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. HappyEnding

    Carlsbadkangaroo and Mary Renter:
    Your comments show nothing but fear and hate! We are in the 21st century and it is still apparent It will take a long time to eradicate bigotry in our country. How sad!

    November 17, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. Vasilios Birlidis

    Clinton is the perfect choice to unite that party and also place someone who would make an excellent S of S.

    However, Bill Richardson would be the worst. Considering his actions during the primary, to someone who he owes a tremendous amount to, shows me that loyalty isn't a trait he holds dearly. It's not the point that he didn't support Clinton. His attacks were so vicious that you couldn't walk away without thinking that he has a major character problem.

    November 17, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. Helen


    You are really a small minded person. Let the past be the past. We need to look to the future so your snide remarks about Bill Clinton shows stupidity, ignorance and just plain nasty. I am sure you have made mistakes in your life, we all do, so why don't you just crawl back into your little hole and let the intelligent people get on with trying to get this country out of the mess it's in.

    November 17, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. bc

    Chuck Hagel is the obvious choice for this job

    November 17, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. laughing at libs!

    I am laughing like crazy at the squiming of the lefty libs over Hillary's upcoming nomination to S of S! How soon will they realize BO is NOT in their pockets as much as they thought or hoped or dreamed or schemed???

    November 17, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  6. Karen, Arkansas

    Hillary would be great as Sec of State.

    I miss Bill.

    November 17, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. mary

    Ah here we go again. Its his decision. If he hires her I want the rabid left to shut up for good ok!

    November 17, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  8. Casey

    Hillary would be a wonderful Secretary of State. Obama needs experienced people like her surrounding him in his cabinet. Notice who he's been picking. He is proving to have sound judgment. I didn't vote for him, but I like what I see so far-he is reaching out to those he thinks would be best for these positions, and best for the country and putting his own ego aside.

    November 17, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  9. paul oregon

    not sure hillary would be the best choice

    November 17, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  10. Kelly

    Hillary would be a Fantastic Sec of State. She is very tactful and can be persuasive. Also, she can be forceful and stern if it's necessary.
    She appears to have good insight and could read -betweeen- the- lines of foreign diplomats. She would not be fooled by their outward signs of good will. She would look after America's interests very well.

    November 17, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. Fred

    I think it is funny how everyone is pushing for Hillary to be secretary of state. While she would be a good fit. Just think of what republicans would say,"hey he said he was going to change washington, yet he has the same people that have been in washington for a long time." Where is the change he promised? just think about that. Hillary is a good candidate but she would be just another punchline for republicans who would claim, Barack Obama promised us change but we get more of the same washington elite.

    November 17, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. ziadroa

    Obama is creatinig a strong, experienced team. Hillary would be an excellent SOS.

    November 17, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  13. david dial

    I'm looking at this from a poker players perspective. Obama has made the final table but has been dealt mediocre hole cards for the first hand and doesn't have a huge stack of chips to bully other players with. The stacks against him... two wars, a staggering economy, a diminished position on the world stage are formidable and he knows he has to establish his credentials early or those stacks will be bullying him for the rest of the game. Then he is dealt Hillary on the flop. He has the first bet and has to decide...fold, limp or raise? All the bets behind him will have to make their decisions based on that decision.

    Hillary seems to bring two great weaknesses to his hand. First, her administrative and leadership skills aren't top notch...consider her attempts to shepherd health care through congress during Bill's administration and, more recently, her incredibly mismanaged campaign. Second, she is extremely competitive and, when on the losing side of a fight is susceptable to saying and doing things that do not serve her well in the long run. Those things could make his hand unplayable.

    But she has strengths. She is extremely competitive. She will want to win arguments on policy with her boss, in this case President Obama. That is a good thing. She will force him to think long and hard about their differences of opinion. She is also a very forceful, intelligent human being and is perceived as such by leaders around the world. She makes him look stronger and he will be able to negotiate (bet) from a position of great strength.

    Last, but certainly not least, there is Bill. He is the wild card in all this. Being dealt Hillary on the flop Barack can be pretty sure that no matter what the turn brings he has Bill on the river if he needs him. That, for a good poker player, is like knowing after the flop that, while you don't already have the nuts you have a lot of outs to get there with.

