November 17th, 2008
12:23 PM ET
13 years ago

Bill Clinton says wife would be 'great' secretary of state

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Bill Clinton says his wife would make a great secretary of state."](CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton is weighing in on the possibility of his wife becoming secretary of state, saying the New York senator would "be really great" in the post.

"She loves doing what she is doing. But if she decided - if he decided to ask her to do it and they did it together I think she'd be really great at being secretary of state," Clinton said Sunday during an economic conference in Kuwait hosted by the National Bank of Kuwait.

But the former president made clear his wife did not seek out a job offer.

"She worked very hard for his election after the primary fight they had and so did I and we were very glad that he won and we have a lot of confidence that he can do a good job. But she did not do what she did with the hope or expectation of getting any kind of job offer, much less getting this discussed," he said.

The New York senator is reportedly on Obama's shortlist for the position. Sources tell CNN New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is also in the running.

soundoff (275 Responses)
  1. Willa

    Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, John Kerry....all very well qualified. If Hillary gets the job however, the Obama team will definitely become another Clinton team, and their NAFTA agenda etc. etc. . Let's hope this time at least, that any new trade agreements will be negotiated with some semblance of intelligence, responsibility and common sense. If we keep 'giving away the store' to other countries, US will continue to bleed jobs and there will be more dire consequences for our already teetering economy.

    November 17, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Obama supporter #2

    All week end we have been hearing about Hillary as SoS. Please Obama make your decisions on your cabinet positions so the MSM can STFU about it. They (the MSM/GOP) are gonna scrutinize if you make the "wrong or right" decisions anyway.

    November 17, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Annie, Atlanta

    Either Senator Clinton or Governor Richardson would represent us well on the world stage.

    November 17, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Sylvia

    Why is Bill Clinton involved in every step that his wife is going to make. I think he just needs to be quiet and let his wife and Obama work this out. Clinton is so "in your face" and it's beginning to be annoying. I hope Obama sees this.

    November 17, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. justobserve

    Of course Bill would say that: it's like him in a candy store. He had used his status as an ex-president to earn million without shame, he will have more power with a wife in the cabinet. It's just like those Banana Republic, say the Marcos, when his wife stood for presidency, or Evita of Argentina.

    November 17, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    I think Hillary as Secretary of Sate is an inspired idea, which tells us a lot about Obama's temperament. Even though she's a great advocate for Obama's (and her) policies in Congress, any Democrat would be and in the Senate, she'll still be the junior senator from New York and a long way from Senate Leadership. She's respected around the world and is the kind of intelligent force we need in this position. That's not to take anything away from Richardson or Kerry because they're capable, too. But I think we need something more than just capable. We need energy in all of these high-level positions,an energy which screams change. And this does this for me.

    November 17, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. Anna, ATL

    Oh geez, many people in Obamas campaign were former Clintonites.
    Low tier, who decided that taking a gamble on the new guy could mean a climb up the ladder faster-thats why you see all these appointments from the Clinton days–they have been working with O since the beginning.

    Where do you people think these NEW people you want are going to come from? We have serious problems right now that need to be solved.

    As Joe said: no time for on the job training!

    No Democrat has committed themselves more to the states, country and world they have served than the Clintons in the past thirty years.

    You want solutions? Hire competence!
    the best living example of that these days are they that served the Clintons.

    November 17, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Gerry

    President-elect Obama is surely approaching the appointment of Secretary of State with the same caution and emphasis on consequences as he did during the election. Senator Clinton is a very good candidate for the position because she has all of the qualifications and carries little international ‘baggage.’ However, there is one major issue and that is President Clinton. President Clinton will need to reveal much about the financial dealings of his foundation as well as his personal income sources. During the primary campaign he did not do this. I think this is the only major problem in this appointment. I hope it works out as having Senator Clinton in the tent as opposed to outside the tent of Team Obama is wise choice for the Obama Administration.

    November 17, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. Truth Hurts

    There are only selfish reasons why Billy Clinton is campaigning for his wife to become SOS

    It is too bad the media continues to push the idea that Slick Willy was a good president, cause he wasnt. His wife wouldnt be a good president either.

    November 17, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. ndlily

    I just hope Obama knows what he is doing. i have read the theory that he would offer her a cabinet post just to get her out of the way. I suppose that is one way to look at it. I hate to see all the pressure on him to pick her, and I have to wonder where it is coming from. Part of me wonders if the Clinton faction hasn't blown this out of proportion just as a power play (let's push this guy, Obama, around).

    As for all of you who say Hillary is smart and deserving of the position and Clinton was such a great president, yes, she is a great politician (not necessarily a compliment). But she is also ruthless, competitive, and used to putting herself far above the needs of those she represents. That's not exactly a team player. As for Clinton's reign as president, things were rosier then, but it takes a lot to affect the natural rhythms of the economy and the president can only do so much. I'm not saying that Bush is not culpable in this last little economic downturn. He was starting a war while not watching things at home, which is a dangerous recipe. But I am also saying Clinton isn't entirely responsible for the "good times," and he did his share to make the White House a joke (think Monica) around the world. And, to bring it all home, Hillary didn't even have the guts to stand up to him. Or once again, she put her political aspirations above being a role model to women and to her own daughter.

