December 3rd, 2008
08:51 AM ET
12 years ago

Bill Clinton says he'd consider role in Obama administration

 The former President has pledged to release a list of donors.

The former President has pledged to release a list of donors.

HONG KONG, China (CNN) - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Wednesday he will have "very little" to do with the decisions his wife Hillary will face as secretary of state in the incoming Obama administration.

"I'll just try to be a helpful sounding board to her, but I don't think I'll do any more than that," Clinton told CNN during a trip to Hong Kong.

President-elect Barack Obama announced Monday that Hillary Clinton, the senator from New York and former first lady, was his choice for secretary of state. Bill Clinton said he and his wife have always talked "about everything," and he called her advice "invaluable" throughout his career.

"I really care about all these profound challenges that our country and the world are facing," he said. "But the decisions will have to be ultimately the President-elect Obama's decisions to make about what we are going to do, what our policies are going to be."

Clinton said his wife learned she was being considered for the Cabinet post by reading it in the newspaper. He said he would remain in the background unless Obama "asks me to do something specific, which I'm neither looking for nor closed to."

"I think she made the right decision, but for her it was hard. She adored being in the Senate," he said.

Clinton was in Hong Kong to open a meeting of his Clinton Global Initiative, the non-profit foundation he started after leaving office. The organization, which is aimed at tackling international problems such as worldwide poverty and disease prevention, came under scrutiny while his wife was being vetted for the job.

Clinton said he has agreed to disclose his donors in order to eliminate concerns that supporters were trying to influence U.S. international policy, a move he called "over and above what the law requires."

"If she is going to be secretary of state and I operate globally and I have people who contribute to these efforts globally, I think that its important to make it totally transparent," he said.

Filed under: Bill Clinton
soundoff (245 Responses)
  1. Sweetie

    The Clinton Dynasty will never end!

    I won't be surprised at all when their daughter decides to run for office!

    I don't think it is a bad thing, Peace and Prosperity will be a welcome "change"!

    But we did just "Vote in" another Clinton Administration, just with BO at the Top instead of Hillary!

    December 3, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. david

    reading the comments is like taking a trip across the US, everyone has
    very strong opinions but likely very little real information. why not spend some time actually reading about the past
    and trying to come up with a conclusion that isn't what you heard from some talking head on TV. why is it that when smart people take office other people get sideways, is it that the words spoken are too much for the common person to comprehend? I wonder how anyone can criticize a past president that presided over one of the most prolific periods in American history in terms of finance. the Clinton era was filled with EMPLOYMENT, BALANCED BUDGETS, LEAPS IN TECHNOLOGY AND OVERALL PROSPERITY FOR MORE PEOPLE THAN EVER BEFORE. as far as I'm concerned they should have left him in office. Just think about what life would be like if we had not elected BUSH! who cares who Clinton slept with, wouldn't you all prefer it if bush had slept with an intern instead of bankrupting the country both financially and internationally. We all need to buy into the rebirth of this country under the leadership of a man who has risen up to lead us, let's face it, people's confidence and attitude matter more than anything, so let's stay positive and remember what makes this country the greatest on earth, our freedom, which has been sorely compromised by the current guy in office, hopefully we can make it to jan 20th without further Bush errors.

    December 3, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Woe

    Do all of you know why America is in the mess that it is in? Greed, lying, cheating whether it be Pennsylvania Ave, Wall Street or Main Street, America is paying for this. And gues what people, it is going to get worse to the point where there will no longer be a USA. Just keep on going down this path and you will see that I am right. GM, Ford, Chrysler...too bad, you should go under. You people who work for them, guess what, the party's over. Deal with it like the rest of the unemployed.

    December 3, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. Tom in Delaware

    To Jay: December 3rd, 2008 11:42 am ET

    Oh why bother....nothings going to help you.

    December 3, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. Woe

    Now about the Clintons. There is no doubt in my mind, and the mind of many others that Bill Clinton was this country's best President ever. I am hoping to tag President-Elect Obama with that same praise and hopefully more. Hillary will continue Bill's legacy as Secretary of State and what a great SofS she will be. You repugs can say anything you want, but you cannot say that the Clinton years were hard on Americans. Can you say the same for Mr Bush's reign? Who was the real terrorist here? Hmmmmmmm

    December 3, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. R. W.

    To Jay: December 3rd, 2008 11:42 am ET

    Learn to spell first. Then, learn to make informed arguments.

