Commentary: Bill Clinton Not Likely to Leave Political Arena

The following is a commentary by ABC News' Sam Donaldson. Click here to view a video version of Sam's latest essay

Acknowledging perhaps that his wife will not be the Democratic presidential nominee this year, Bill Clinton said Monday that "this may be the last day I'm ever invovled in a campaign of this kind."

Excuse me, but I don't believe it.

When I heard Mr. Clinton say that, it brought back memories of Richard Nixon's famous press conference in 1962, when, having lost the presidency two years before and at that moment having lost his race for the California governorship, he declared: "This is my last press conference … you won't have Nixon to kick around anymore.'


Oh yeah?

The thought that we won't have the pleasure of that consummate political animal, Bill Clinton, actively engaged in another presidential campaign is too much to believe or bear.

Sure, I know he isn't able to run again, but my friends, she is. Senator Clinton is, and —on the ticket or off the ticket this year — an Obama victory or defeat this fall — she is young enough and certainly ambitious enough to try for the brass ring again. Surely her husband will be right there with her. And she will want it that way, despite the talk that he ought to be locked up during her next campaign or at least gagged.

Does anyone honestly believe she lost the nomination because of his campaign efforts this time? Maybe his "old style" political thrusts were ham-handed and certainly didn't work, but she lost it on her own and in her husband's case, there is still some magic there that in the future would be useful.

So don't mourn at the possible passing from the political scene of Bill Clinton. He will not pass. And if you argue that he has now said this may be his last campaign, remember his advice about language and consider what is the meaning of the words "May Be?"

To me, they track exactly with that other great political figure of our time — the Terminator — "I'll be back!"

Sam Donaldson, a 41-year ABC News veteran, served two appointments as chief White House correspondent for ABC News, from January 1998 to August 1999 and from 1977-1989, covering Presidents Carter, Reagan and Clinton. Donaldson also co-anchored, with Diane Sawyer, "PrimeTime Live," from August 1989 until it merged with "20/20" in 1999. He co-anchored the ABC News Sunday morning broadcast, "This Week With Sam Donaldson & Cokie Roberts," from December 1996 to September 2002. Currently, Sam Donaldson appears on ABC News Now, the ABC News digital network, in a daily show, "Politics Live."