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. Andy in Charlotte, NC

    Imagine if Monica showed that would be a scene!

    August 25, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. It's not about Bill!

    Bill has had more then enough attention! He should be happy that he is speaking at all..... with all of his baggage!

    August 25, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. Sean

    Joe Biden and Clintons will sabotage Barack's chances of wining the White House so that Hillary can run again in 2012; however, Hillary's chances of wining in four years time are slim to none!

    August 25, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. Ed Barenborg, Vero Beach, FL

    The Clinton's sense of entitlement is staggering.

    August 25, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. shahid

    Interesting circus!!! I've been watching this more than the great Olympic. What's wrong with me? Maybe because I worry too much about my hard-earned $$ going to petty social programs that Obamanation will create...

    August 25, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |

    I liked Bill Clinton and still do – but there is a thing called "growing old graccfully". Bill you are not running for office but ensuring your party gains office. I hope he gets it by Wednesday.

    August 25, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. Nighthawk

    WOW! Bill Clinton is unhappy with his role!!! Go Figure!

    August 25, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. b/augusta

    Please be aware that many of these negative comments are coming from McCain supporters who are trying to put a wedge between the Democrats. I do not believe for one minute that these are truly disgrutled Hilliary supporters.

    August 25, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. Big Bill from Brooklyn

    Hillary lost. Get over it.

    August 25, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  10. karen-phoenix

    I'm getting sooooo sick of these socalled expert "pundents" trying to start fights among everyone. IS THERE NO NEWS or are there just too many so called reporters! I'm watching more and more C-span to get the true picture and less and less CNN and I've been a CNN junkie since it started!!! GO Obama/Biden)08 and that is exactly how the Clintons feel!!!!

    August 25, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. Otto Von Hinkie

    Gonna let Mr. Clinton explain the Gulag prison set up by the DNC in Denver?

    August 25, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. Tsunami

    Funny... All you you democrats who are upset by this should remember that you put this family in their positions. You voted Bill for President and YOU voted Hillary to the Senate.

    You reap what you sow...

    August 25, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. Brenda

    Clinton's expect the democrat nomine will lost. But let me tell you this Clinton's both are facing a trial and the don't want to go. So someone will have to pay for all clinton's mess and it's going all Americans peoples. Watch Clinton are they nmanaged to destroy the democratic party. That's their goal no matter what, .....SHAME ON YOU BOTH...

    August 25, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. Pam

    It's really time for the Clintons to go away. Their egos won't let them accept the fact that they are no longer the stars of the Democratic party and are doing nothing but causing problems.

    August 25, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. Biffington, Biff

    Bob in NY,

    You could HARDLY call giving BOTH Clintons prime time speaking roles at the convention.... A "SNUB"...

    August 25, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. ca

    Bill Clinton is 10 times smarter than Obama.

    August 25, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. Janet Jacme

    John King and Dana Bash, this report is beneath you. Citing un-named sources? Come on!

    We know McCain is your hero and BFF, John, but you could at least PRETEND to be objective.

    August 25, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. Janet Harrisburg PA

    I am really tired of hearing about how Obama did Hillary wrong, this is not about Hillary or Bill. Bill need to stop acting like a two year old that was just told he couldn't have a toy. No one owe the Clintons anything and I tell you this, if Obama lose because of all this mess about the Clintons, she can kiss her run in 2012 goodbye because the Obama supporters will not take this one lying down, just like all of you Clinton supporters say Obama need her supporters, so would Hillary, so she need to make the best speach of her life tomorrow and pray that her supporters get it and Obama is our next president because if he's not the divide between the party that she caused would be the blame!! And we Obama supporters will remember!

    August 25, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Carol MI

    When will the Clintons understand they are no longer running the show? Honestly, when will they and their supporters move on? I voted for Gore and Kerry. My guys lost. I moved on.

    August 25, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. vmr

    who cares about whatbillys has to say!!!!go away and stay away...dont forget hilary and chelsea.

    August 25, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. Tony

    YOU GO JOE! (Biden)

    August 25, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. If I had a hammer

    The knock on the royal family from the talking heads is that they are divisive. They sure as hell got that one right. I'm going to send them a bag of weed and try to mellow 'em out.

    August 25, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. It's not about Bill!

    He's played out!

    August 25, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. Lisa

    President Clinton was the one of the best President America has had in a long time. Don't let Obama's supporters take that away from you, these are the same people that voted for George Bush for 8 years. Who can trust their judgement?

    August 25, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. jason

    As a former Bill Clinton endorser, he is partly to blame for hill not being on the ticket. As they moved to vett hill bill would not (or maybe could not) stand up to the scruitny of his finances. The republicians would have had a field day with that. and for all you people who think mccain is a moderate, you really need to check his record. hawkish on war, pro life, voted for Bush 95% of the time.

    August 25, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
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