August 7th, 2009
10:56 AM ET

Put former presidents to work

Former President Clinton receives flowers from a girl Tuesday upon landing in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Former President Clinton receives flowers from a girl Tuesday upon landing in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Roland S. Martin
CNN Contributor

Much has been made of the involvement of former President Bill Clinton in the freeing of two Current TV journalists held in North Korea and facing 12 years of hard labor.

But considering that American taxpayers continue to pay for their office space, security detail and other perks of the office of a former president, why not put Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush to work for the good of the country?

There seems to be a tradition in this country of former presidents spending their time giving speeches, raising money for their presidential libraries, writing their memoirs and staying out of the way of the current occupant of the White House.

I get that. You had your shot and you want the new person to have their day in the sun and do it that way. Yet letting that experience and solid relationships go to waste makes no sense to me.

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soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Robert - Palm Desert, CA

    Roland, your viciously slimy attacks against Hillary during the Democratic primaries and caucuses made no sense to me. Maybe that's because I don't understand such vile sexism and racism, as displayed by you and other members of the so-called "best political team on television."

    September 9, 2009 at 4:21 am |
  2. Kat

    Roland, I agree completely. Our former Presidents should be put to work. Certainly making use of those invaluable relationships they forged while president can help in many situations…including helping the existing leader build new relationships to move our country and this world forward. There is too much intellectual capitol harbored in these former presidents to let them focus on the circuit of public speaking. Any leader knows that you need help, always, and any good leader knows to surround themselves with people who are as smart, but preferably smarter to help them move their agendas forward. Much of our taxpayer’s dollars go to the continued support of our former presidents, let’s utilize them in a way that can help this country achieve policies that improves the lives of the people here and abroad.

    September 2, 2009 at 11:31 pm |

    No because when you look at president's who went into office from day 1 with their own agenda, such as GEORGE W. BUSH Jr. He may continue his own agenda, but the new president's reputation is on the line. George Bush wasn't in office a whole year, and we went to war. He wasn't expecting to win two terms. IT KILLS ME HOW A PRESIDENT CAN ALLOW THE COUNTRY TO FAIL SO BAD IN FRONT OF HIS EYES. HE CAUSE EVERYTHING WE IN TODAY. IF NOT BARACK OBAMA WOULDNT BE SPENDING HAPPY.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  4. peter klisas

    You guys are complaining, complaining but the time will come that George W will look good just R. Reagan. By the way Roland I have never seen anyone more in the tank than you. My God man come up for air and go face off O'Riley instead all the softies on CNN?

    August 15, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  5. Evelyn

    I couldnt find the cambell's site about vick getting a second chance what he did was cruel, but he deserves a second chance, if they let killers like squeaky fromme vick defintely deserves a chance.

    Also I think it is ridiculous how much hate Foxnews journalists and cnn dobbs hates obama and blacks in general.

    August 14, 2009 at 9:03 pm |
  6. Deeca

    Personally, I feel like GWB should be held accountable for the shambles he left this country in. He is on his texas ranch sipping lemonade lavishing in the land of security while he has royally disrupted the very infrastructure of our society and Obama is left to clean up his mes. He should be cleaning up his own mess especially since he is still being compensated for such a monumentally corrupt and deplorable job!!

    August 13, 2009 at 8:58 am |
  7. janette tx

    Hey Roland,
    No fair! Jimmy Carter has worked harder than any former
    president.What about habitat for humanity ? This is not small
    potatoes.He is a statesman.I can't recall anything Bush "1"
    did after office.

    August 13, 2009 at 2:30 am |
  8. Tony Thornton

    I recall a comment a gentlemen from New Orleans made"George bush gives C students a bad name" with that being said.

    In what aspect can bush help the american people?

    August 7, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  9. Ruby Coria LA., CA.

    I'm down with sending Bush to Afghanistan & Pakistan for peace talks. They all consider them self's as true Americans, well there is lots to do, so get them working.
    Bill, did a smooth cool job.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  10. Dave S, Tinley Park, IL

    bush is helping America by hiding himself.. He did no good in office so he should continue doing nothing out of office.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  11. Jaison From NYC

    Hey Ronald,

    Are you kidding me???? What kind of job George W will do???
    Maybe at Car wash or picking empty cans/bottles in new york city???
    i guess 2nd job will be suitable for him and help us to clean our city.

    August 7, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  12. Isabel • Brazil

    Frankly, if during the mandate the president does the work and leaves a good legacy for the successor, we should be pleased to give us, this is in USA, in Brazil ... or anywhere on the planet.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  13. JC- Los Angeles

    Roland, with all due respect, four years of Jimmy Carter and eight years of George W. Bush was more than enough for everyone to stomach.

    While Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush are a different story, the American people do not deserve to be kicked while down by the other two.

    President Obama most certainly will never take the fight to anyone like George W. Bush did, however, unless he fixes the financial system and apeases Israel, he will resemble Jimmy Carter more than he would like.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  14. Heather,ca

    Do you really think Clinton enjoyed doing this? It was a private mission. If he had wanted so badly to go to North Korea he would have done when he was president and they wanted to see him. He refused then. He did this because it was the ONLY way the ladies would be given their freedom. He has a heart condition. He didn't want to be there. He didn't look thrilled to be there. He looked exhausted and just wanted to get them out as soon as possible and go home. They are very lucky that he agreed to go. This was not diplomacy in any way. Its total manipulation by the nutjob North Koreans.

    August 7, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  15. Ilona, Tempe, AZ


    why would anyone in their right mind put W back to work; he's done enough damage to the country in those 8 years he was president.
    What would be his expertise? Alienating the rest of the world once again?
    I just want forget about that ignorant, arrogant , spoiled brat.

    August 7, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  16. Jeanais

    I think that this should be time limited (5 years). Presidents are living longer and end up making sufficient money to live on. Plus their health care is covered!

    August 7, 2009 at 11:35 am |

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