May 1st, 2008
12:49 PM ET

Bill Clinton is everywhere - and nowhere

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/01/art.bill.clinton.ap.jpg caption="Former President Bill Clinton campaigns for his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, at a private residence in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, on Tuesday."]

Gary Tuchman
AC 360°  Correspondent

Check out this itinerary:

Apex, Sanford, Lillington, Dunn, Hope Mills, Lumberton, and Whiteville, North Carolina.

Morgantown and Clarksburg, West Virginia.

Whiting, Schererville, Crown Point and Michigan City, Indiana.

Thirteen different cities and three states, all in less than 36 hours for the spouse of a presidential candidate.

Of course, that spouse - Bill Clinton - is known for his energetic campaigning regiments, but this is still quite extreme.

We've spent the last two days with the 42nd president as he works to make his wife the 44th. And, what's notable is how carefully he is working to stay away from controversy.

He has barely made any references to Barack Obama, although he did have an implicit zinger when he told citizens of Whiteville, North Carolina, "She's going to end this thing roaring, and what are they going to say if she wins the popular vote? 'I'm sorry, we're going to give it to the caucus states that are going to vote Republican in November?"

He carried babies, signed autographs and posed for pictures. While many of the people who turn out at his rallies say they are mainly there to see a former president, he tries to be self-deprecating; saying he agrees with a comment made by his daughter Chelsea that her mom will make an even better president than her dad.

During our time with Mr. Clinton, he stays on message and his staff also works hard to avoid unintended controversy. 

At many other candidate campaign events, we mingle into the crowd after the speech with our cameras to get close-up shots of the "campaigner" - shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries with the people. But on this campaign swing, Clinton volunteers tell police to kick us out of the public "hand shaking" areas when they see us filming.

One volunteer even tells us the Secret Service says we can't be there. When I told a Secret Service agent this tale, he just smiled.

They've heard it all before in the heat of a sensitive campaign.

Program note: Watch Gary Tuchman's full report on Anderson Cooper 360°, tonight at 10 p.m. ET

Filed under: Barack Obama • Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. jimmy vekmen


    May 4, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  2. Amber

    My life was better in the 90's. I voted for Bill twice.
    Hillary is not Bill. Love Bill but Hillary is an even stronger person than he is.
    She kept her family together despite the rough 8 years in the White House.
    I'm kinda shocked she even wanted to go back considering.

    Whether you liked the man or not I dare anyone to honestly say that they weren't better off in the 90's.

    May 2, 2008 at 7:30 pm |
  3. Scot

    There should absolutely be a law against a former 1st Lady running for president. it's nothing more than a legal way for a former president to get an additional term. This should be amended under the Term Limits Law.

    May 2, 2008 at 7:29 pm |
  4. Peppita Poerwowidagdo

    At some point, I am really tired of seeing the Clintons again and again. I do think they are fine people, but seeing them again as commander in chief in la casa blanca is more than enough.
    Obama seems to be a fresher air to the american politics. But should McCain choose Condy as his running mate, now that's what I call a great complexion...

    May 2, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  5. Joe, South Bend IN

    Bill was a fine President, but seriously, how much does the guy lie? It's clear from the past and from the campaign that the Clintons, both Bill and Hillary, have serious honesty issues and will do whatever it takes to win (see numerous affairs and "sniper fire"). Is that a good thing? Do we want to reward people for so obviously saying whatver they think will move the polls?? I hope not to most Americans. But I'm worried, because the more negative and destructive Hillary has been the better she has done at the polls. It's a sad relfection on us, as Americans that we fall for it, laeling her a "fighter", when instead she's just being everythig we hate about politics, namely dishonest. We blame politicians for being liars, but it us, the public who are at fault for rewarding this type of politics. Let's move past the Clintons and stop yelling all the time.

    May 2, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  6. EJ

    "Well were would you suggest he lives if not in the white house when his wife is president. Duh"

    In the doghouse!

    (just kidding)

    I think people like Bill more than they like Hillary.

    "I have never understood the fervent dislike of all things Clinton that some Democrats have. "

    Bill always had a high approval rating among Democrats. He will be fine after this primary is over. When emotions are running high people are not too generous.

    May 2, 2008 at 11:55 am |
  7. Diane

    Let's hear about Paul vs. Clinton. Explain that one. Seems to me it should get as much playtime as Rev. Wright did on CNN.....it's only fair. Please, no more Clintons......the Clintons are for the Clintons, not the people. As for Bill, he will be checking out the interns.

