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. Peter

    After this week, the polls will turn heavily in Obamas' favor and he will have a cakewalk the rest of the way, no matter what the McCain / Bush supporters do.

    August 25, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Vera /AB. Canada


    August 25, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. Pam

    Do the Clintons realize that after all this whining and crying and back stabbing they're doing that Hillary doesn't stand a chance in any future election? If they keep this up, she won't even get re-elected to the Senate.

    August 25, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. Dave

    Not choosing Hillary a HUGE mistake, this from a die hard conservative, all I can say is thanks Obama/Michelle/Joe B, never fails with those LIB egos, that is why they moved speech to larger venue

    August 25, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. Ex-clinton supporter

    The Clintons are starting to become that nagging ex-wife who is never happy. Here's an idea Clintons, just register yourself as an independent and go away.

    August 25, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. Lynn ND

    Enough drama Bill. It is becoming so obvious that Bill and Hill want to sabotage the election so that Hillary can make the big 2012 comeback. Guess what? That won't happen. They have made that a pipedream that simply will blow up in her face. Longtime Democrats like myself will not forgive or forget and their are a lot of us.

    August 25, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. Jeff Denver CO

    Party Unity...One Nation...One President for all Americans-not just the Democrats or the Republicans. Who can be the president for ALL Americans? That is the question WE must answer before we cast our votes. Hillary can and should be that president ... for ALL Americans...

    August 25, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. BHO FTL

    Btw Obama bots... HRC is a moderate... Mccain is a Moderate.... BHO is a super liberal... put yourself in a moderate shoes, and ask yourself the question, " Who that is left represent me best?". So get off your high horse BHO and Hillary were not that alike. Deal with it...

    August 25, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  9. Jerry

    I wondering why he losen in the Poll because of CNN, Clinton, Lies that MCSAME is doing to hurt Obama in the long run Obama going to win........The American people are very excited having Obama to be president

    August 25, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. gpmi

    It is so sad that Clintons are destroing their legacy them selfes. It is typical to asociate anger with them in this season.Wethr they are angry or their angry supporters who over and over demand certain things ( which are in first place not realistc – when they demand something else). Aperantly on the other hand they aer showing BEING NOT CAPABLE to deal with their angry folowers even they realy would like to!!!!!!!!!!!! What all that is telling about them??? They are placing them selfes into history -we do not need more anger around here.

    August 25, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. chety

    you guys just want to stir up hate. You will always bllame everything on the Clintons. Not this time. Obama will sleep in the bed he has made for himself

    August 25, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. D Young

    This is typical of the Clintons – forget about the Democratic party, the big picture, the larger goals. It has always been, and apparently remains, all about themselves, their personal glory and deification. Clinton backers complain that Obama could be doing more to relieve Hillary's debt? I say the Clintons could be doing more to unequivocally support the Democratic presidential nominee, instead of the lukewarm support and statements, the whining, and being bitter, sore losers.

    If the Democrats blow this election – again – it'll be because of the Clintons and their behavior during the primaries and continuing now. They need to get over themselves and think about the greater good.

    August 25, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. Ted

    It's a clear strategy. Destroy Barack, and get Hillary ready for re-election in 2012! Good luck Bill, Hillary and all your supporters, but God is on Obama's side.

    August 25, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. Scott Independent - NYC

    pb – the releasing of delegates is a moot action. The delegates don't need to be released. All delegates are currently, technically free until they cast that vote at the convention.

    Like your vote, once its caste it is in stone. Remember that when the choice is between Obama and McCain; a volunteer army and a draft; pro-choice and abortion rights or pro-life and restrictions on a women's body; peace or war with Iran and Russia; alternative energy or off shore drilling; and sitting in your one kitchen or adding another to the list for John McCain.

    August 25, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Steve

    I love Bill. He's kind of like the off the wall Uncle that almost every family has. But this time I really just wish he would chill out already. All of this drama is just unseemly for his legacy and it certainly will not help his wife, whose future he really ought to be most concerned about promoting. Bill, its not all about you. Start thinking of others, such as your wife, please.

    August 25, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. Nico Sciscente

    CNN is doing a great job and to the best of their republican ability to crash the democratic convention........brave CNN for being the voice of stupidity...hope you are proud of yourselves.......I wonder if you'll do the same during the Republican convention.......answer to that is no.......go ahead CNN.......helping elect McCain will keep the rich "rich" and the rest taking the high road.......and by the must have Bin Laden laughing all the way to the bank.........shame on you CNN!!!!

    August 25, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Dave W

    What do you expect? If it's not all about Hill and Bill they are "angry"! Who cares? I for one dislike the Hill-Billy aways intruding with their strident and devisive rhetoric. They are more like spoiled rich kids than seasoned, sage political professionals. Take a CHILL PILL Bill!

    August 25, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. Celeste

    You Hillary backers are so bitter/angry. Do you really think that if you contribute to Obama losing the general election that Hillary will have a chance come next time? Think again. It....will....never....happen. Go ahead and vote for McCain. The sad thing is that most of you who will do so are the ones who have the most to lose. You can't afford (financially speaking) to live with another Republican administration. Go ahead and cut off your nose to spite your face and see who suffers the most.

    August 25, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  19. Hawkeye

    He continues to live in lala land with lala. Bill Who???

    August 25, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. David, Silver Spring, MD

    The Clintons are turning into a kidney stone in the Democratic Party. The longer it takes for the party to get them out, the more painful it's going to be.

    August 25, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. jay

    This is the Clinton economy. Funny, he knows about neither topic.

    August 25, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. Kevin

    If he doesn't want to go with the program, let him stay at home. Barack Obama is the head of the Democratic party and it's his time now, not Bill's, Hillary's or anybody else's.

    August 25, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  23. OBAMA 08- OO8

    Let's keep it real. If this was HRC, would she have made Obama her VP?
    There time is over!

    August 25, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. Sam

    Bill needs to GET OVER HIMSELF! Give us a break. He has turned off so many Democrats who supported him in the past by his imperial attitude of entitlement, that he's somehow better than the rest of us 'common folk.' . Bill, Hillary is not the nominee. No, you are not going to move into the White House in January. Try thinking beyond your own personal ambition. Frankly, I think a little altruism is needed .

    August 25, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. Socialists for Obama

    If Bill speaks of the great economy in the 1990s, is he finally willing to give credit where credit is due: Ronald Reagan's 1980s tax cuts and the Republican congress who politically forced Clinton's hand approving the first balanced budget in 40 years and fundamentally ending welfare as we then knew it?

    Never before in the history of Western Civilization has a nation ever taxed its way to prosperity, and Bill Clinton knows this. The least he can do is thank those who handed him his "greatest achievement."

    August 25, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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