Monday, January 22, 2007
Strategists: Clinton must settle 'Billary' issue
Observers on both sides of the political aisle say that after all these years what Hillary Clinton needs is a separation agreement from her husband. No, not that kind, a political separation, where she gets his assets, without the liablities.

Former President Bill Clinton's political assets are of course considerable: He's considered by many to have the finest political mind in the Democratic Party, his ability to connect with voters is as impressive as ever, and he remains the biggest draw on the Democratic money circuit.

But being so closely identified with Bill is not without its drawbacks for Hillary, according Anita Dunn, a Democratic strategist, and Scott Reed, a Republican strategist.

They say that one reason around 40 percent of U.S. voters have an unfavorable opinion of Senator Clinton (according to CNN polling) is that they don't like her husband, and that because Bill and Hillary originally came as a package, she gets saddled with the mistrust directed toward him.

Her challenge? Reintroduce herself, drop the baggage, move past the soap opera, become a candidate of the future, not the past.

As Anita Dunn told us today, Senator Clinton's problem is that the voters don't know her, but they think they do. New Yorkers now know her apart from her husband, and reelected her overwhelmingly. It's her job now to take that separation national.
Posted By Steve Turnham, CNN Producer: 4:10 PM ET
  47 Comments
Are you guys kidding! That's one of the reasons I want to vote for Hillary. Bill got into so much trouble when he had things to do imagine what is going to happen when he is sans stuff to do. It's going to make for great TV!
Posted By Anonymous Marcy, Mobile, AL : 4:21 PM ET
I think it's great that Hillary is "officially" running... she's been setting it up for quite some time. I honestly am not sure whether or not she could actually win, though! It will be interesting to follow the campaigns of all of the canditates for 2008.
Posted By Anonymous Maddie Johnston, Minnetonka, MN : 4:31 PM ET
It's going to be hard for Hillary to distinguish herself from Bill and all the baggage. But I think the bigger struggle is gaining voters now that Obama is in the game.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa B., NYC : 4:37 PM ET
Steve,

I don't know that Bill is the problem so much as Hillary herself. And gosh, if CNN was the first to coin "Billary" then you guys have to go to the wood shed. I am so tired of these couple names. Anyhoo, Hillary is very polarizing for some reason. I think it is because she came into the White House as such a strong, accomplished professional woman in her own right. Eleanor Roosevelt grew into the role as a strong First Lady and look how they demonized her.

