Hillary Clinton Defends Husband's Role in Campaign

Clinton on 'GMA' defends Bill's role in her campaign.

Jan. 25, 2008 — -- One day before voters go to the polls in South Carolina's hotly contested Democratic primary, Sen. Hillary Clinton took on a more subdued tone and defended her husband's role in her campaign.

"He obviously is a passionate advocate for my cause, as are the wives of my two major opponents," Clinton told ABC News' Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America."

"But I think all of us need to just take a deep breath here because obviously we know we will have a united Democratic Party when this nomination is determined," she said.

The New York senator's campaign got a small boost overnight when she won the endorsement of The New York Times' editorial board.

However, the newspaper's editorial pleaded with the senator to tone down what has become a bloody primary battle between her and her leading Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama.

"As strongly as we back her candidacy, we urge Mrs. Clinton to take the lead in changing the tone of the campaign. It is not good for the country, the Democratic Party or Mrs Clinton. (Indeed, Bill Clinton's overheated comments are feeding those resentments, and could do long-term damage to her candidacy if he continues this way.)" read the New York Times editorial.

Clinton told Roberts she agreed with the editorial and wanted to set a new tone.

"I want to set the tone for the kind of campaign we're having. I really want this to be about the future, about what's going to happen to the people watching us this morning, what's going to happen to our kids and really, how we're going to restore American and our leadership around the world," she said.

Highlighting her work on behalf of women, children and civil rights, Clinton said, "this election is both an extraordinary opportunity and really a celebration of how far we've come as a nation."

"It's also a great chance for us individually to draw the contrasts and comparisons that are totally fair," she said calmly, "but to be really focused on the differences that the Democrats will make as opposed to what we've had for the last seven years, and I think that's what Americans want to hear about."

It was a much more subdued tone in a week that saw former President Bill Clinton increase his role as his wife's chief attack dog against Obama.

Watch Sen. Barack Obama Sunday on "This Week"

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on "GMA" said the senator's new tone could be smart campaign strategy.

"This is classic good cop, bad cop," Stephanopoulos said.

"Hillary Clinton going out there being soothing, being positive, being optimistic ... and her husband former President Bill Clinton is raising questions about the press, raising questions about Barack Obama," he said.

"What he has done is become the lightning rod in this campaign. It keeps the heat off her,' he said. "They might take it too far. So far, it's working."

The Clintons were also the subject of debate at Thursday night's GOP debate in Florida, with the GOP contenders seemingly auditioning for how they would run against Hillary Clinton in the general election.

"I frankly can't wait because the idea of Bill Clinton back in the White House with nothing to do is just something I can't imagine, I can't imagine and I can't imagine the American people can imagine," said former Gov. Mitt Romney.

"I just think do we want to have a president, not a whole team of husband and wife thinking they're going to run the country," Romney said.

Romney was referring to a 1992 comment by then-candidate Bill Clinton suggesting voters would be getting "two for the price of one."

In 2008, Clinton seemed to back away from that statement.

"I'm running. I am running to be the president. I will have responsibility for the decisions," she said on "GMA."

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