    All in all, as I said, I really hope Obama knows what he is doing.

    November 17, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. Brian

    Done. Next position.

    November 17, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. GA for Obama

    Charlie- Obama's barely appointed 7/8010 members..wait till ALL are appointed, then judge

    November 17, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. Ohio Citizen

    I will be surprised if she accepts the job. Her issues are on the domestic front. Does she forget about health care ? +

    November 17, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Obama is smart in two ways
    1) he's bringing back some key people who helped us clean up the last mess and give us an economic boom. I have no problem with that.
    2) he's trying to bring in people with whom he disagreed because he knows he doesn't have ALL the answers and will want to get every angle before making decisions. Hillary has a unique perspective.
    As well, she did get more than 18million votes in the primaries. That's about 30%, or a little more, than McCain's total. So, I'd like to think she's earned the right to be asked into the administration.
    Oh, and let's not forget all those rallies she did for Obama.

    He owes her and he knows it and is trying to repay her.
    And, if everything works out, she'll be perfectly set up to get the nomination and win in 2016.

    Yes, this is from a person who was furious at Clinton for months. Not so much for staying in, because I saw (especially in the end) how it maed Obama stronger as a candidate. Rather, for some of the things she said that were just flat out wrong.

    But, again, she made up for it in rallying for him. So, I say go for it.

    November 17, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. Leigh

    Obama said he wants to redistribute the wealth to help everyone. Well I hope he begins with the redistribution of the wealth of Oprah, the Kennedys, all the people in Hollywood, and all the Democratic members of the House and the Senate. They were his biggest backers and supporters, so they should be the first to have their money spread around.

    November 17, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. Barry

    I tell you some of the comments on here, people just need to grow up.
    What happned to all the talk of Unity or was that just more talk and no truth to it?

    Obama would be lucky to have someone like Hillary on his team.
    I hope of her sake she stays in the Senate as she can do more for the US and herself in the position.

    November 17, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. Pam

    Of course he's pushing for her to Secretary of State...think of how often she'd be out of the country!

    November 17, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. B

    Bill Clinton – I loved you, voted for you, and still in some part idolize you. You are one of the greats in my opinion! So when I say this, I do with fortitude and humbleness….

    SHUT UP!!!!!!


    November 17, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  19. Blake

    Seriously, what is this CNN campaign to elect Hillary Secretary of State?

    November 17, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. David

    If I was her I won't take it because I believe her goal is to be president and being a part of Obama Admin won't get her there.

    November 17, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. susan

    The bottom line is Hillary Clinton should have been the Democratic nominee. The Superdelegates didn't want her. Besides, Obama is the least qualified person to be President of the United States in recent history. No wonder he is surrounding himself with Bill Clinton's administration. I think Hillary and Bill Clinton should stay completely out of Obama's Presidency. If he falls, he should fall hard and he should fall alone. Then he can preach his mantra of change. The Amercian people deserve who they have voted for much like they did when they voted for Geroge W Bush. If they should suffer, let them.

    November 17, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. w.l. jones

    The more knowledge a person attain the sooner he learnt you have leaders and followers you can^t have both.

    November 17, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. TX_Women

    I admire Hilliary but she lives in the shadow of Bill Clinton. Bill-C needs to come clean with everything; if Hilliary is selected. Otherwise, she could end-up being a nightmare for the Obama Administraion. You have to think - why do so many Republicans want Hilliary as SOS???????

    Be cautious and seek wisdom Obama in your pick for SOS.

    November 17, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. silas

    I believe she will be a very good fit for that position

    November 17, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. Carlos Jean-Gilles

    The beauty about HRC as Secretary of State is that she can pick up the phone at any time day or night and speak with Bill Clinton on foreign policy. One may like or dislike Bill Clinton. But one cannot deny that he is smart, astute, and knowledgeable. So, there you have it: no secretary of state ever has had the depth, breadth and intelligence of team Clinton. This is an outstanding choice, folks! It's not based on anything else other than what is best for the country. As to the argument that HRC does not satisfy the change agenda, tell me folks, When have we ever had both a man and a woman sharing the secretary of state job? This choice would be "freaking" brilliant, and it doesn't take the brain of a rocket scientist to see that. If HRC truly puts country first, she will not only accept the position, she will see that this platform makes her a shoe-in for president in 2016. All she has to do is make progress on the foreign policy front and improve her managerial skills, and she will be our first woman president. I'd bet my money on it!

    Carlos Jean-Gilles
    Saint Louis, MO

    November 17, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
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