Hillary is starting off on the right foot by saying that she wants to start a dialogue with the American people and actually listen to comments. How novel for a politician. That said, look for the avalanche of Hillary jokes to begin. Pundits on MSNBC have already said that Obama needs to get a food taster. He is the only person standing betweeen Hillary and the nomination and that is a very dangerous place to be. I did find that very funny.
Posted By Anonymous Charlotte D, Stockton CA : 4:40 PM ET
BUSH....CLINTON....BUSH....NOW CLINTON AGAIN.......AMERICA NEEDS NEW BLOOD!!!!!
Posted By Anonymous MARIA, DAPHNE ALABAMA : 4:45 PM ET
Hilary is HILARY! Bill is BILL! If my husband shoots someone, I am in no way as guilty as he! It's the people who have the baggage, not Hilary. Bill would be an excellent Secretary of State!!!!
Posted By Anonymous . Pat Laguna Woods, Ca. : 4:56 PM ET
I don't trust her much more than him, and I don't agree with her politics. I hope she stays out of the national political arena. It makes U.S. politiics look like a soap opera.
Posted By Anonymous Tim, Charlotte, NC : 5:01 PM ET
A great team; keep them together
Posted By Anonymous bill henderson nv : 5:01 PM ET
negative....the dislike and distrust is TOTALLY aimed at Hillary...NOT Bill....she is unelectable
Posted By Anonymous Dick Seattle WA : 5:02 PM ET
The reason she's not well liked is due to herself. Hillary lacks any warmth and comes across as a true calculating politician - whereby her husband comes across as a good old boy that you wouldn't mind hanging out with. In my opinion, with all the downside that comes with Bill Clinton - she just doesn't have the charisma and the trust of the American people. We shall see.
Posted By Anonymous McCallin, Port Washington : 5:03 PM ET
She also has the experience on what it will take to be a successful leader!
Posted By Anonymous Nicki, Calgary, Alberta : 5:05 PM ET
All right!! Bill can be the 1st "1st Man"! Woo-hoo!! Imagine what he can accomplish another 8 years in the White House (albeit a different office, and, bed perhaps?!)!! The possibilities are limtiless!! Let's keep it going: Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton! Maybe Jeb can make a run in a few years, and by that time Chelsea may have been elected to some kind of public office, and, who knows what the Bush-Clinton future holds! :-)
Posted By Anonymous Mark, Sacramento, CA : 5:06 PM ET
I have a bumper sticker on my car. It reads "When Clinton lied no one died" Bill Clinton was a great president. Hillary Clinton would be a great president also. I mean seriously compared to these clowns in power now, anyone would be better. Hillary is smart. She is fluent in English. She relates well to her constituents. And to ice the cake even further, she has Bill. What a dynamic combo. I see the country moving forward. Bill is an asset. I think Al Gore wished he had not distanced himself from Bill. Oh to go back to the year 2000. Sigh.
Posted By Anonymous Chris McCurdy, Oregon : 5:06 PM ET
Approximately 66% of people in this country believe we are heading in the wrong direction. IMO the men of this governmnet have led us in that wrong direction. We have sold our soul to corporate America and it is now time to retrieve that soul and new leadership, with a woman as commander and chief, sounds good to me.
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage Brooklyn Michigan : 5:07 PM ET
Bill Clinton was unquestionably one of the finest presidents our country has ever had. The folks that would vote against Hillary for her connection to her famous husband are the same voters that would vote against her regardless of who she was married to. The two of them share similar, progressive views, while being moderate democrats that arent so far to the left that they draw the ire of the right wingers. That was Gore's folly, and Hillary is too smart to get "Gored". She is just close enough to center to draw out swing voters that end up determining all of our elections. Additionaly, There are many voters (like myself) that would be more likely to vote for Hillary because Bill will be behind the scenes again! That man is a political genius and what the world so desperatly needs is a head of state that actually has a good sence of international diplomacy. Or at least knows the definition of the word! Go Clinton!
Posted By Anonymous nathan karczewski, junction city, KS : 5:08 PM ET
People who hate Hillary Clinton don't need a reason. These clueless sheep believe wholeheartedly that that is what they are supposed to do-- they don't know why and they care even less. Even after six disastrous years of Bush's dishonesty and incompetence they still blame everything but the Common Cold on the Clintons.
Posted By Anonymous Ken Thompson; New York, NY : 5:19 PM ET
This is ridiculous but as an American woman I can already predict the ridiculous things that will be said about Senator Clinton to stop a woman from becoming a United States President. It wouldn't matter if it were Mother Theresa running, this country is run by rich white men who are not only intimidated by a strong, intelligent, opinionated woman but feel the need to write negative press items on her personal life simply to stop a WOMAN from becoming president. It is high time this country stop being ruled by rich, white, OLD men. They have lost perspective centuries ago and give no concerns to children, healthcare, education, welfare, etc. They're concerns have been lowering taxes for the wealthy, increasing profits for oil companies, and ignoring what the public is demanding. Come on America! Let's start a new phase in this country. We send a message loud and clear this past November, lets do it again in 2008. Make History!!
Posted By Anonymous Katherine, Woodland Hills, CA : 5:21 PM ET
But just think of all the people who WOULD vote for Hilary just to get Bill back (and maybe Robert Rubin).
Posted By Anonymous Pamela Carey, Beverly Hills, MI : 5:21 PM ET
I think it would be a very bad idea to distance herself from Bill in any way. Remember when Al Gore won the Presidency in 2000? Well, he would have won more than just the popular vote if he hadn't distanced himself from Bill Clinton. The only Democrat to serve as President in the past 27 years is Bill Clinton. She should bring him close to the campaign.
Posted By Anonymous Jonathan Goldstein, Birmingham, AL : 5:21 PM ET
i hate this idea. It is only because if Bill that any of us even know here name, this will be a worse pick than selecting bush jr just because of his name....sometimes this county makes me sad
Posted By Anonymous jeremy milwaukee wisconsin : 5:27 PM ET
We love the Clinton's, and look forward to Hillary in office.
Posted By Anonymous Brenda Keyton, Atlanta, Ga. : 5:28 PM ET
I think pres.Bill Clinton was the best thing that ever happend to this country. what happend in office in his personal life was between him and his wife.and I will vote for hillary.
Posted By Anonymous brenda suttle chandlersville ohio 43727 : 5:30 PM ET
I agree. She needs to separate herself from her husband. I do think there are a lot of people who think of "Billary" when they hear Hillary. However, I'm not sure people are ready for a female president yet. Although, I think it would be great to have a woman president. I would be willing to vote for woman, as long as I think she is the best candidate.
Posted By Anonymous Kaitlin, Bethlehem, PA : 5:34 PM ET
I wouldn't vote for Hillary unless she divorcd Bill. She is a poor role model for women, much less a good representative for the first woman president of the united states. She has humiliated herself repeatedly by continuing to put up with the public embarrassment his philandering has caused all these years. She reminds me of that Tammy Wynette "Stand by your Man" song.

