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In a Clinton administration, what would Bill do?

By Bill Schneider
CNN Senior Political Analyst
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- We're in an unprecedented situation. It's not just that Hillary Clinton would be the first woman president if elected, she would also be the first president married to a former president.

Which leads to the question: What will Bill Clinton do if Sen. Hillary Clinton becomes commander in chief?

"People ask me all the time, well, if you're elected, can you make him secretary of state?" the New York senator said. "And I tell them, since President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, I think that's illegal."

Voters expect a president to be his or her own person. That's one reason vice presidents like Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Dan Quayle and Al Gore often have trouble winning the presidency on their own.

The Clintons seem to be aware of the problem. "She'll be the president," Bill Clinton said on "Larry King Live" last week. "She'll make the decisions. But if I can help, I will."

Do voters want the former president to help? Apparently, they do. By two to one, voters think Bill Clinton would be an asset, not a liability, if his wife becomes president, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted April 10-12.

But the question is, what would he do? "I sure can make him ambassador to the world, because we have a lot of work to do to get our country back in the standing it should be," she said.

On Saturday, Sen. Clinton said, "I can't think of a better cheerleader for America than Bill Clinton." Why do we need a cheerleader? Because friendship with other countries is as crucial in the war on terror as it used to be in the Cold War.

The Clintons want to have it both ways. The former president will be there as an adviser. "I've had a lot of experience and I can help her," he said. But he won't be there to run things. "I'd like to continue my foundation work around the world," he said.

The rest of the world may miss Bill Clinton, but do Americans? Increasingly, they do. As President Bush's numbers have gone down, Bill Clinton's have gone up -- to the point where a majority of Americans now say they miss him.

On the campaign trail, Sen. Hillary Clinton is repeatedly asked what former President Clinton would do if she is elected president.



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