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Monday, May 14, 2007
Pondering Clinton's political shadow...
Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton is collecting endorsements for her presidential campaign as if the election is next month: the governor of Maryland, the National Women's Political Caucus, a pile of elected officials from around the country.

But now her Web site features the one endorsement that undeniably outshines all the others. Former President Bill Clinton, her husband, has recorded an almost five-minute video message in which he praises his wife's life and accomplishments.

No surprise. Any spouse worth the title should be expected to support the aspirations of a partner.

But Bill Clinton is not just any spouse. He is the embodiment of the best days many Democrats have known vis-a-vis the White House. Truth be told, in the private moments of hardcore Democrats, many of them would give anything to be able to vote for Bill Clinton again.

Which puts Hillary Clinton in a strange spot. Even her enemies would have to admit that, one way or another, she has risen to a place of prominence in American politics and has pursued legislation and deal-making on her own.

So how can Hillary Clinton best make use of her husband's influence without getting lost in his political shadow?

-- By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent
Posted By CNN: 4:14 PM ET
  27 Comments
"So how can Hillary Clinton best make use of her husband's influence without getting lost in his political shadow?"

Tom, there are worse political shadows to 'get lost' in. For instance, George Bush's, just to name one looming example.
Posted By Arachnae, Sterling VA : 4:24 PM ET
Bill better do at least a 5 minute campaign shpeal--he owes her BIG time. I'm sure that won't be the last of it.
Posted By Barbara Kozlowski, Phoenix AZ : 4:27 PM ET
Hi Tom.
I don't think Hillary Clinton can do anything to get out of Bill Clinton's shadow. Granted, she's worked very hard trying, but it always comes down to Bill's popularity and on her own I don't feel she's electable. With the USA in this dire state of a terrible war, seemingly unwinable, I don't think Hillary on her own merits could handle being President and would therefore be even deeper into the shadow of her husband.
Posted By Bev Ontario Canada : 4:46 PM ET
I'd like to vote for Bill Clinton, again, but since I can't, I am supporting Hillary Clinton.

There are a lot of good democratic candidates running for president. I honestly believe any of them would serve the country better than George Bush has as President. But, if a vote for Hillary will get Bill Clinton back in the White House, whatever influence he may have on her, I am going to vote for her.
Posted By Linda, Boulder, Colorado : 5:10 PM ET
Hi Tom,
I believe that Hillary and Bill can stand alone and own their own two feet politically. The good news is, they are a couple and you know what they say about two heads being better than one.~
Hillary was a strong first lady and Bill will be an even stonger first man? gentleman? What will we call Bill if Hillary is elected to Presidency?
I like this scenario but Hillary has some work to do in my opinion. She is focused on the war and that's good. I want to hear more about global warming and what she is going to do about it.
To: Hillary Clinton~ You need to lighten up on the gay issues. They have the right to the pursuit of happiness just like anyone else. In other words, they should be able to get married, have families, recieve benefits, etc.

" I ask you to join a re~United States. We need to empower our people so they can take more responsibility for their own lives in a world that is ever smaller, where everyone counts. . We need a new spirit of community, a sense that we are all in this together, or the American Dream will continue to whither. Our destiny is bound up with the destiny of every other American."
Bill Clinton~
Posted By Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX : 5:23 PM ET
Hiliary is her own woman and doesn't need her husband's endorsements. I surely don't want the first female president riding in on her husband's reputation. If anything she needs to break away from all the negatives of Bill's personal endeavors. Personally, I think the positives of his administration were due in large part to Mrs. Clinton's intelligence and influence anyway, not his. Let us see what she can do on her own as a candidate, not as Bill's wife, and let her prove her own worth in this race. She deserves at least that much from everyone.
Posted By Tammy C., Berwick, LA : 5:27 PM ET
What will Mr. Clinton be called if Mrs. Clinton wins? Will he be the first man? He's still an ex President but when someone shouts "President Clinton" no one will know which one will show up. ;)

But seriously, she is a person separate and distinct, she won't get lost in his shadow, granted some people will see a lack of morals by association but they should value her on her own merits.

I just heard a joke:
The definition of a Canadian, an unarmed American with free health care.....hahahahaha hee hee... :P
Posted By Em, Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 5:30 PM ET
Hi Tom, Certainly it will help Senator Clinton that her husband,a former U.S. President is singing her praises. However, it seems like it would also be good for her to align or compare/contrast herself with female leaders from other countries to emphasize their successes, as well as her own.It could be leaders like Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Marie Segolene Royal of France and President Mary McAleese of Ireland. The highest number of female world leaders at the same time is approximately thirteen.It seems like a relevant subject to discuss.
Posted By Carol B., Frederick, MD : 5:38 PM ET
Tom,

Having Bill in the wings is something that Hillary cannot get away from. A friend and I were just discussing this the other day. The Clinton legacy is a double edged sword and it may be impossible for her to be judged solely on her merits. There are those who would vote for her only because of Bill; and those who would not vote for her only because of Bill. As much as I want to have a woman President, I think the baggage from the past may be too much to overcome. Time will tell.
Posted By Charlotte D, Stockton CA : 5:40 PM ET
I would vote for Socks the cat if it would get President Bill Clinton back in the White House. His morals are no worse than many other Washingtonians; he just had a rich man willing to throw a bunch of money into hounding him until he caught him. Ironically, on the international scene, he is even bigger than he was before.