She is a victim, not a victor. A co-dependent, pathetic woman who keeps going back for more and more abuse. She needs to show the world she has an ounce of self-resect and divorce the bum!

Divorce Bill. Then I might vote for her. Then and only then.
Posted By Anonymous Shirley Miodus, Austin, TX : 5:36 PM ET
I believe that one of Hillary's greatest assets is Mr. Bill. I would love to give the Clintons my vote! I seriously think that Hillary would make a great President.I think the fact that she is a woman is more of a hindrance than her husband, whom I believe was one of the best Presidents the U.S. has seen, Bush being the worst. With Hillary as President and Bill as first man, I could see this country coming back together. It would also make for pretty amusing SNL skits!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann Taylor Nacogdoches, Tx : 5:39 PM ET
The US needs a Female President, There needs to be less testotorone in the White House! You can see what that has led to over the Past 6 Years. She is smart, great politician, and beyound was a great first lady, who knows maybe she have a couple male interns of her own...:)
Posted By Anonymous Edy Haddad, Windsor CANADA : 5:41 PM ET
Jon Stewart for president, Stephen Colbert for vice president. That's the ticket.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie Darby, Denham Springs, LA : 5:44 PM ET
Who cares about Bill's "extra-curricular" activities? They are in the past, all presidents cheat on their wives and as long as he did good work (which he did), I could care less what he did on the side. Hillary and Bill are smart people, and we'd be lucky to have them in charge again.
Posted By Anonymous J.P. Pensacola, Florida : 5:51 PM ET
Hillary has a major character flaw that will end her Presidential hopes. She has never Confronted her adultourus husband for the multiply other women. One time, ok. Two maybe. A lifetime, no way. The American people will see this trait and focus on her tremendous weakness closer to the election if she gets that far. Confronting our ememies is a must for the job. She does not have the ability. Period...
Posted By Anonymous Jon, Bhm, AL : 5:52 PM ET
I think our politically correct country is in for a rude eye opening.
I love Hillary and her ideals, her drive, determination, and the fact that she just doesn't back down. Obama is charismatic, and has some really great ideas about where this country needs to go and how to get there.
I know it's 2007, but I just don't see American embracing a woman or black person for president. (Not from what I'm hearing in small town america) I feel that this could be a real slap in the face to people with rose colored glasses. (Here's hoping I'm wrong!!)
P.S. I personally think that they would make a great team!!
Posted By Anonymous Renae - Appleton, WI : 5:59 PM ET
What has American come to - can we only resort to two families to solve our issues? For the past two decades, it's been Bush Sr., then Clinton, then Bush, and now another Clinton!?! We need some fresh blood in the political scheme - Obama has the potential for that!
Posted By Anonymous Shruti Bala, Glendale, AZ : 6:04 PM ET
Steve,
I believe Hillary Clinton is facing two obstacles: First, outside of the state of New York, America doesn't know that much about her unless she is responding to a controversial issue via the media. Second, is America ready for a woman president?

