Something Tells Me Bill Clinton Wishes He Could Be President Again

Bill Clinton thinks former Presidents should be allowed to run for President again:

Three times could be a charm — but not for him.

Former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that presidents should be able to run for a third term as long as they take off some time after their second term.

“I’ve always thought that should be the rule,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I think as a practical matter, you couldn’t apply this to anyone who has already served, but going forward, I personally believe that should be the rule.”

Clinton made the remark in the context of a question posed by “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough, who said that many wished that Clinton could run again.

“Shouldn’t a president be able to take two terms, take time off and run again? Shouldn’t Americans have that choice?” asked Scarborough. He cited former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who led his country during World War II and again in the 1950s, as an example.

It’s an interesting idea, but regardless of it’s merit we’re unlikely to ever implement it simply because we’re at a point right now where getting enough support to ratify a Constitutional Amendment that says anything other than “We Like Puppies” is pretty much next to impossible. Nonetheless, one can’t help but think that Bill wishes this rule was in effect now.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Hey Norm says:

    No way you could pass an amendment that says “We like Puppies”.
    The Cat lobby would never let it happen.

  2. Much like the oft advanced idea that we should eliminate the natuarl born citizen requirement, ammendments like these only ever come up when there is someone specific in mind to benefit from it. They only have a hope of passing if they’re not seen as pushing the interests of a particular politician. So they’re only suggested when they have no chance of passing, and when they could pass no one cares enough.

  3. MBunge says:

    Of course he does. I’d never deny that Bill Clinton wanted to do good things for the country, but the most important thing to him has always been that it is Bill Clinton doing those good things.

    There would be one good thing if Clinton could run again. His opponents would be able to go back and pull apart his administration and how its policies caused or contributed to the current mess. It might expand our discussion and understanding beyond schizophrenic denial (Republicans) and technocratic delusions (Paul Krugman).


  4. @Stormy Dragon:

    When the 22nd Amendment was ratified it included language saying that it did not apply to the person who was President at the time of ratification. Harry Truman could have run for President again in 1952 had he wanted but his popularity had declined precipitously since then due in part to the Korean War.

  5. @Doug Mataconis:

    Yes, but there wasn’t a particular person that was causing people to go, “You know, we better pass the 22nd ammendment before X has a chance to run three times.” So it wasn’t seen as a partisan proposal. Reducing the restriction now would be perceived as advocating a third Clinton term so the vote would end up being about whether or not you want Clinton to be president, not the merits of the ammendment itself.

  6. SD,

    Well, he was dead but the 22nd Amendment was a clear response to FDR’s 4 terms.

  7. @Doug Mataconis:

    Yes, but not a partisan response, since, as you note, he was dead. If he had still been alive it would not have likely passed as it would have been more about FDR’s popularity than the ammendment itself.

  8. Hey Norm says:

    I have to say that I would vote for Bush 43 long before I would vote for Romney…so the field of so-called republicans would be better for it. Of course I would shoot myself in the face before voting for either of them…so there is that.

  9. Eric J. says:

    By my reading of the 22nd Amendment, it would be possible for Clinton (or Bush 43) to run for Vice President and serve if necessary.

  10. @Eric J.:

    That question came up a couple weeks ago. I would submit the answer is that a President who served two full terms could not be Vice-President.

  11. Eric J. says:

    @Doug Mataconis: @Doug Mataconis: You’re probably right. If I was re-writing the Constitution, I’d eliminate the Vice President as an elected office and allow the President to designate a particular Cabinet Secretary as emergency successor. Something would have to be done about the VP’s power as President of the Senate, but that’s pretty minor 99.9% of the time. Perhaps give the tie-breaking power to the Speaker of the House, thus eliminating the Executive/Legislative crossover.

  12. @Eric J.:

    The Founders believed it was important that the person who would succeed the President be someone that was elected by the people. That’s why they originally provided that the person who came in second in the Presidential election would be Vice-President. When that proved unworkable after only three elections, the 12th Amendment was ratified and the President and Vice-President now run together on the same ticket. But, the logic still applies.

  13. Vast Variety says:

    For some reason I always thought that the limit was on consecutive terms. Interesting…. learn something new everyday.

  14. bandit says:

    From the libertarian viewpoint it’s wrong to restrict anyone from pursuing any job they want but on the power corrupts and absolute power and all that it’s crazy talk.