Bill and Hillary Clinton Role Reversal

Kenneth Bazinet has an amusing “Exclusive” in today’s New York Daily News entitled, “I’m boss, Hil tells Bill.”

After being surprised by her husband’s role in the Dubai ports deal, Sen. Hillary Clinton has insisted that Bill Clinton give her “final say” over what he says and does, well-placed sources said. The former President agreed to give his wife a veto to avoid his habit of making controversial headlines that could hurt her chances of returning to the White House, multiple sources told the Daily News. “He knows it’s Hillary’s time now,” said an adviser close to both Clintons who expects to play a key role in her likely 2008 presidential campaign.


“Since she got elected five years ago and given their hectic schedules, it is more interesting how little there has been of this,” said the senator’s campaign spokeswoman Ann Lewis, referring to their contradictory statements. “She is the elected official. She makes the ultimate decisions,” Lewis said.

Bill Clinton’s spokesman Jay Carson added, “Anyone who says he is doing everything he can to help her get reelected is absolutely right.”

It’s a bizarre role reversal for a former two term POTUS but, as Carson suggests, not really all that surprising. She had to subordinate her interests to his when their roles were reversed, including dropping the “Rodham” after he lost his first re-election bid in Arkansas. Now, it’s his turn.

Bill Quick, on the other hand, isn’t buying it: “I love the pretense that if you elect Hill, you aren’t also re-electing Bill to the White House. With the HillBilly, you’ve always gotten two, two, two for the price of one, and you always will.” I agree that the two are a team and that electing one is electing both; it has never been clear, though, which one was the more influential voice within that team. Bill was the obvious frontman for the first two decades of their relationship given the traditional male-female roles in politics and his enormous political talents. But, certainly, Hillary is no Lurleen Wallace.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. ATS says:

    The Ports issue was alway a phony “scandal,” no matter who embraced it.

  2. floyd says:

    front man? he’s mortimer snurd to her edgar bergen; the perfect man for the 21st century