Let's give Hillary Clinton some credit. She has made her own legacy in New York as a senator, but beyond New York, I don't have any idea what kind of President she would make.

I did read her book from a few years back and found as dry as a desert. She didn't get into the dirt about President Clinton's indiscretion but did justify her experience and ability to be a politician. Also, it was Bill Clinton's presidency not hers.

I think America is ready for either a woman president or an African American president. I think it was very clear last November that America could vote for who or what they want. Of course, there are those who still live back in the Stone Age where women are considered second-class citizens.

With the very long list of candidates developing, Hillary Clinton is going to need a strong voice with strong solutions to the problems of this country.

It shouldn't make a difference that she carries the XX chromosome rather than XY.
Posted By Anonymous Liz, Milwaukee, Wisconsin : 6:07 PM ET
I feel that Hillary will give the country what it has so desperately needed for the past 6 years... Balance.
The U.S government has been so badly dominated by money-hungry big business, that the income gap has grown to an embarassing level nationwide.
It's about time we have a little more womenly influence in our government. I'm just glad that this time the man behind the scenes (Bill) is someone we can trust with having influence on our nation's decisions.
Posted By Anonymous James Lench, Portland Oregon : 6:20 PM ET
Hillary doesn't stand a chance if Barack Obama runs. Pardon the crude figure of speech, but he'll beat the skirt off Hillary.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - Chicago IL : 6:26 PM ET
What a pity that you can't seperate the Dem comments from the Rep comments. Politics is so one sided no matter who is running.
Posted By Anonymous Dave Hughlock, Pomona, Ca. : 6:41 PM ET
I'd normally be thrilled to vote for a woman with Hillary Clinton's political outlook. She's informed, she's smart, and she can handle her side of a debate. I don't care that she's not warm and fuzzy on camera.

Her role in trashing Gennifer Flowers - who was no angel but was telling the truth about an affair with Bill Clinton - showed a side of Hillary Clinton that I can't forget. That kind of leader, male or female, Democrat or Republican, is someone I'll pass over at voting time.
Posted By Anonymous Linda, Greensboro, North Carolina : 6:51 PM ET
I have always thought that Sen. Clinton was the stronger partner, that she influenced her husband in the White House, and that she is highly intelligent and can do anything she sets her mind to do. She is not her husband by any means. She never was, even in Arkansas when he was governor. I think she needs to be given a chance to prove herself worthy of the title Madam President (or whatever a female president would be called). I'll take Sen. Clinton any day over another Bush clone. It's way past time to place a qualified woman in the White House as president.
Posted By Anonymous TA Cheramie, Berwick, LA : 7:00 PM ET
I have to agree. I believe that I do not know the REAL Hillary. The Hillary that I know is the one who had to defend her husband against the attacks, stay strong when her husband cheated on her in such a base way, and take up for her husband when he lied and his presidency was falling apart. Hillary had to be steely, so she could help her family through all the trials and tribulations that they faced during the Clinton years. There were moments, I remember, glimpses, of a different woman. She was not quite as jovial as her husband, but she came across as nice, relatable, and interesting.

If she plans to run for President in 2008, she will have to show more than just "glimpses" of this side of her. Everybody knows shes a smart lady, born and raised in a wonderful family. She now just has to sell the public on her true side. To me, it is an opportunity for her to shine. To let the world know who she is.

Time Magazine mentioned that Bill Clinton could help her with damage control. James Carville mentioned in the piece that it is almost impossible to go through a presidential campaign and not make a mistake. Bill Clinton will help her when she needs it. He will be one of her strategists, and that is an asset to Hillary. Bill Clinton has an astute political mind; one she will need during this election.

I think that the Clintons know that if Hillary decides to run, she will have to run on her own terms. Hillary will have to set the agenda, make the speeches, and let America and the world see Hillary for Hillary. I do not think that her husband will stand in the way of that. I think there is an opportunity for Hillary to "reintroduce" herself to us. And who knows, she may be starting this process with ANDERSON COOPER 360. I look forward to your show tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Madeliene Bolden, Atlanta, Georgia : 7:48 PM ET
Steve/AC360:
It may not be that Bill Clinton will be a liability to Hillary Clinton in as much as Hillary may be a liability to the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party wants the next White House.