O
Posted By Christina, Windber, PA : 6:03 PM ET
Tom,
I have always been aware of Bill's presence, in the political struggle, before, during and after Hillary became involved in politics in her own right. Both understand his popularity and presidential ability. I for one believe he will give advice only when it is requested, and do it with the same integrity as when he was in office.

It isn't hard to see that Hillary is a strong woman, with a strong will. She stood with Bill in difficult times, she takes no pushing around from anyone. Why does this scare the devil out of men and women of this country? She will be in no one's shadow, and I wouldn't try to pull the same stunts the current administration has if she's in office, someone is likely to be OUT of office in a heartbeat.

Wr need a real government, no matter party affiliation to bring America BACK!

MAGGIE
Posted By MAGGIE, Grain Valley, MO : 6:29 PM ET
Why are people so desperate for a woman to be President? I have nothing against a woman being President, however it's wrong to think that a woman can do better than a male President.

Mrs. Clinton worked for the most corrupt law firm in the country. She took on one main job as First Lady - to propose a health care system that would work; that was the biggest disaster of the whole eight years Clinton was in office. I don't see any financial smarts coming from her, neither do I see any good having Bill around as First Man except for some excellent parties!
Posted By xtina - chicago IL : 6:42 PM ET
She will stay in his shadow as long as people won't be able to let her shine on her own. Yes,Bill Clinton made a major impact during his presidency and still is with his foundation and all the conferences he makes.
But she stood her ground as the first lady,she is now as a Senator. And yes,they are married,but they are two different individuals. She deserves the chance to prove herself without people always referencing to her husband. But it is a reality that many of the votes she will get will really be for Bill Clinton,getting him back to the White House by any means.
To Carol B.,Frederick,MD: I really think she needs to stand on her own,not comparing herself to female leaders. But yes we need to celebrate the fact that more women are coming to power. Personnaly,the President of Chili,Michelle Bachelet is an example of courage and perseverance. The life and adversities that that woman had to overcome,and did,is an inspiration.

Joanne R.
Laval Quebec
Posted By Joanne R.Laval Quebec : 8:26 PM ET
Some of ya'll are pretty high on Hilary. I liked her husband better. I won't vote for someone simply beacuse they have breasts-that's not enough of a reason. I would love to see a woman as President, but it has to be the right woman and I don't think she's the one. She openly criticizes the Iraq war,(ALOT) but she voted for it. Obama, however, had the balls NOT to vote for it. I think he has my vote (at least for now).
Posted By Debbie, Denham Springs, LA : 8:30 PM ET
The shadow Hillary really needs to escape is her own: she needs to start standing up for what she really believes in and stop trying to placate the masses. And, when it comes to Iraq: she has said way too little, way too late.

On the surface, I seem like just the kind of person who should fit in the stereotype of a "Hillary voter": I am youngish, female, and from NYC originally. Plus, I even went to the same college that she did. But she will most likely NOT be getting my vote in the primary. Although I would love to have a female and/or minority president, it has to be the right person. And I am much more likely to vote for the person who will do the most for those groups (and everyone else), and right now I am leaning towards Edwards, who has done much in terms of poverty.

My problem with Obama is the same as with Clinton: I want a president, not a politician. I love a lot of what Richardson has done in terms of actually going to Darfur and also taking action on the environment, but he has said some things over the years that make me wonder exactly how equal he sees us.

On the Republican side, the only one who I can tolerate is Huckabee (even though I TOTALLY disagree with his politics and would never vote for him, at least he seems to come by his positions honestly, and I can respect that). Huckabee said something about how he is opposed to abortion, but he also was pushing for more education dollars because "life starts at conception, but it doesn't stop there." So many conservatives seem to forget that. After continually defending the misguided adventures in Iraq and speaking before right-wing, hate-filled groups he used to shun, McCain gets no respect from me. And, if today is Monday, what is Giuliani's position on gay marriage and abortion? Not to mention, as a native New Yorker, I remember the pre-9/11 Giuliani, and he wasn't all that pleasant (and would further complicate the international relationships we need to rebuild due to his complete lack of tact and class). Personally, since I would like a moderate Republican to win the primary as you never know who would win the national, the ideal Repub candidate would be Rep Chris Shays of CT, who I got to know during the Katrina hearings: whatever your political persuasion, you have to admire his appropriately-placed outrage for the way the Katrina debacle went down. Okay, I still wouldn't vote for him, but at least I wouldn't have to go into as much of a serious mourning period as I did when Bushie Jr. got elected...excuse me, had the Supreme Court declare him the winner.

