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November 17th, 2008
09:42 PM ET

Evening Buzz: What about Bill?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/11/17/clinton.cabinet/art.clinton.gi.jpg caption="Bill Clinton's extensive global ties could cause conflict if Hillary Clinton is appointed as secretary of state."]Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Could former president Bill Clinton's global connections cause a conflict of interest for his wife Hillary if she becomes Secretary of State?

Some political analysts say yes.

"I think that he knows a lot of world leaders, and he has informal conversations with those leaders, and those will be conversations that the (Obama) administration will not be able to track nor can they control," said Jeanne Cummings of The Politico.

There's also the money trail.

Mr. Clinton's foundation raised $81 million in contributions last year alone, some from foreign interests. The foundation does a lot to battle AIDS, malaria and climate change.

The former president says he's been on the lookout for any potential conflict between a donor's intentions and Hillary's job as a U.S. Senator.

"If there is even any kind of question we try to do exhaustive vetting. I can recall some money we haven't taken, and also some we did, but only after more than a year of efforts to make sure that everything was O.K. there," Mr. Clinton told Philanthropy.com.

Of course, the Clinton connections could also be a big bonus for Obama.

What do you think? Could the Clintons help or hurt the Obama administration?

Also tonight, we'll have the latest on the wildfires burning in Southern California. About 1,000 homes have been destroyed along with 41,000 acres. Thousands of people have had to flee.

All that and more tonight on AC360°.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Renee Dodson

    In these times of great anxiety and concern in our country, I believe that Obama must surround himself with seasoned leaders such as Hillary. You are only as great as the team you surround yourself with. Obama is a wise man to put those in leadership positions that do not need "Babysitting" as such, he can concentrate on the most pressing matters our country faces.

    Bill Clinton should and will step aside for that sake of our country. He is also a wise man that wants what is best.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  2. Ray Leonard

    I think it is time for Hillary to come into her own. She proved she is independent during the campaign.

    It is up to her to step forward and say I am my own woman. I value Bill's experience but he has his businesses and the foundation and I have my career, which is a duty to serve my country and its people regardless of Bill's interests.

    She does that then she has my vote.

    She will be terrific as Sec State.

    Ray

    November 17, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  3. JoeD

    Hillary Rodham Clinton is very well deserving of the position of Sec of State. She is more than qualified and will be a great asset to the Obama administration. she is will be more effective than gen colin powell and condaleeza rice. plus, bill clinton will be a great asset to establish our standing in the world stage. it has been greatly tarnished by the bush administration with an unpopular war and bullying tactics toward smaller countries.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:33 pm |
  4. Greg Hodges

    Barack Obama has obviously learned his history lessons well. From Lincoln, F.D.R., and Kennedy; if you want to be remembered as a great President, you surround yourself with the Best and Brightest! Lincoln had Seward, F.D.R. had Marshall, Jack had Bobby. I could not think of anyone better suited to continue the int`l. goodwill brought about by Obama`s win on Nov.4; then Hilary Clinton. While the Clinton has her critics; she and Bill are respected around the world. Let the naysayers bleat on. They are the same geniuses that gave Obama no chance to win in the first place. Old Chinese proverb: "Those who say that something is impossible should not interupt the man who is accomplishing it."

    November 17, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  5. Bob

    I don't understand the sensationalism around this topic. If Bill's work was such a conflict of interest problem, why wasn't Hilary precluded from running for President? It seems like the media is reaching to make an issue where none, or very little of one, exists.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  6. Ray Leroux

    The Clinton's legacy regarding money. be it personal or political is shady at best. It shouldn't take much vetting to disqualify Hillary from asuming the SoS position

    November 17, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  7. J. Meyer

    Re: Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State –

    If Hilliary had won the presidency, wouldn't there have been an issue with Bill Clinton and his contacts/work and did anyone ever think about this when she was in the process of being nominated? Why would it be different if she accepts the Secretary of State position? There would still be a conflict of interest with Clinton's contacts/work.

    I think she would be an excellent choice for this position and it is too bad that she is linked to her husband's issues and can't accept a position on her own merits.

    J. Meyer

    November 17, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  8. Amy

    President-Elect Obama is a very smart man. Bil Clinton is probably even smarter. . .and wiser. I would say more power to Obama to have the Clinton's in his house. You never know when Obama might need a favor or two. And I don't think either Hilary or Bill would steer him wrong.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:19 pm |
  9. Linda Grant-Scott

    Washington is FULL of complications...Hillary is not without her's and her husband's personal and professional complications. So is Wall Street, AIG, the Detroit-3, Citi, the Oil companies guilty in complicity of possibly the same; and the list goes on and on...the question is: Would Hillary be a competent emmisary with regard to our international communications, negotiations and a positive, as well as a strong and unrelentless liaison for the upcoming administration and our needed NEW international associations with World Leaders?

    November 17, 2008 at 10:18 pm |
  10. Sue Wedde

    We need all the help we can get! If that means that Bill will offer advice while Hillary engages in a post, then by all means, let us hear what he suggests. He has experience and wisdom. Today, with the challenges we are facing, we need all the experience that he brings to the table. What is the difference in wives who offer suggestions to their husbands? In this case, the husband has more experience, so what is wrong with that?

