Now that Hillary Clinton is definitively running for president, the idea of another Clinton sitting in the White House have become that much closer. The former U.S. secretary of state is gearing up for what will be a fierce 2016 presidential race, and there's been a lot of speculation over what exactly husband Bill Clinton's role will be in Hillary Clinton's campaign. The enigmatic former U.S. president has said he'll take a back seat this time around, but Bill Clinton has never shied away from the national spotlight, no matter how well-intentioned he may be.
A New York Times piece, published last month, suggested the former U.S. president would not work in the same capacity as he did in Hillary Clinton's 2008 run. Last time around, Bill Clinton leveraged his charisma with voters to campaign and fundraise for his wife. Used as a buzzy opening act, he set the stage and got voters excited before introducing Hillary Clinton at events. He also would headline rallies alone to expand their reach, particularly in key swing states.
But that's where things got tricky. His off-scripted remarks sometimes turned the media's attention away from his wife's campaign. In 2008, Bill Clinton described then-Sen. Barack Obama's changing stance on the Iraq War the "biggest fairy tale" he had ever seen, stirring up countless headlines and sparking huge backlash from black caucus members. That's why, the Times reported, there has been talk within Hillary Clinton's camp about placing a senior aide to accompany her husband to ensure he stays on track with her message. A couple weeks later, Politico reported that Bill Clinton blasted the New York Times story as "creative writing" at a private fundraiser for the Clinton Foundation.
In a Town & Country magazine interview published on Tuesday, Bill Clinton addressed the question so many of us have wondered. At the time of print, Hillary Clinton had not officially announced her candidacy, but Bill Clinton talked candidly on what his job would be in his wife's campaign if she were to run and even offered a peek at what Hillary Clinton's strategy might be for her second White House run.
I think it's important, and Hillary does too, that she go out there as if she's never run for anything before and establish her connection with the voters. And that my role should primarily be as a backstage adviser to her until we get much, much closer to the election.
Not only would a win make Hillary Clinton America's first female president, it would also make Bill Clinton the country's first First Gentleman (Man? Husband?). Bill Clinton told Town & Country he would defer to his wife on what his duties would be but warned against prematurely guessing.
First, I would have to assess what she wants me to do. Second, we might have to change the (foundation) rules again. But we haven't talked about that yet, and I don't think we should. You can't. It's hard for any party to hang on to the White House for 12 years, and it's a long road. A thousand things could happen.
The 42nd president of the United States sounded content staying away from the campaign trail and said he planned to tend to the family's other enterprises. The Clinton Foundation, a global service nonprofit that has also drawn criticism for receiving foreign governments' donations while Hillary Clinton has been in public service, will remain Bill Clinton's top priority — as well as another pressing job.
I've told Hillary that I don't think I'm good (at campaigning) anymore because I'm not mad at anybody. I'm a grandfather, and I got to see my granddaughter last night, and I can't be mad.
Although he might not be as visible as last time, don't expect that to mean Bill Clinton won't have a prominent role in Hillary Clinton's upcoming campaign. There's a reason why the Clintons have been such a formidable political force for decades. Bill Clinton has won two of these presidential runs before, as well as others that led up to the White House. To not give credence to his political experience and shrewd mind would be a short-sighted opinion. Just as Hillary has learned from 2008, surely so has Bill.
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