Let's face it: no politician can fit the bill for everything we would like. But go to events in your state and visit candidates' Web sites. Don't just read the newspapers' lists: make your own list of pros and cons about where candidates stand. Pay attention to their actions, both past and present. Contact campaign offices to push for them to publicize specific stands and, if you are lucky enough to question candidates directly, ask them for SPECIFICS (what specifically they will do on issues important to you and by what specific date they will do it).

And force politicians to say what they believe in rather than give half-truths to placate different audiences!

P.S. Em- I liked the joke, although it is kinda sad, too.
Posted By Norah, West Chester, PA : 9:08 PM ET
Mr. Foreman,
I believe that Senator Clinton doesn't have to worry about being in the political shadow of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. President Clinton is a vastly popular political figure, however, Senator Clinton has shown New York and the American people that she can get the job done when it comes to doing what is best for her state. The people from New York love her, not because of her husband but because of what she has done for the state. I think that the best way that she can use her husband as a political asset without being in his shadow is by merely using her husband as an adviser, show the American people that she values the knowledge that he has acquired over the course of his years as President, but that she is her own woman.
Posted By Jessica Ashline, Bourbonnais Illinois : 10:08 PM ET
This is one time I would really like to be an American! I wouldn't be able to get to the poles fast enough to vote for Hillary!

There are many Presidential Candidates who could do much worse than be in Bill Clinton's Shadow!

In my view, Hillary has no shadow. She brings light and a breath of fresh air to even the darkest corners of the World. She is a woman of strength, conviction, compassion, political savy, international diplomacy, a First Lady who was intrinsically involved in making America a much better nation, an accomplished and admired Senator, a Great and proven Humanitarin, a woman of credability and focus. They are both Great Leaders on their own individual merits and proved that already.

Regarding Bill's faux peaus sp? - next to George's catastrophe's is like comparing a shadow to a permanent eclipse of the moon ! Bill's Baggage?! Take a look at Iraq, Lebannon, Afghanistan or better yet New Orleans and than speak to baggage! One over night bag is a long way from Total Destruction and Global Desception!

Getting two Clintons and two Great Leaders for the price of one is a deal no American should pass up!
Please, Let There Be Light and Truth! Vote Hillary and the Save the World!
Posted By Tricia Charlottetown PEI Canada : 10:46 PM ET
Many still likes President Clinton and knows he's a smart leader, so he'll always be overshadowing everybody. She shouldn't worry about that. She should learn from Al Gore's mistake in 2000 for not using President Clinton enough, which was a factor in his lost.
Posted By Jason P., Houston, TX : 12:42 AM ET
Hi Tom,
Somehow 2008 seems a long, long time away. Something tells me a shadow will be the least of anyone's worries. Unless the shadow overshadows...Oh yes, I can see a long, long, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Politics will really be raw by then...Crazy, beyond a "shadow" of a doubt. Take Care
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 12:54 AM ET
Reply to blogger Jess from Bourbonnais:

"Mrs. Clinton has shown she can get the job done"-

I must disagree with that. Since you did not provide any examples of what she's done for NY, may I point out she has not had any big piece of legislation put through in her two terms! Senators typically make terrible Presidents because they haven't run anything. Some believe her sudden move to NY was a stepping stone to her candidacy. That's known as carpet-bagging. She wants to take (more) taxes from you and redistribute them to able-bodied people on welfare. That's socialism. It's the opposite of , say, a candidate such as Mr. Guiliani, who plans to take able-bodied people off welfare and invite them to work.
Posted By xtina - chicago IL : 12:23 PM ET
So you're telling me the Democratic nomination will come down to a battle of endorsements.

Bill Clinton v. Oprah

I sense a Saturday Night Live spoof coming up.
Posted By Kimberly - Seaford, NY : 12:24 PM ET
So how can Hillary Clinton best make use of her husband's influence without getting lost in his political shadow?

In my opinion, she would be best served by keeping his involvement limited and letting her own attributes shine.

Trouble is, we don't really know what here attributes are beyond what bill has done and how she had supported him.

I think it's commendable that she stayed with the lout after his liason with a devil in a blue dress [if you'll pardon the comparison], but that says little if anything about her ability to lead as the most powerful singular representative of our government.

It's good that he helped open her campaign. His next showing should be at least 9 mo's from now, AFTER we've gotten a good idea of Hillary's own thoughts and determinations on genuine issues. He could then make an appearance just after one of her major debates. The only other times he should be seen and heard are at her [possible] Inauguration and if someone attacks her character.

