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November 19th, 2008
06:53 PM ET

The amazing Clintons and their house of wonders

Program note: Watch Tom Foreman's full report about how Former President Bill Clinton's foundation fund raising affects a possible Secretary of State position for Hillary Clinton. Tonight, 10p ET.
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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Harry Houdini used to perform a famous trick called The Metamorphosis.

He would be handcuffed, sealed in a large cloth bag, and stuffed into a trunk, which was wrapped in chains. His wife, Bess, would then raise a curtain, and in a flash, he would be standing free, and she would be discovered locked and sealed inside the trunk.

It was a trick that required discipline, carefully orchestrated movements, and teamwork; and the Washington heirs to Houdini’s throne are Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Lest anyone doubt their commitment to being the dynamic duo of miracle working politicians, just witness his latest agreement to divulge information about donors to his foundation as a way of possibly clearing her path to becoming Secretary of State.

People have been after these records for a long time, and the former president has resisted their calls. But now he is giving in, because it could help her. The Clintons, for all their widely publicized personal storms, have been married for thirty-three years. They have survived a governorship, a presidency, eight years in the Senate, and every prediction that they are finally fading from the Washington scene.

To the contrary: Many Republicans I’ve talked to since the last election seem more willing now than ever before to admit a grudging respect for the Clintons’ political skills.

Like Harry and Bess, the Clintons have transformed themselves time and again; emerging victorious from seemingly inescapable positions. Whether you like the Clintons or not, this is clear: Only a few months ago some were saying they were on their way out in the world of big league politics. Now, presto, they once again are looking like one of the nation’s premiere power couples.


Filed under: Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics • Tom Foreman
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Todd

    If President-elect Obama is really creating a cabinet of rivals, like President Lincoln, keeping his friends close and his enemies closer, selecting Senator Clinton as Sec. of State is pure genius. He can keep her travelling to foriegn countries, doing as he tells her, and keeping her out of his hair for the next four years.

    November 19, 2008 at 10:39 pm |
  2. Joanne, Syracuse, NY

    When talented, intelligent people dedicate their life to public service, citizens are fortunate to become the beneficiary of their expertise. The Clintons are valuable, proven and trusted servants.

    November 19, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  3. earle,florida

    This Secretary of State (SoS) job that seems to be such a coup for the Clinton's is a ruse,not an illusion,but manifested/perpetrated by Obama's people. Madeline Albright was a stern SoS,during Clinton's years,as was Condi's tenure with Bush #43,(carbon copy's) of a glorified currier, de-jour! Bill has nothing to hide, and is playing the game with the very people he appointed. Obviously ,"Obama's People",are not afraid of playing with fire,(Bill's Fire), so let the ashes fall where they will, but fear not ,they won't fall/blow anywhere near the Clinton's. Believe it or not ,Bill's getting two birds with one stone, being vetted,and finally having the ability to breathe easier with all the false allegations/baggaged aired out, and Hillary returning to the very job she only wants,as US Senator of New York, and a very important committee chair she will be rewarded,or may I proudly say, earned! Folks, this is a thanks,but no thanks, situation. Just my humble opinion....

    November 19, 2008 at 8:53 pm |
  4. Kathy, Chicago

    Ted Kennedy is still there, why wouldn't the Clintons be there? Washington seems to have a hold on people who work there. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

    November 19, 2008 at 8:50 pm |
  5. pati mc., camp hill, pa

    Oh Tom, "Hillary Houdini"? I simply cannot stop laughing. 🙂

    You are terrific.

    November 19, 2008 at 8:50 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    Of course Bill would do this for Hilary – she has stood by him through thick and thin and he would not want to be the cause of her not having a chance at a position like this. Just look at how hard (even if ineffectually) he campaigned for her for the nomination this past year. He also knows she would be a fantastic Secretary of State. Here's hoping that she gets the position and Bill can keep on doing his foundation work which seems to inspire him and others on a daily basis.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    November 19, 2008 at 8:41 pm |
  7. Sally Wilson

    What is the issue about vetting the Clintons now? If she had been elected President wouldn't it have been the same possible conflict of interest? So if she had been elected President would we have to wait for her acceptance speech until Bill had been vetted?

    November 19, 2008 at 8:32 pm |
  8. yumitaipan

    Doesn't it seem a bit strange that during the election, Bill kept the names and details of his business associates and library/foundation donors a closely guarded secret but now that Hillary may be considered for Sec of State he's willing to share all? Something just doesn't seem right about this nomination. Hillary could certainly do the job, but it's not clear why she would want it. This would be a step backwards, both in power and political clout. Perhaps it's all part of a strategy to leapfrog the others ahead of her in Senate seniority?

    For my money, Fareed Zakaria is still the best choice for Sec of State. DraftFareed.org!

    November 19, 2008 at 8:20 pm |
  9. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    I wonder if the same people who called on Hillary to keep Bill at bay during the primary, will be saying the same if she's given Sect. of State spot? The Sect. of State doesn't need to be a pair, but we'll see.

    November 19, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  10. Christina, Windber, PA

    So the the library donors are going to be named! Great! Now everyone will know I donated a lousy $20. To some I'll be "ole el cheapo" and Mom will say " who do you think we are, the Rockefellers or the Vanderbilts?" Neither is scenario is good.

    November 19, 2008 at 7:09 pm |

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