02:41 - Source: CNN
Bill Clinton makes first 2016 campaign trail appearance

Story highlights

Bill Clinton will hit the campaign trail for wife Hillary Clinton in January

To date he's played mostly a behind-the-scenes role

Machester, New Hampshire CNN —  

After holding former President Bill Clinton behind-the-scenes and on the fundraising trail of her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton announced Saturday night at a post-debate meet-and-greet that her husband will be hitting the campaign trail in January.

“Starting in January, I will have my not so secret weapon here,” Hillary Clinton said, referring to Bill Clinton, who stood on stage with her. “We are going to cover as much ground in New Hampshire as we possibly can, see as many people, thank everybody who is going to turn out and vote for me and try to get some more to join me.”

Multiple Clinton aides confirmed to CNN that the former president will start headlining events for the campaign in January, including solo events without his presidential candidate wife.

Bill Clinton: GOPers want to ruin Hillary

To date, Bill Clinton, whose love for the campaign trail is Democratic legend, has been largely a behind-the-scenes player during Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He started to raise money for the campaign in late 2015 and has traveled with his wife to big events, like Saturday’s debate in Manchester.

The former president has also looked to cast himself as a minimal player in the campaign, telling multiple interviewers that he is a “bit player” in the whole operation.

That isn’t the complete story, however. Bill Clinton occasionally advises his wife before big events – including October’s House committee key hearing on the 2012 attacks in Benghazi – and is known to check in with the campaign’s top aides.

“I’ve noticed that most successful presidents are those that get elected in a time where they are suited to govern and she’s the best qualified person for the time at the moment that I’ve ever seen,” he said during the post-debate event.

Bill Clinton weighs in on Wall Street attacks against his wife

“This is a very, very big deal, and I’m very grateful,” Bill Clinton added. “I was so proud of her tonight, but the proof is in the voting.”