LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (CBSDC/AP) — Former President Bill Clinton joked he better watch what he says in case his wife runs for president.
“The great thing about not being president anymore is you can just say whatever you want,” Clinton said during a speech he made at the U.S. Conference of Mayors at the Clinton Presidential Library on Wednesday.
He then paused and said, “Unless your wife might run for something. Then you can say whatever you want as long as you don’t make any headlines.”
Hillary Clinton, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, has said she will make a decision whether or not to run early next year.
Bill Clinton has hit the campaign trail for Democrats, returning to his home state of Arkansas. On Tuesday, Clinton challenged students at the University of Arkansas to turn out for an election without a big national race.
“The polls that show us in trouble uniformly believe that younger voters who voted for president will not show up in a midterm,” Clinton said. “You have more at stake in this election than people like me. I have more yesterdays than tomorrows. You have got more tomorrows than yesterdays and you better show up.”
Here and elsewhere, polling shows that younger voters typically lean to the left: While Republican candidates in Arkansas have fared best among those ages 30-60, President Barack Obama split the 18-29 vote with Sen. John McCain in 2008 and Sen. John Kerry outpolled President George W. Bush among younger voters in 2004.
Clinton was Arkansas governor before most of today’s university students were born and left the White House when they were in primary school — a lifetime ago, politically. Until recently, Democrats had controlled virtually all of state government — then Republicans benefited from an unpopular president to wrest control of the Legislature, three statewide offices and all but one seat in Congress.
It was difficult to tell the size of the crowd, though it appeared to be a few thousand, or how many were eligible to vote in Arkansas elections.
For instance, Claire Wiegers, a junior in political science, watched Clinton despite being a Republican registered to vote in Flower Mound, Texas.
“It’s not very often you get to see a president,” Wiegers said, standing about 25 yards from the president. “Clinton could step in and be the voice of reason in politics.
“A true leader can put aside his differences for the good of the country,” she said before Clinton’s appearance. “I don’t think Obama does that but I don’t think Republicans do that either. ‘It’s not about the country or leadership. It’s about my agenda and my politics.'”
Clinton touched on similar themes in his remarks.
“If you don’t have an inclusive philosophy, if it’s ‘my way or the highway,’ there’s no way in the wide world you’re going to get anything done,” Clinton said.
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