If for any reason the presidency is threatened because of her perceived character flaws or her husband's past misbehavior, Hillary could end up being an anchor in a sinking ship.

If doesn't make any difference if she is a woman or not. Can she take the Democratic Party to the White House?
Posted By Anonymous Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 7:48 PM ET
I am excited that Hillary is running, personally. It thrills me that we havea viable female candidate in the running for US President.

I'm excited about Barack Obama as well, and I can't wait to listen to what they have to say in the coming months as I decide who will get my vote.
Posted By Anonymous Kristen T, Birmingham, AL : 7:55 PM ET
View from Canada: I apologize for infringing foreign views on US Politics but: In my opinion, Hillary Clinton is just what America needs to bring an end to the Bush Disaster.

I have great admiration for Hillary. In contrast to Bush, Hillary carefully weighs her decisions and even invites other views from both sides of the aisle. She is interested and listens to the voice of her constituents, to the American people, which is a vast contrast to President Bush's Arrogance ie: "your either with us or against us" which didn't appear to matter, as he seemed diligent in doing it his way regardless. In my view, his attitude continues to foster international contempt versus support.

I feel, Bill Clinton was one of, if not the Greatest, Presidents of America. He is an extremely intelligent man, a savy politician, and an international beacon. I felt his impeachment dropped a dark cloud over the world.

I believe America would be Blessed given our current state of international disaster,to have Hillary Clinton as President. Hillary is an astute acedemic, extremely intelligent, politically savy, shines in both the legal and humanitarian fields,an international diplomat with America's best interests at heart.

I do not believe Hillary is in the race to gain power, accolades, or a place in the History Books of America. I believe wholeheartedly Hillary Clinton is in the race because she wants to win for the good of America. And I pray she will win the race as I believe it will also be for the good of all Nations around the world. Go Hillary!
Posted By Anonymous P. Murphy, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada : 8:06 PM ET
I agree with viewer who believes people who hold Bill against Hillary would find some reason to diss her no matter what. The country needs a new direction and what btter way to send the message that we are headed in a new direction to ourselves and the world than to elect a smart, experienced, person as President who also happens to be a woman.
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Scott, Moorestown, NJ : 8:08 PM ET
Well Steve, it's looking like the United States is shifting toward a monarchy while Great Britian is shifting away from it...

There is something to be said of a husband-wife team in the Oval Office. Bill's work ethic was impeccable, so it can be inferred that Hilary's is similar. Obviously there is some common ground between the two that will inevitably allow for similar practices and ideologies, so why not implement them?

If reverting the country back to the original Clinton Administration takes his wife's doing, then so be it. At least we know what is to come, rather than being surprised and angered in the process.
Posted By Anonymous Aruna Rao, Minneapolis, MN : 8:27 PM ET
I have always truly believed that Hillary was the driving force of the Clinton adminstration or "the woman behind (the success) of the man" Now it's time for her to stand up front. Yes, it's time for the woman to become the President, now we'll find out!
Posted By Anonymous Ratna, New York, NY : 8:31 PM ET
I think it's time for a change in this country and both Hillary and Bill have great ideas about how to change this country for the better. They make a great team and I'd love to see them both in office again. Additionally, I think that Hillary teamed up with Obama would be a winning ticket! Separately, not sure either one would be able to win.
Posted By Anonymous Suzanne Tampa, Fl : 8:38 PM ET
I don't think Hillary would be that bad, esp with Bill as an advisor. But sad to say, I think she's unelectable b/c there are way too many folks out there who hate the Clintons "just because." That's why I think Bill Richardson has a good shot at the nomination.
Posted By Anonymous Cathy, Oakland, CA : 8:46 PM ET
No more Bushes and no more Clintons, wake up America, we can't afford to make another mistake. We need a new face and new ideas. Perfect ticket in my opinion, Edwards/Obama 2008! Maybe in 2012 Nancy Pelosi can be the first woman president, don't vote for Hillary just to make history, our day will come.
Posted By Anonymous Marie, Clovis California : 8:56 PM ET
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