    May 2, 2008 at 11:54 am |
  8. Yolanda Proctor

    Stop living in the past people. Bill Clinton's time in the White House is over. Yeah, he did some great things; however, he did somethings that really disgraced this country. Anyone is better than Bush or Bush II (McCain) but wake up. Hillary is not and will not be the savior of this country. She had 8 years to do great things, what did she do. I am so sick of people thinking that she is the answer to all our problems.

    May 2, 2008 at 11:43 am |
  9. Ron

    Let us focus on experience and substance. Obama is fluff. Hillary has seen how the executive branch of US operates, and the incredible amount of stress and pressure germaine to the Office of President. And by the way, Bill would be right across the room.

    May 1, 2008 at 11:36 pm |
  10. Dianne - Haslett, MI

    Let's not forget that America saw it's best years while Bill Clinton was President! He was an incredible advocate for EVERYONE then as is HILLARY now.

    May 1, 2008 at 9:49 pm |
  11. kevin lynch

    Bill Clinton was a great president. He was called the first "black president". Hillary and Bill love America! Neither one has a Racist bone in them! It is ashame that the majority of Black Americans are voting their skin color.
    Bill Clinton made enemies with some in his party such as Dick Morris. Dick Morris is a bafoon who got caught in a hooker scandel as he was displayed all over America explaining his foot fetish to a prostitute!
    Allot of politicians backing Barrack are terrorfied of loosing the black vote! Just ask Kerry and Kennedy. Here is Massachusetts where Hillary won big and Kerry,Kennedy and deval (superdewlegates are allowed to vote against the popular vote here!

    May 1, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  12. Annie Kate

    I have never understood the fervent dislike of all things Clinton that some Democrats have. Yes, Clinton was impeached but the important point is that he was not convicted. Its the equivalent of the grand jury saying there is enough evidence to warrant a trial but in the trial the person accused is found not guilty by the jurors.

    My family was better off in the Clinton years; what is more important the country was better off – when Clinton left office he left a surplus that Bush managed to eat up and Bush now leaves us with a huge deficit. I hope Hillary is our next President – it would be nice to feel like we could have a chance at being financially solvent again as well as having health care affordable to all.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 1, 2008 at 9:32 pm |
  13. kiesha johnson

    let's face it Obama is gonna be the next president of the United States! it's not hillary running 4 president it's bill ! There are enough powerful men in this country to run this country ! I'm a woman and i don't want a woman running this country! Hillary can't stand the heat those fake tears she cried, give me a break!

    May 1, 2008 at 9:23 pm |
  14. Kathy, Chicago

    I hope Bill doesn't run out of steam. I'm going to see him in Chicao , and I'm really looking forward to the event! I'm glad to see that the campaign is watching out for him to try and keep him out of trouble. He can be very colorful!

    May 1, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  15. Christina, Windber, PA

    I agree with the responder above, Ex President Bill Clinton deserves our respect.

    If you doubt that statement, let me put it this way: Are we better off now during the Bush administration than we were during the Clinton administration. The answer to me is an emphatic NO! Gas prices are astronomical and rising but the oil companies are making record profits. Terrorists have attacked us at home and .. oh yeah, I hope you're not trying to sell your house and make a profit or break even. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

    Bill Clinton would not be serving a third term as someone put it, he has his foundation and would continue with that. I'm sure the people in Africa who are receiving AIDS drugs at a deep discount have a much better opinion of him than those preceding mine.

    Hope Hillary is our next president. Maybe she will say anything to gain the White House, but she is no different than Obama, McCain or anyone else running for the office.

    May 1, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
  16. Larry

    Gary, this is almost as fascinating as the debate on ufos 🙂

    May 1, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  17. Sue Polinick/Pennsylvania

    Dis'n the "small" states again. Caucas states will still vote in the general election.
    Texas/Ohio/and now even PA have seen the real her.........................Not Bill.................She knows those rural and older voters respond to him.....they sure wouldnt respond to her if she stood alone...............

    People you cant go back to the 1990's

    May 1, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  18. Jolene

    Bill's going to be in Michigan City? Perhaps I will go. It is interesting that some people are going to his events only because they want to meet a former President. I have to admit, that same thought went through my head!

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    May 1, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  19. Tony

    Bill is a big disappointment. He and Hillary did think that she was the apparent next president. They are more concerned about history as the first women and first spouse as president. This is about the best candidate to represent the USA. That is Barak Obama. Bill and Hillary obviously will say anything to be elected, including lying. There I said it. Roxbury, MA

    May 1, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  20. Too Much Drama!!

    Bill keeping away from controversy? Hmmmmm – sounds controversial to me

    May 1, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  21. AZM

    Wow... I read this board and am amazed...

    This was your Royal Family just a few years ago...

