Philanthropy and the Presidency

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., is getting a solid review of her political campaign from another successful politician in her family, former President Bill Clinton, who tells Charles Gibson that she has "done well" so far and has a "campaign with a purpose" in her run for the White House.

Clinton spoke with Gibson today as his philanthropic summit began in New York. The Clinton Global Initiative brings together government leaders, business executives and philanthropists to promote charitable work, something Clinton said he would continue to do if his wife is elected president.

The following is a partial transcript of his interview with Gibson:

Charles Gibson: We have existed on a sort of model for philanthropy for years and years. You have some money, you give it to a charity, the charity spends it. Are you looking for a new paradigm?

Bill Clinton: Yes, because … the level of philanthropy has expanded quite a lot. … So, with the advent of Internet giving, which has empowered small givers to make a big difference … with donors being more demanding in terms of wanting to know what's the return on the investment they make, the ability of people in their private lives to advance the public interest is greater than ever before.

And what I'm trying to do is to get to that kind of threshold with as many people as I can possibly drag into this kind of work

Gibson: Well, let me get to government in a minute, but when you talk about problems as big as saying, " want to do something about climate change, or I want to do something about world health, or world hunger, or tolerance in the world," is it not a little -- I mean, those problems are so huge … is there a bit of hubris in saying OK … we can do something about these problems?

Clinton: Well, there is if you claim to do something you can't do. … If you're, the nongovernmental sector can do things more cheaply, more effectively, more quickly, but you have to be ruthlessly accountable. You have to quit things that don't work, and you're naive if you think you can do it without some sort of support with the government, so you can take these things to scale.

Working With the President, Again?

Gibson: If the person whom you are supporting were to be again, elected president of the United States, would you use whatever influence you had, on changing her approach, or influencing her approach, with the kinds of issues you talk about?

Clinton: One of the things that I was frustrated about, when I was president, was that I had all these great ideas, and I'd issue all these executive orders, and then you can never be 100 percent sure that they were implemented. And one of the great things I like about running my own foundation is, I can oversee the implementation.

So, I, one of the things I'd kind of like to do is, I don't need to make policy. I know it's not appropriate. She has to make the policy calls. And we have all these Cabinet secretaries to do that. I will be happy to do whatever I'm asked to do around the world. But I also would like to take what I've learned running this foundation, and help to make sure we implement well, implementation, we execute, execute.

And if she's got a new energy policy, I, we want to see it executed as quickly as possible. If there's anything I can do to help that and promote these policies, I would like to. I'm also very grateful that she said if she becomes president she wanted me to continue my foundation work. Because it's really important to me to what I do now.

Gibson: So how would you handicap how she's doing?

Clinton: Oh, I think she's done well. I'm not surprised, but I'm still a little amazed … I'd been in lots of races by the time I ran for president … She ran in 2000, she ran in 2006, she helped me forever and [a] day. But when you're under the gun, it's a little bit different.

And I've just been so proud of the way she handled the pressure so far. She grows every day on the campaign trail, she, she, thinks, you know, keeps her eye on the ball, which is, not just winning but having a campaign with a purpose.

Gibson: President Bush recently, sort of mused about, about presidential succession. And said Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton. And used the word "dynasty." Is that good?

Clinton: In our case, I don't think dynasty is right, because Hillary will win -- will have to win on her own merits. And I believe that, on the merits, I think she's the best-qualified nonincumbent I've had a chance to vote for in 40 years as a voter …

The fact that we happen to have been married, I don't think should disqualify her. … If you go out and you fight fair, and you win it on your own, that's not a dynasty. She gets elected this time, it's not going to be, you're not going out to vote for me for a third term. She's going to get elected, she'll be the president, she'll make the calls. The rest of us will have to do our best to help her succeed. … No, dynasties are not good for America, but it wouldn't be good for America to eliminate someone in consideration, because of what their last name was.

Gibson: Mr. President, appreciate it. Thank you.

Clinton: Thank you.