WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Former President Bill Clinton says in an interview he plans to be a “backstage adviser” in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s expected presidential campaign and intends to spend the year working on his family’s philanthropic foundation.
As his wife considers another presidential campaign, the ex-president says in an interview with Town and Country magazine released Tuesday that he would play a behind-the-scenes role and remain focused on his work at the Clinton Foundation, which he founded in 2001 after he left the White House.
“I think it’s important, and Hillary does too, that she go out there as if she’s never run for anything before and establish her connection with the voters,” Clinton said. “And that my role should primarily be as a backstage adviser to her until we get much, much closer to the election.”
The former president defended his foundation’s commitment to accountability, calling it the “most transparent” of all the presidential foundations and “more transparent” than many major foundations. He noted that it has been criticized for accepting money from foreign governments.
Asked about his role if Hillary Clinton is elected president, Bill Clinton said he would “have to assess what she wants me to do” but “we might have to change the (foundation) rules again.”
The former president told the magazine he doesn’t think he would be a good campaigner anymore.
“I’ve told Hillary that I don’t think I’m good [at campaigning] anymore because I’m not mad at anybody. I’m a grandfather, and I got to see my grand daughter last night, and I can’t be mad,” he said.
When Hillary Clinton became President Barack Obama’s secretary of state in 2009, the foundation agreed to stop raising money from foreign governments but the Washington Post reported in February that some foreign governments continued to donate while she was in the Obama administration. In one case, the foundation said it should have sought approval from the State Department before accepting a $500,000 contribution from the Algerian government to assist with earthquake relief in Haiti.
Bill Clinton said they haven’t discussed any changes to how the foundation would function “and I don’t think we should. You can’t. It’s hard for any party to hang on to the White House for 12 years, and it’s a long road. A thousand things could happen.”
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