Hillary Clinton and the two-for-one presidency

Not only would Clinton be the first to have a ‘First Dude,’ she’d also be the first to have a former president in the East Wing

Hillary Rodham Clinton is met on stage by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, during a campaign rally on Roosevelt Island in New York, June 13, 2015. Clinton kicked off her 2016 campaign for president on Saturday. (Doug Mills/The New York Times/Redux)

Hillary Rodham Clinton is met on stage by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, during a campaign rally on Roosevelt Island in New York, June 13, 2015. (Doug Mills/The New York Times/Redux)

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. — The notion of a 2-for-1 Clinton presidency is back.

Recalling sunnier days of growth, low unemployment and budget surpluses under her husband, Hillary Clinton is telling Americans that Bill Clinton will be “in charge of revitalizing the economy” if she wins the White House.

What his work would be remains unclear: not a cabinet post, she indicated. But, as she has been saying for months, she expects him to play a leading role.

Bill Clinton reigned over a strong economy, especially in the final years of his presidency, yet his economic legacy is mixed.

The late 1990s were the last period to see sustained income gains for the typical American household. Middle-income wages have stagnated since then.

But his refusal to step up regulation of exotic financial instruments known as derivatives was blamed in large measure for the collapse of the financial sector years later. The tech bubble of his time burst. And his agenda was driven by support for free trade deals, including one that gave China better access to the U.S. market, that are held responsible by elements of both parties for driving jobs out of the country.

Related reading: Why we can’t stop talking about Hillary’s hair — even with Donald around

Still, in those pre-9-11 days, it’s a stretch of peace and prosperity like Americans haven’t seen since and with her latest remarks, in Kentucky, Hillary Clinton is more firmly laying out how important he would be to her agenda.

The situation is highly unusual: Not only would Clinton be the first president to have a “First Dude,” she’d also be the first to have a former president in the East Wing.

Now, facing a two-front fight against Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, she’s stressing that Bill Clinton would be an asset in her administration, particularly with the kind of Southern white voters who once backed him but now are drawn to Trump.

“Tell me anybody else who’s been here as much or knows us as well,” said Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, of Bill Clinton, during a campaign event in West Virginia. Hillary Clinton lost that primary — a state her husband won by double digits — earlier this month to Sanders.

The GOP front-runner and his team are making a different political bet. They see Bill Clinton’s history of scandal as ripe for exploitation.

Still, in recent weeks, Clinton has begun sketching out a bit more of a role for her husband, though there is great ambiguity. She told West Virginians that he’d focus on helping economically distressed communities, like those in coal county, reinvent themselves in a changing economy.

Related reading: Bill and Hillary: An inconvenient marriage 

“You’ll get sick of seeing him,” she said earlier this month. “This gets him really, really excited.”

Spokesman Nick Merrill said Monday that despite the candidate’s description of her husband’s in-charge role, Clinton would be getting ahead of herself to talk about “any sort of formalized role for anyone.” But, he added, Bill Clinton “has a lot to offer and it would be foolish not to use that in some capacity.”

More any other political couple in recent American history, the Clintons have long viewed themselves as a joint package. Shortly after entering the White House, Clinton appointed his wife to head the administration’s effort to pass a major health care bill. The failed measure became known as “Hillarycare.”

But as the party has shifted to the left during the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton repeatedly found herself forced to repudiate key pieces of her husband’s legacy during her primary campaign. She’s distanced herself from the North American Free Trade Agreement, the federal law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that banned gays and lesbians from military service. Hillary Clinton has also faced criticism for backing the 1994 crime bill, which led to tougher sentencing for drug offences.

Her campaign is calculating that in the general election, Bill Clinton’s strong economic record outweighs the criticism. Over the next 10 days, Bill Clinton is scheduled to campaign in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, New Mexico, California, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana.

Late in Clinton’s presidency, unemployment dropped to 3.9 per cent, its lowest level since 1970. It’s 5 per cent now — and he set a record in monthly job growth in the post-World War II era. Growth averaged 3.8 per cent, better than the record under Ronald Reagan and a far cry from the 0.5 per cent of the last quarter or the 1.4 per cent of the quarter before. But Clinton also came to office when a recession was ending; Barack Obama stepped into a worsening one that would be unrivaled since the Depression.

Related reading: On the road (again) with Hillary Clinton

“Broadly shared prosperity is what President Clinton is known for, so I am thrilled Hillary is deploying my old boss,“ said former Clinton aide Paul Begala. ”Wherever two or more are gathered, there, too, should he be.“

Campaigning in a smoky diner in Paducah, Kentucky, on Monday, Clinton was surrounded by people who affectionately recalled previous visits by the Clintons. Bill Clinton campaigned in the town right before the 1992 election that made him president.

