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)

    Not one person on this blog commented on why he is not happy....that he wants to talk about the economy- something he is good at doing because he wants to HELP the Democratic party.

    Obama is like the smarmy upstart that thinks he knows everything and can't learn or respect elders. Nobody likes that kid.

    August 25, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. h sutherland

    How can Clinton be so good on the economy when he left office with the country heading into a recession? have we forgotten that the unemplyment had increased to 5.8%? The cost of living was increasing. Taxes had been lowered only because there was a republican congress and senate.

    August 25, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. Tim - Kansas

    Why do we have to keep getting speculation reported as news? It is highly unlikely that the former President of the United States was not consulted.

    By the way, what time does CNN broadcast the news? Every time I turn it on I get commentary.

    August 25, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. Lewis

    CNN is on the take from the GOP

    August 25, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. HSNP

    The Obama campaign is astoundingly clueless. He deserves to lose and it looks like he will.

    August 25, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. susie

    Obama acts like the "Mesiah". First he didn't want our votes (Michigan) to count, now that Hillary who won the state is out, Obama wants them to count. Too bad, the Michiganer, who voted for Hillary, will vote for McCain.

    August 25, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. grant

    Carville is at it again; Hillary won't get the nomination in 2012 if obama loses.

    August 25, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. bob in L.A.

    "Sources" have become the "they" of the past. If the words don't come from the person directly, they mean nothing.
    As the only successful Democrat in 32 years to attain the Presidency and the only one to be re-elected since Roosevelt, I think Bill knows the score.

    August 25, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. Robert

    Let him stay home. I could care less if Clinton speakers.

    Polls mean nothing people. Obama has a clear advantage in the electoral college and that's what counts.

    August 25, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. MEP

    Just when is Clinton going to get it. It's not about him, How can an ex-president be so immature and self centered? He needs to get over himself and get with the agenda. How nice if he would show some of the same grace as his wife. What a disappointment this man has become.

    August 25, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. Trang, Fremont, CA

    On this front, I think I agree w/ Bill Clinton. He is good w/ the economy, and he should speak on his strength. However, President Clinton, you will be good speaking on any topics, really. Although I support Obama this time around, I think you were one of our great presidents.

    August 25, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Bill Clinton needs to get over himself! This convention IS NOT ABOUT HIMSELF AND HILLARY! He has his shot, his time in the limelight. Stand back and let Obama have his turn. The DNC is doing you a favor by offering you a chance to speak, so quit whining about the subject matter.

    August 25, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. db

    Unity. Right!

    August 25, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. Brad from Syracuse

    Why won't he just go away? Isn't it obvious that his days of glory are over, and he's even being snubbed by his own party. Go away Bill, you had your time and blew it.

    August 25, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. Hussein and proud of it, FL

    Since when do the benchwarmers, tell the starting line up and coach what is best for the team? If I am correct, the benchwarmers usually take a back seat and try harder next time. They don't sabotage the team's efforts, they practice more and come back swinging next game for a starting slot. I HATE THE CLINTONS!!

    August 25, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Wake up America

    Bill Clinton is the most selfish, egotistical individual on this planet...
    He cost his wife a shot at the presidency and he might cost Sen. Obama the presidency...

    Shame on Bill Clinton...

    OBAMA/Biden 08

    August 25, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. People make no sense

    The Clinton's are making me sick. Nobody owes them anything. Why don"t they just not show up at all>

    August 25, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. rightytighty

    Hello.... The Clintons are the best thing the Democrats have had for 50 yrs! A little respect here please.. Ha Ha!!

    August 25, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. SMadsen

    It's the same arrogance and ego that just about took down his entire Presidency. The guy never learns. Just go away!

    August 25, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. DMAC/Post Falls, ID

    Obama power plays and sneaky back stabbing. BUT Bill knows that the economy and National Security go hand and hand. I bet he can make this the best speach of both conventions. Even so I can NOT vote Obama or even have anything to do with the DNC until they cleanup their act and replace everyone.

    August 25, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. Truth Be Told

    and yet again, another subtle hint of what the clintons are trying to do – sabotage the convention and obama's candidacy. this to prepare the carpet for the re-emergence of the queen in 2012.

    pathetic and sad if the rest of the democrats fall for this trap. much sadder for the country.

    August 25, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Veterans for Obama and Ex-Republicans for Obama!

    Dear "FORMER" President Clinton,

    Please back-off, and remember this is NOT about you! This is about Barack Obama, and the fact that this Nation needs him...NOT you!

    August 25, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. Thomas

    I think these two really think they are the king and queen of America?

    August 25, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. Paul, seeking wisdom

    Hillary will give her full support to Obama, Bill will have his say and the Democratic Party will be Unified.

    The ones who need to get over it are the Mainstream Media and their search for headlines. Obama will run a united campaign with Bill and Hillary working to see it gets done.

    The question is are you going to take after Huckabee and his Religious Right supporters like you do after Clinton?

    August 25, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. wyoming dem

    Has Bill ever been happy?

    August 25, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
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