..she will loose! All Hillary supporters please get over it. She lost! She lost in February not June. There was no way she could have caught in him in the primary

    August 25, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  8. Cindy

    I hope teh Democrats do not feed into this pile of rubbish. Another media mess. Bill Clinton will stay on point & this will be a great convention!!!!!

    August 25, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. rob

    You Dems loved him and stuck by him, now your really stuck with him. Better you than the whole country, thanks for choosing Obama over Hillary.

    August 25, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. cmoore

    At least Bill can speak without a cue card. Not like ..Ah...Ah... ooh...ooh ....OBAMA

    August 25, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. tom

    It is not the Clintons who are going to elect Obama into the office but the American People so Bill and Hill go away get out of the way you are wasting our precous time you had your time.

    August 25, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. Chris from NY


    August 25, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  13. J.C.

    Bill knows he failed in national security badly, but he also failed us in economy. Our economy is suffering due to the unfair trade agreements signed by Bill Clinton.

    August 25, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. Nikki, Florida

    It's all hearsay – stop trying to stir the pot CNN

    August 25, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. Tafari

    It seems like the media are the ones pushing the divide. I was watching Blitzer last night & he & his guests seems so excited to talk about what was going wrong & making these predictions out of nowhere that made no sense.

    August 25, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Too bad we have term limits.

    He'd be a much better choice than either one of the ones we're stuck with this year.

    August 25, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. tom

    This is just more divisive journalism creating an easy to explain one side against the other narrative. Ignore this kind of BS from our media.

    August 25, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. Steve

    Bill, you were invited as a guest speaker. If the venue doesn't suit you, then don't speak. Stop WHINING!!!!! Gawd I am SOOOO tired of hearing that the Clintons are upset or outraged or annoyed or snarky!!!!! Waaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

    August 25, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. Ed Joffe

    Grow up Clinton

    August 25, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  20. S Callahan

    I say let him speak his gut tells me that former Presdient Clinton has done alot of soul searching in this past year and may have a renewed message to give.....I'm willing to listen.

    August 25, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  21. mary

    It amazes me that no matter what the Clintons say or do the media continues to ignore that and portray them as the "bad guy".
    Obama NEEDS the Clintons and they are being loyal to the party (why I don't know) and doing their jobs.
    It's Obama's job to do the uniting....Not Hillary's.

    August 25, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. Tony

    I'd agree that Bill's been a crybaby, but if you're going to have him speak at all, then he should speak about the economy.

    August 25, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. jane

    ......And i guess he wonders why Hillary Clinton was picked as VP.
    Somone needs to tell this guy that he is the president anymore.
    He wants to single handedly destroy the democratic party.

    August 25, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  24. JinNC

    Good Grief! Why don't we just crown the Clinton's King and Queen and be done with it.

    August 25, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. charlie

    The Clinton's seriously need to get over themselves.

    August 25, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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