    If I were him, I think I'd like having those two cards in my hand. I'd know it was still a gamble, but that's the nature of the game. It's not just hold 'em or fold 'em. I'd raise.

    November 17, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  14. Mike in Ca

    Hey Jan -Don't you mean that President-elect and wife are so 'Uppity"?
    Masquerading bigots.

    November 17, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  15. MD, TX

    And of course the really neat trick would be that as SOS, Hillary would probably not run for President in 2012.

    November 17, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  16. earle,florida

    Hey Bill, Hillary says bud out of her personal business decisions.

    November 17, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. Willie Davis

    I hope Bill Richardson or John Kerry get to be the Secretary of
    State. Bill or Hilliary know when to be quiet! Also he needs
    another Chief of Staff someone who will not do a lot of leaking
    information. The way Obama ran his campaign. Please
    reconsider this appointment. I know you mean well.
    Good Luck and God bless all of you!

    November 17, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. proud army and navy mom


    Neither my family members in the military nor myself voted for Sen Obama because we thought he will bring all the troops home. We voted for him because he is knowledgable, wise and most importantly cares about keeping our troops out of harm's way by not fighting dumb wars.

    We believe that Sen Obama will create a war out of lies and deceit like Bush, Cheney and their fellow war criminals.

    November 17, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. John

    A woman is a neutralizer especially in a predominantly male job. Hillary should be a good choice and has the wit and canny ability to promote brillant ideas.

    November 17, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. ATLian

    Fred, Who cares what the Republicasns say? They lost. The Clinton administration was one of the most successful in history. Obama is a smart man.

    November 17, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. Virginia

    And who really cares what Bill thinks–it ain't his call to make! I think it would be a huge mistake, but then maybe not. I didn't vote for Obama, so anything he does to goof up is fine with me....

    November 17, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. Washington Observer

    And this from a totally unbiased source. But, on this one I must agree with the former President. A team with Barack and Hillary working together would be a very strong team – and this union also will help unite Americans in their foreign policy initiatives. Now, instead of Obama going to speak with Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela without pre conditions, he can send Hillary -– a powerful team indeed

    November 17, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  23. kcmookie

    I would say all the rabble-raising going on by PUMA's on here should be all he needs to know about what he will be dealing with if he gives any position to a Clinton. You all act as if Hillary deserves something and should be able to demand it, disgusting. Walk away from her and her following and let them fade back into the nothingness they belong in. I can enjoy a LONG respite from dealing with Clinton followers at least until Chelsea comes of age, and then I am sure I will have to listen to it all over again. Go AWAY, please.

    November 17, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. Lucy

    Bill CLinton needs to stop campaigning for his wife to be Secretary of State. They are so pushy. Why can't they just let things be. She might get it without him interferring. That's why she probably wasn't selected for VP. They are to pushy. Just get out of the way Bill. Be quiet and stay out of the lime light, and maybe she will get it. Who said she campaigned for the job? Why would you bring that up to put in peoples minds.

    November 17, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. Polkovnik

    This concept makes no sense, not for Clinton and not for Obama.

    The very able Clinton, who wields power and influence in the Senate far beyond her seniority, needs to stay there. She can help the party and the Administration infinitely more where she is. She will also help herself, because the Senate is a much better launching pad for further advancement (if I'm not mistaken, the last SecState to ascend to the Presidency was John Quincy Adams).

    From Obama's and our country's standpoint, what is needed in a SecState is a consummate foreign affairs pro, someone who has made his or her bones on the field of diplomatic battle and is recognized as such by friend and foe alike. Dick Holbrooke and Bill Richardson come immediately to mind, and there are a number of others. Clinton is not in that company; her long suit is on the domestic side. (And really, watching someone else do the job isn't "experience").

    Come on, folks, this boomlet (which I strongly suspect is a pure media artifact) is good for nobody. Let's get on with the cabinet-building job and leave Clinton, a great Democratic Senator, where she can do the most good. (Next majority leader, maybe?


    November 17, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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