Other than that, it needs to be the hillary show; not the billary show.

I wish her all the best of luck, but she only gets my vote if she deals with the issues that actually matter. No more of this disregard, deny, and downplay strategy the Bush administration has been clinging to, and no flippant remarks.
Posted By James Foley Kamiah, Idaho : 4:48 PM ET
Another person here brought up a decent point; why is everyone excited about a woman president? I mean, I know it would be the first, but there are also concerns that come along with that.

For instance, will she play up the woman's point of view at the expense of men, or in the realization that men as well have come a long way? Will she let that interfer with her duties? Can she get her point of view across with sincerity? Will she be able to stand up to opposing men and women in order to get the job done right? Will her presidential input be useful and genuine, or just a reflection of the canned feminist gutter-humor that's become popular?

Will she as well, be willing and able to find solutions to problems quickly, and be able to manage the goings on of the country? Will she be able to reconcile, not only with the American people, but with the world at large, the fate of Iraq and the soldiers sent there? Will she be able to admit her mistakes openly and honestly instead of insulting the peoples intelligence?

Having been at the heart of financial scandals, how is she more qualified than others, who have not met with such scandals, to bolster or safeguard our economy against foreign interferance and exploitation? Does she know the difference between legal and illegal immigration? Will she choose to recognize that difference or ignore it? What type of example will she set, both as a woman, and as one of the most powerful leaders of the world? Will she be prickly or prone to fits of Bravado and overinflated ego? Will she act on bitterness and resentment towards countries like Iran and N. Korea? Will she bring a certain sense of calm and quiet confidence to her station? Will she be firm, but fair? Does she know the meaning of words like nobility and high-mindedness, and can she adhere to the principles and the spirit as well as the word of the consitution and our laws, and does she recognize that she serves at the pleasure of the people? Is she aware that we may revoke said privilige at any time?

These are just some of the questions we want answered of anyone seeking the office; why should she be treated any different, simply because she has a different set of body parts? The female perspective is only slightly different from a man's, and in no way different in ways that count. She'll do the job right or she won't get to do the job.
Posted By James Foley Kamiah, Idaho : 5:10 PM ET
Reply to Xtina of Chicago

I have to disagree with your disagreement. And I apologize for my lack of examples on what the Senator has done for New York, however I would like to give those now.
Senator Clinton worked for New York's affected by 9/11, in order to secure funds for victims families and in order to rebuild. She has also continued to allocate the resources necessary to continue to protect not only New York communities but also ensure stronger homeland security through the entire nation. As for your statement about her "carpet-bagging" you can't necessarily say that that is what she has done. She served as First Lady of the United States, did it ever occur to anyone that maybe she feel that she can contribute more to the people of the United States by becoming a U.S Senator? She has served two terms. I could understand if you made the "carpet bagging" argument about Senator Obama who has only been a Senator since Jan. of 2005, but not about Senator Clinton.
You also mentioned the fact that "Senators typically make terrible Presidents because they haven't run anything." However I would just like to point out that they represent the voice of the people of the state; and further more since you mentioned Mr. Giuliani, what makes him such a great canidate for the Presidency, he has after all only run a city.
Posted By Jessica Ashline, Bourbonnais Illinois : 5:13 PM ET
To Joanne R.,of Quebec-
While I agree with you that Clinton has to run on her own merits, it isn't uncommon for politicians to quote or align themselves with other successful politicians(as long as they're not competitors.) I'm not sure what politicians do in Quebec except they probably don't all drink Molson :) I know my family and I enjoyed a trip there when we visited St. Anne de Beaupre, Montmorency Falls and dined at Le Champlain. Take care.
Posted By Carol B., Frederick, MD : 7:28 PM ET
I agree with "financially, all Hillary will do is take more taxes"

That's moving money around the various agencies; but she is not a leader by example. She's just a type A pushy person, who happens to be a woman and is using her gender instead of any ideals she has to run for office. Bill will be an asset, though, and Hillary will be your 08 Dem. nominee.
Posted By DH - Lake Barrington, IL : 2:02 AM ET
To Carol B. Frederick,
The political history of Quebec is so emotionnaly charged that's it's not even funny anymore. Whether they aligned themselves with past politicians or not,people and even in their own parties,they have a field day. I think any politician,from any country,should have at least a tiny chance of making it on his/her own merit. But with people always comparing....By the way,we don't sit around drinking beer:-Dand I think Molson was sold to the Americans. Heck!we are selling our biggest companies to the U.S.!!I am glad you had a good time here. We do know how to welcome people and the sights are beautiful. Take care.
Joanne R.
Laval QUebec
Posted By Joanne R.Laval quebec : 11:28 AM ET
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