Will Bill Clinton be a help or a hindrance if his wife runs for president again?
February 9th, 2014
01:18 PM ET
6 years ago

Will Bill Clinton be a help or a hindrance if his wife runs for president again?

(CNN) - A new book set to release this week on Hillary Clinton includes an anecdote about the tension that arose when her husband, former President Bill Clinton, tried to edit one of her speeches.

And former Gen. David Petraeus, a Republican, is quoted in the book as saying Hillary Clinton would be a tremendous president.

Political reporters Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes talked Sunday about their new book, "HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton," on NBC's "Meet the Press."

They recalled a moment of tension when Bill Clinton tried to add his own style to his wife's speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, long after it was clear she would not be the nominee.

"While she had been on the mock stage at the convention center, Bill had delivered edits. He had ripped up the structure and added some of his own poetic flourishes," according to an excerpt from the book, as seen on NBC. "But Hillary was having none of it. Bill and the set of advisers she had hired from his 1996 campaign had proved disastrous at developing her message and strategy for the campaign. She was the one in the host seat now."

"'It's my speech,' she declared as she left to find (Bill)."

Parnes said the story was an example of how the power couple share "the same goal, but they have different strategies of getting there."

"So I think that's going to be an interesting moment to see how this plays out. If Bill Clinton can be the Bill Clinton that he was for Barack Obama in 2012, she's got it made," Parnes said. "If he is the Bill Clinton from 2008, that's a little bit of a precarious situation."

Allen added that while Bill Clinton is talented at political strategy - even for himself - it's a different story when it comes to his wife.

"There's a blind spot," he said.

Bill Clinton's place in his wife's potential second run for the White House will certainly be under a microscope. He's already being described as a liability by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky.

While Paul says he doesn't fault Hillary Clinton for her husband's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, the senator argues that Bill Clinton's sexual past should be considered a factor when Democrats ask him to campaign for them this year, especially at a time when Democrats are trying to paint the GOP as anti-women.

For his part, Petraeus said in the book that Hillary Clinton would make a tremendous president. He did not come down as hard on her as other Republicans have about the deadly attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012.

"Like a lot of great leaders, her most impressive qualities were the most visible during tough times. In the wake of the Benghazi attacks, I thought she was extraordinarily resolute, determined and controlled," Petraeus wrote, according to an excerpt shown on ABC's "This Week."

Parnes, on "Meet the Press," said Petraeus told the authors Hillary Clinton showed a lot of kindness to him when his extramarital affair with his biographer was revealed in 2012, and Petraeus resigned from his post as CIA director.

"She wrote him a note actually and she said, 'I've had a little bit of experience with this,' which we thought was a very interesting moment," Parnes said.

Filed under: 2016 • Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. S. B. Stein

    I want to know why Rand Paul is saying that Bill's problems are Hillary's problems. It doesn't seem really relevant.

    February 9, 2014 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  2. JC55

    kidding right? President Clinton by far the greatest economic times in my life. With no morals or value on any side in politics comes down to economics. Guess I'm just an American. It's economy.....none of this other stuff matters.

    February 9, 2014 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  3. joepa14221

    all i got to say is how can democrats say there is a war on women with what Bill Clinton did. If he was in private buisness, he would have been fired for doing what he did. Also, Woody Allen gets an award even though he has issues with his daughter. Unfortunately, liberals have no room to talk.

    February 9, 2014 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  4. Mary

    Bill Clinton will be a huge help in 2016 just as he was a big help at the DNC for President Obama.

    And when I hear Republicans bring up the Lewinsky scandal, it irks me for two reasons. 1) What does that have to do with Hillary? She wasn't the one doing anything inappropriate there. And 2) Are Republicans implying that women should somehow be held accountable for mens actions??

    February 9, 2014 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  5. freedom


    The point is that the democrats are very vocal about the so-called "war on women" which by the way doesn't exist. But since they want to manufacture this "war" – Paul is saying that this is utter hypocrisy, since they have Bill as the womanizer, and Hilary as the woman who stays with the abusing husband. Not good examples of respect of women – from either of them.

    February 9, 2014 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    No disrespect, but Hilary will benefit if her husband gets involved.

    February 10, 2014 12:54 am at 12:54 am |

    The Guns Over People tea potty wingnuts are desperate. Talking about Monica proves that.

    February 10, 2014 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  8. gustifer53

    Rand Paul, is such a hypocrite and a genuine moron. He can't even tell anyone what his name is anymore, the only thing you ever hear out of that toilet bowl he has for a mouth, is Benghazi. Hey Rand what about Iraq, Bush and Cheney? I never hear a word out of any Republic0n or Teabagger about that. I guess it is different when one of their own kills thousands of our military men and women. Rand you are like your father, a billionaire LOSER. Hillary and Bill will be living in the White House again and Bill will be an equal part of why she will be our next President. So go ahead and waste you money trying to buy the White House, WE Americans know what a loser you are and will always be!!!!!

    February 10, 2014 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  9. Gurgyl

    -so is Benghazi a new Birth certificate, can I add this to your stuff, silence do good,.

    February 10, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
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