    The loyalty of the democrats is astounding!

    May 1, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  22. Debbie, NJ

    Hillarious Clinton! I like that. She thinks just because Obama hasn't bought up her and Bills dirt that its been forgotten. THis isn't the senate seat she's running for. She said I've been thru it before. Not on a national level. This is why the DNC and the superdelegates are leaving or not supporting her. Why Obama was quiet about her others were researching and she has stuff that would make Rezno, Ayers and Wright look lame. The RNC know it that's why they want Obama out of the way. They're waiting to slaughter her.

    May 1, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  23. Cindy Georgia

    Maybe he's nowhere to be found because Hillary is doing the lying for him?
    Hillary's stump speech is telling the people of Indiana that Bush was responsible for a Plant moving to China and in reality the President that moved the jobs and all the technology she speaks of was her husband Bill Clinton.

    Please get the truth out. She just said the same lie on C-Span does anyone care about her LIES!!!!!

    Evan Bayh was on Morning Joe this morning and neither Joe Scarborough nor Mika Brezinski even asked him about this story. How can these people be taken seriously if they can't even keep up with the news.

    It's obvious from today's no substance interview that the opinions they offer every morning are not informed opinions. I hope ABC's Mr Tapper will do a follow-up on this story where he tells us all what Mr. Bayh and Ms. Clinton have to say about this. LIES LIES AND MORE LIES

    May 1, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  24. Jay, Denver CO

    Bill is working hard to stay away from controversy?!

    ...so they don't let him talk to women anymore??

    May 1, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  25. Susan


    If President Bill Clinton could have had a third term himself, he would have been glad to take it. I also believe he would have been re-elected. This is one way for him to get back to Pennsylvania Ave.

    President Bill Clinton was not going to watch while his wife ran for president. He always was most comfortable out among the people, up close and personal. He was after all, the people's president.

    Even though he has been relagated to small towns and rural areas by the campaign, this is were Senator Clinton's base is ( not all but
    a lot ). His appeal to these voters is still very strong. She is taking all of the advantages that she can get in this very tight contest. She needs to win the popular vote to increase her chances with the superdelagates.

    Phoenixville, PA

    P.S. I live in the burbs of Philadelphia,PA. I would have voted for him again, if I could have.

    May 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  26. Harvey Lavoie

    Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillarious Clinton are Birdsof a Feather, that is......, Habitual liars. Not too long ago, the cable news media labeled Hillary as being a Serial Exaggerator, remember? It is my hope that CNN Insiders NOW STOP their subordinates from verbally portraying the network's race bias through their own, slanted political coverage, which favors Hillarious Clinton.
    The recent ABC news poll was fabricated and is false. Those subodinates should be fired from ABC, and the SPONSERS should demand they be fired for depicting a news poll with false results.
    The truth is, When Barack Obama gains the Democratic Nomination, then the Hillary Clinton supporters WILL STILL VOTE FOR BARACK OBAMA, in November(2008); These Hillary Clinton supporters WILL VOTE FOR BARACK OBAMA, because not only will loser, Hillary Clinton, urge them to, but her supporters WILL NOT SACRIFICE all the potential, democratic policy gains (such as, affordable health insurance, and an end to the USA's involvement in the Iraqi Civil War), for their bitterness over Hillary's losing the Democratic Nomination.

    May 1, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  27. Chris

    Bill Clinton is "moving the goal post" again regarding his comments about the caucus states.

    Life for Bill must be hell with Hillary. I expect Bill to augment his sercret service detail once Hillary loses. Hillary will throw the kitchen at Bill.

    May 1, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  28. P. Vandenberg

    Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives while he was a sitting President. There should be a law forbidding an Impeached President or his immediate relatives from running for the Presidency again.

    May 1, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  29. Jo Ann


    Happy May Day!

    It sounds like you have been on a whirlwind tour following the former President!

    This is exactly what Bill Clinton should have been doing all along. If he had, maybe the Democratic nomination would be in a different place today. There is no doubt about it; Clinton is very charismatic when he wants to be.

    After all that has happened I can’t say I blame them for being cautious, although if they knew you they would know they have nothing to fear.

    I look forward to your report tonight.

    See you later,
    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    May 1, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  30. Dee from Canada

    Go Bill! I sure would go out to listen to you or meet you and I would vote for your wife if I could. I sure hope CNN can show you in a positive light for once tonight, you deserve some respect and you have the right to support your spouse like any other candidate. Why haven't we seen any interviews with Bill on CNN like Michelle last night??