    December 3, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Kevin in PV

    I'm a registered democrat but very close to the center. I have mixed feelings about former president Clinton involved in the new administration. Unlike most Republicans I know, I can give him credit where credit is due. During his eight years I thought he was a great president and accomplished much. Unlike most Democrats, I am ashamed of how he left office, and certainly understand Republican anger on that point. He could bring alot of unwanted baggage to what otherwise may be a very promising administration.

    I'm mystified as to why so many Republicans have already decided PE Obama will do nothing but run the country the rest of way into the ground. It seems we gave Bush two terms and obviously, the majority of Americans, Republican and Democrat (all but a small core of die-hard conservatives), believe he was not a good leader and did not take the country in the right direction. For goodness sakes, give our new man a chance. We've had good, great and poor presidents of both parties. Why castigate and criticize PE Obama when he hasn't even begun serving the nation? Had we done that at the outset of the Reagan years or Clinton years wouldn't we look sillly now?

    December 3, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. bernj II

    Another question:

    "Will the democrats on this blog ever develope a mind of their own or blindly follow their messiah?"

    I think .... Baaaaaaa!

    December 3, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. Jan

    Thank God for the Clintons–someone knows their way around the white house–those people who voted Obama did not REALLY think there would be change–or did they?

    December 3, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. cool onlooker

    Even if Bill is not getting any role, somehow I feel one of his feet is already stepping into the ground. One of his hands is pressing some buttons here and there, manipulating the administration.

    What's new? Power addictor.

    December 3, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. Texas Teacher

    I recall the first time Clinton ran for office... he said the country will get two for the price of one... and that if anything, Hillary was smarter than him. Now despite his philandering, that is a gracious statement for any husband to make. Men who fool around often love their wives very much. The other is like an illness... they simply seem unable to resist. No one can say that he is not intelligent and qualified for any role he might play in the administration directly or indirectly.

    I'm sure the financial disclosure is no problem for either Clintons. Even in the Republican witch hunt that proved only that he was an unfaithful husband, NOTHING was proved against Bill Clinton.

    Bush is the one who should be impeached... right along with Cheney.. but it will never happen. The republicans have teflon skin... and the Media aids them in this feat. After all, what is media... but big business. Sorry, I'm very cynical today.... 🙂

    December 3, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Virginia

    Please say it ain't so!! We have one already and she is scarier than most, but he is a train wreck horror film waiting to happen. No, no, no!

    December 3, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. No Hillary = No Obama

    Obama will be the face of the Presidency but Hillary Clinton will be the guts.

    December 3, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. Christine

    Oh, ewww!

    December 3, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. Sue in MI

    But the national debt (not the deficit) was retired under Clinton and we had a surplus. If he can make that happen again, we ought to change the Constitution and bring him back! I could care less about Lewinsky, a woman, not a child, who set him up (he's not blameless, but he never allowed torture, either, nor had 5,000 of our servicepeople killed and thousands more maimed, not to mention 100,000 dead Iraqis and millions of displaced Iraqis.) Bush has committed crimes against humanity and should have been impeached, but for Pelosi's complicity in allowing torture...she doesn't want that to come out, so won't allow hearings.

    December 3, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. karen raleigh

    I think he should stay in the background. Obama likes it low-key -no drama -just get things done. He has already met with the Governors and wants transparency for any funds that are given to the states. We will get safe bridges, safe and better schools, lots of goodies for our state and our children. Now we have to have better laws to put rapists and pedophiles away for LIFE .Lets hear more about those issues and less about gays and abortion rights!! Rapists and pedophiles are killers of the spirit and souls' of the victims.

    December 3, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. not impressed, CA

    Wasn't this the same Bill Clinton who got impeached for lieing under oath to the American people.? ? How soon we forget.

    December 3, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. Milhouse van Houten

    The history books will be alot kinder to Clinton than his successor but
    he kind of reminds me of an ageing boxer,not being able to cope with-out the limelight and not willing to admit his time is over.

    December 3, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Special Envoy to the UN. Bill Clinton had his faults, but being unpopular with all the other nations wasn't one of them. He could have been elected president, prime minister, premier or whatever other title of virtually any country he chose after he left office!

    Bill Clinton can mend fences – Quickly!!!

    December 3, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. Theresa

    Clinton – give it a rest. One Clinton at a time is enough!

    December 4, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
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