Bill Clinton: I'd Sit in on Hillary's Cabinet Meetings 'Only If Asked'

Clinton talks to Barbara Walters for the "10 Most Fascinating People of 2007."

ByABC News

Dec. 5, 2007— -- For the first time in history, a former president has a good shot at getting back into the White House … as a spouse. And that's just one reason why Bill Clinton is one of Barbara Walters' "10 Most Fascinating People of 2007."

If his wife wins the 2008 presidential election, would the former president sit in on cabinet meetings?

"Only if asked," Clinton told Walters. "And I think it would only be wise if it were on a specific issue. I think it's better for me to give her my advice privately most of the time."

Clinton says he would weigh in if he disagreed with a decision his wife planned to made as president, "but when she made it, I'd do my best to support it," he said. "I'd keep my mouth shut."

"Mr. President, is your wife really smarter than you are?" Walters asked.

"About some things," said Clinton. "We have different kinds of intelligence. She has a great organizational intelligence, and we've always worked well together. … I said the other day -- we celebrated our 32nd anniversary -- I'd rather spend the night talking to her than anybody I can think of."

Clinton said that before Hillary decided to run for president, and if the laws were changed, he might have liked to run for a third term in the White House.

"I loved being president," he said. "I loved it. And I thought I was well-suited to the time."

The man some call the rock star of American politics hasn't lost his magic touch. Walters met the 61-year-old former president at his office in New York's Harlem, where he overseas the William J. Clinton Foundation.

Since leaving office just six years ago, Clinton has become a kind of global expeditor, traveling to more than 84 countries and using his iconic status to fight poverty, childhood obesity, global warming and AIDS. Even a quadruple bypass in 2004 couldn't slow him down.

He gives several speeches a month, and he's written two best-selling books, including his current one, "Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World."

"Mr. President, do you think you've been a very good ex-president?" Walters asked.

"Oh, I don't know, but I've had a good time trying to be," said Clinton.

As for who the next president will be, Clinton can't be objective when it comes to the Democrats, but who does he believe is the strongest Republican presidential candidate?

"I can't tell, but I think that McCain has a lot of appeal, and I think that he seems to be making a little bit of a comeback, and he seems to be liberated by the awful abuse that he got at the hands of his own campaign people. The way they squandered his money and all that, was terrible. But he seems free again," said Clinton. "And we disagree on many things, but I think he's a big figure. So he might be the most electable. I don't know if he can be nominated."

Should Hillary win, would Clinton be willing to take on traditional "first spouse" duties, such as the annual Easter Egg Hunt and the White House Christmas decorations?

"You know, I'd actually like doing that," Clinton told Walters. "If I'm asked to do that, I would love to do that."

And would this former president welcome the title of first gentleman?

"I really don't care what I'm called," Clinton said. "I got to be president for eight years. People can call me whatever they want."

While the Clintons talk many times each day, Bill Clinton said they don't get to see each other as much now that the campaign is in full swing. When asked if they send text messages or e-mail, he replied, "No, I don't do that. I call her on the phone. … I want to hear her voice. … You know, you know somebody as well as we do, you just hear the tone in her voice, you know how they're doing."

As for how he's doing, Clinton says his heart surgery in 2004 "made me more grateful for every day I have of life. I realized, you know, that if I hadn't made it through that surgery, I would have still had a life more full, more rich, than the vast majority of people who have ever lived, and I decided that, you know, if people survive for a reason, that my reason should be to give those chances to other people.

"I think it's made me a little more mellow," he said. "I notice how the air smells when the seasons change, something I used to do when I was a boy a lot. Those things mean something to me again, like they did when I was a boy -- just the rhythms of life. So I both love the small things more, and I sweat the small things less."

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