    May 1, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  31. Esteban, Daly City, CA

    Thank you Bill for calling it what it is. Is the candidate of choice in the democratic states is going to prevail, or the DNC and the Superdelagates are going to "GIVE" the nomination to the caucus state winner who in November will undoubtedly lose because those states in the general will vote REPUBLICAN. Is Obama a Republican candidate? It sure looks like it since he has received all their support in red states, or they did it because they know he is not electable and they can beat him easily in the general.

    Obama's record: He was elected to the Illinois Senate by disqualifying his opponents so he ran unopposed. He was elected to the US Senate the same way, except that this time the repuplicans ran Alan Keys against him with about a month to go before the election and of course Obama won. One year later he announces he is running for president. What has he done to be even considered as a serious candidate? He is a typical overambitious politician who is in a personal crusade for power and personal gain. He doesn't believe what he says. He only cars about the results therefore he tells people what they want to hear and everyone seems to be buying it. Are we running short on brain matter or one third of the polulation of this Country is brain dead.

    May 1, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  32. Dee from Canada

    Canadians have lots of respect for this former president even if he did sign NAFTA. All presidents have made their mistakes. It would be an extra bonus to have this former president associated with the White House again if the American people are big enough and smart enough to do it.

    May 1, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  33. Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA

    If Hillary Clinton can't keep Bill Clinton reined in during a primary campaign, you know Bill isn't going to take a back seat should Hillary make it to the White House.

    The Clinton lust for power is matched only by the Bush family. Both will do anything to gain power, influence and fortune.

    It is time for the American people to end the Bush/Clinton dynasties once and for all.

    May 1, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  34. Jory Lyons

    Everywhere he goes he shows that he is an elitest by referring to the middleclass as "Walmart Democrats". Sorry Bill, we cannot all be Gucci-Prada elitests.

    May 1, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  35. Cindy

    Bill is a force to contend with for sure. He is great at what he does putting Hillary out there but he is also great at sticking his foot in his mouth. Seems as if they have a tight reign on him this go round. Looking forward to your report tonight.

    Cynthia, Ga.

    May 1, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  36. Rob -BC Canada

    Hey,I am still wondering how your husband takes $800,000 from a Columbian Free Trade lobby and then you tell the voters you will never support a Columbian Free Trade deal.Bill must be one heck of a good guy if people just cant wait to give him huge sums of cash for nothing.

    May 1, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  37. demo

    Well were would you suggest he lives if not in the white house when his wife is president. Duh

    May 1, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  38. Denise, Nebraska

    Jerk! Everytime he opens his mouth, any chance there was of our "caucus" state making a change goes out the window. No way do I want this yahoo anywhere near the white house ever again. At least his daughter knows what she's talking about.

    May 1, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  39. jt

    Good for the President.

    He got to be careful otherwise they call him racist again.

    Hillary 08!!!

    May 1, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  40. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    There is one thing for sure, President Clinton is giving his all to help get Hillary elected. He may have become a tad too helpful at times, but I'm sure he believes he's helping.
    All the candidates, McCain, Obama, and Clinton are in this race to win. It's a shame that many people can't see, that these three people are not some kind of enemy. They are Americans first, and a politician second. Yes, it's a race, but in the end, whoever crosses the finish line will represent All Americans. Sometimes I think we forget that. How many days to November? Batten down the hatches.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    May 1, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  41. Kent, Illinois

    Bill knows the people are there to see him and not to hear about Hillary. Obama would have a hard time if Bill was able to run..... even with his compulsion to cheat and all his baggage. I will vote for Obama because frankly I don't like Hillary and in the end most don't. it isn't about her policies or promises. It is in the end about the laws of attraction. People like Obama and they don't like Hillary. They can do a makeover on her every day and it will not make a difference. We feel her negativity and cannot identify with it. And also, can feel Obama's positiveness and great flow of energy and WANT to identify with it.

    May 1, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  42. Y

    Correction. Bill Clinton is the 42nd President. It almost seems unconstitutional to have his wife give him a third term. It would be a rude awakening to see the Clintons being sworn in again. Lord have mercy.

    May 1, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  43. carmen

    He would be quite the person to manage on this campaign. He doesn't seem to like the back seat and he can't be seen to be in the driver's seat either. And he could hardly be told to get out of the car. Hillary's chosen partner, over and over. So it's all fair.

    May 1, 2008 at 1:09 pm |
  44. Debbie

    You are RIGHT! Clinton is everywhere and he is NO WHERE! Even fighting a loosing battle.

    May 1, 2008 at 1:01 pm |
  45. Doug Pierson Tohatchi, NM

    Come on folks. Do we really want Bill in the White House again?

    May 1, 2008 at 12:55 pm |