    November 17, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  11. Joanne in Ontario Canada

    Hillary Clinton will be a great asset to Barack's team. Americans are very fortunate to have Barack as their president to be I predict that he will pull America out of this 'Depression". Canadians for Barack Obama:).

    November 17, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  12. Sumaya Conners

    Hillary Clinton would make a great Secretary of State. She is intelligent, compassionate, loyal, has her own mind which is good to equalize debates and has great global experience. We need someone who knows what they are doing unlike the present SOS who seems to blunder from one situation to the next just mimicking what Bush and Cheney want her to do and say.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  13. John Cleek

    What about Bill?
    With Bill we got Hillary, thank goodness we did. The world is a better place for her having been the most inspirational and effective First Lady, at least since Eleanor.

    And so, yes, with Hillary we get Bill, thank goodness. What an incredible impact he has had for good in the world since leaving the White House. Even the most ardent republicans acknowledge that Bill Clinton is probably the best known and most admired man in the world today. In fact I think the only challenge is to figure out who would be number two.

    So, if Barack Obama wants Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State, he should not hesitate to make the appointment. She would probably be confirmed unanimously by the Senate, and would help to insure that he will not only be a good president - he will be a great one.

    Instant credibility and respectability - enormously important qualities in achieving successful resolution of such urgent conflicts and the Arab/Israeli claims to the same small piece of land.

    Absolutely, go for it!

    November 17, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  14. Rosina

    They can hurt the Obama administration, there is potential for too much conflict of interest.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  15. Ken

    I think Bill will cost Hillary another position. He's a
    Big problem for Obama. If
    she takes the job, then
    Obama needs to get an
    electric dog collar for Bill !
    That's why she didn't get the node for VP !

    November 17, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  16. drew abrams

    What? So we might give preferential treatment to certain nations that are willing to help out with global causes? what could be so wrong with that? i can understand these issues being considered as part of the vetting process, but i highly doubt that anyone could be seriously critical of these facts. it would probably be in all of our best interests if she were to become secretary of state and bill clintons international foundation can only be an asset as far as i'm concerned.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  17. joe

    I do not think Obama should appoint Hillary Sec State, because of Bill.There are too many problems with him overshadowing her and Obama

    November 17, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  18. Terry P

    Hillary as Secretary of State? Hell yes! I don't much care who donated what to President Clinton's library. What I do care about is a woman who is popular and respected around the world, who is articulate and smart, and who will bring to the US the global credibility it enjoyed last... hmm. let me think... oh yeah, during the Clinton years. The other candidates we've heard mentioned aren't in the same league. Offer the job? He should BEG her to take it.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:15 pm |
  19. Tom McAffee

    I worry about Bill's engagement with so many world leaders and the potential it would provide for conflicts of interest that might get in the way of making the best policy.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  20. Jessica

    The Clintons could help the Obama administration. Afterall, Bill Clinton has plenty of experience with world leaders. Obama can benefit from their contacts and experience in the White House. Obama is a bright and thoughtful man. I don't see how anything or anyone can hurt his administration.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:11 pm |
  21. Felicia (Georgia)

    I think the Clintons can actually help our image abroad. God knows it can't get any worst. It's all uphill at this point.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:10 pm |
  22. Marjorie Perloff

    I hope Hillary will say "thanks but no thanks' before the position is offered officially. There is no way she can avoid the conflict of interests with Bill's endless suspicious wheeler-dealing and self-enrichment.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:10 pm |
  23. rhianimal

    I'd rather see Chief Justice Clinton than Secretary of State Clinton!
    Say it ain't so Hillary, from a true believer.

    November 17, 2008 at 10:10 pm |
  24. wendy

    I understand that Bill's connected, but why didn't this question come up during the primary? If Bill had become "first man" wouldn't it also be a conflict of interest?

    November 17, 2008 at 10:10 pm |
  25. Chuck Davidson

    What is Mr. Clinton Foundation's mission? It is on track? Is the USA the only country that can care about AIDS, malaria, or climate change. It sound like Mr. Clinton is uniting the world on a better focus than war. So what is the big deal about foreign interests?

    November 17, 2008 at 10:09 pm |
  26. Ariston, FL

    If HIllary positions herself as the Secretary of State, does that mean "Hillary in 2016"? Will she follow the path of five or six Secretaries of State that were elected president? Dying to find out!

    Ariston, Miami Beach, FL

    November 17, 2008 at 10:01 pm |
  27. Annie Kate

    The Clintons would be a terrific asset to Obama in his team of rivals. Bill is one of the most talented politicians in our time and Hilary is smart as a whip and a harder worker I've never seen. Obama and the country would benefit from their participation in this administration. Hilary said during her own campaign that it took one Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and that it looked like it would take another to clean up after this current Bush. I think it takes 2 Clintons, Obama, and a host of other highly talented and intelligent people to get this country out of the ditch and I for one would feel better about the whole thing if the Clintons are on the team rather than off.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    November 17, 2008 at 9:59 pm |
  28. Teresa Chicago

    I do not have problem with Hillary as a Secretary of State. She will be great assett. She is true patriot and she will help Barack clean this ugly mess.

    November 17, 2008 at 9:58 pm |
  29. Sarah in FL

    pppplease. No more Clintons. The election is over!

    November 17, 2008 at 9:51 pm |