Bill Clinton: Hillary 'Will Be ... the Decider'

On "This Week," ex-President Clinton rejects "buy one, get one free" scenario.

Sept. 30, 2007— -- Former President Bill Clinton said his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., would be an independent leader, and added he would have a back seat role in the White House should she be elected president in 2008.

"It's important to know that she will be the policy maker, the decider," Clinton said in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on "This Week."

"Hillary can't literally put me in the cabinet, as you know. But I would be opposed to it, even if she could," he said.

"I think that I should be out there helping her solve problems and giving my best advice, maybe helping settle the domestic problems," Clinton said when asked if voters will be facing a "buy one, get one free" scenario that he touted when he ran for president.

Clinton and his wife have not always agreed. As president, Clinton fought to enact the North American Free Trade Agreement, a move which Sen. Clinton has said hurt American workers. President Clinton continues to disagree with his wife's assessment.

"What I think is that the trade agreements in these years, in the Bush years, all the increase goes to trade," he said. "NAFTA's become sort of a symbol."

But Clinton went on to note that NAFTA had already been negotiated prior to his presidency.

What I did was to get an extra commitment to establish the North American Development Bank and to do other things to promote labor and environmental standards parallel to NAFTA," he said. "It's the best I could do."

But ultimately, he joked, "I'm going to do whatever I'm going to have to do. And I'll have an office wherever I'm given one. If they want to give it to me in the basement of the White House, I'd be happy."

In discussing his wife's candidacy, Clinton rejected ideas that Sen. Clinton would not be able to unite the country if elected.

"She's been beat up on for 16 years. I ask them, 'Do they really want to reward the Republican attack machine?'" he said. "You become polarized in the American politics, not if you attack somebody, but if someone attacks you. Is that what they really want to do? ... When people know her, they won't feel that way."

Clinton addressed his wife's competition on the Republican side, but said he cannot tell yet who will win the party's nomination.

"It depends on whether Mayor [Rudy] Giuliani can hold on when they try to attack him. And it depends on whether Gov. [Mitt] Romney can hold the lead he now has in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire," Clinton said. "The other, sort of, variable you can't rule out is is John McCain making a comeback with no money. ... He's a very impressive man, and he looks like he's liberated now. He's out there broke, and he's just being John McCain."

Clinton also weighed in on his home state's former governor, Mike Huckabee, describing the candidate from Arkansas as "the best speaker they [the Republicans have] got."

"He grew up in an oral culture," Clinton said. "And we were from the same little town."

On former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., Clinton said, "I really think that if you'd just take his profile, he's the one they'd want to vote for. ... He's sort of like a Rorschach test. You can write whatever you want to on it."