Joanne Clark, 54, exclaimed that she had shaken hands with Bill Clinton all those years ago. “He’s gotta get out of retirement!” replied Hillary Clinton.


Hillary Clinton and the two-for-one presidency

  1. Maybe ii’s the only way the US can make that massive a culture change

  2. Your math is off, two crooked cons do NOT make ONE president.

    Trump ’16

  3. The Clinton’s are back!
    Clinton gave us NAFTA, GATT and WTO Hilary’s is the Architect of TPP. That is The Clinton legacy 25 million jobs done the drain!
    Massive insider scandals and cover ups. Whitewater scandal, Travel gate, Cattle futures, File gate, Vince Fosters death, Benghazi assassinations and the monster of them all The email treason where 22 top secret emails were left on an insecure server. During this time Hilary was in several countries to include China. We will not as Americans ever know the contents of those emails but she can still run for president!

  4. If any of these silly stories were true, the Repubs would long since have been able to put the Clintons in jail

    • All the insiders are going to make money on the trade deals Ryan and Romney Republicans both support TPP and the removal of 5 million jobs they are in the same party as Hilary, Bill and George Bush trillions in revenue is the real party of insiders.

  5. Since the beginning of the Clinton email scandal, the nation has been subjected to a political and criminal defense generated smokescreen. The Clinton campaign has attempted to make the public believe that she is not guilty of anything because the information on her very unprotected server was not “marked as classified” or “classified at the time.”

    The applicable statute, 18 USC 793, however, does not even once mention the word “classified.” The focus is on “information respecting the national defense” that potentially “could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.” 793 (f) specifically makes it a crime for anyone “entrusted with … any document … or information relating to the national defense … through gross negligence (to permit) the same to be removed from its proper place of custody.” A jury (not a Democrat or Republican political administration) is, of course, the best body to determine gross negligence on the facts of this case.

    The courts have held repeatedly that “national defense information” includes closely held military, foreign policy and intelligence information and that evidence that the information is classified is not necessary for a prosecution. Evidence that the information was upon later review found to be classified, however, as is the case with approximately 2,000 Clinton messages, is of course one kind of proof that the information met the test of “national defense information” in the first place. (See U.S. v. Rosen and Weissman, 445 F. Supp. 2d 602 (E.D. Va. 2006) pertaining to a different provision but containing a good summary of law on national defense information and classified information.) The fact that the information does not have to be “marked classified” at the time only makes sense because sometimes, as in the case of the Clinton case and other 793 cases, the information is originated and distributed before any security officer can perform a review and put a classification mark on it.

    So why has this not been discussed in the television and print media? Why has Clinton not been grilled by her interviewers as to whether her emails contained national defense information that could harm the U.S.? Why has everyone bought into the “marked classified” rabbit trail? One suspects that many reporters and commentators have not bothered to read the actual law or are hesitant to blow the central defense of the Clinton campaign out of the water.

    Glenn Reynolds: Hillary’s delusional media courtiers

    • Reynolds is a devout Trump supporter.

    • Why? Because women over 40 like her colorful pants suits. Most men voters think she would look best in an orange jumpsuit with a WIDE LOAD warning on the rear.

      • Sexism is no way to choose a president.

  6. A third Clinton presidency would be a violation in of the 22 Amendment to US Constitution which limits a person from holding the office of the presidency to two terms of office. By definition of a person includes firms, labor organization partnerships associations, legal representatives and trustees. Hillary’s marriage to Bill constitutes a partnership which is a person under the law. This personage has served for two terms as president. For Hillary Rodham Clinton to legally become president she will need to divorce Bill.

  7. The man was impeached, he should not be allowed to be in charge of anything.

  8. Yeah let’s talk about all the good the Clinton’s have done for this country. When Bill signed the WTA it sent America’s factories and jobs to China effectively destroying America’s Middle Class and caused the resultant mortgage crash and recession. Let’s also talk about children that Hillary is so fond of. The Clinton’s and Janet Reno MURDERED more innocent Children at WACO and Ruby Ridge than were killed at Sandy Hook. The Democrats had 16 years to fix things under Clintons and Obama and failed miserably and have brought us closer to World War III than ever before with China taking over the South China Sea and Russia taking over strategic locations in Ukraine and Crimea…all because we have a Spineless Punk for President.

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