Some question Clinton's role as ex-president who's involved in politics





Bill Clinton was already working the crowd with a vociferous appeal to vote for his wife when the dozens of people jostling to get inside the auditorium provoked a campaign worker to cry out, "Adults should not be acting this way!"

Coincidentally, Clinton's sharp-elbowed advocacy leading up to Saturday's South Carolina primary is prompting some pundits and fellow Democrats to ask a similar question: Should a former president be acting this way?...

Clinton fans who have come out to see him in South Carolina -- where he has emerged as primary spokesman for his wife's campaign -- say they believe he is acting the way any husband would if his wife's career was on the line. Hillary Clinton made much the same argument during Monday night's contentious debate with Obama, saying, "I think we both have very passionate and committed spouses who stand up for us."

But Bill Clinton is no ordinary spouse.

And several historians said he is redefining what it means to be a former president. They had to reach back generations to find a few lonely examples of ex-presidents waging political warfare, such as when Harry Truman opposed John F. Kennedy's nomination or when John Quincy Adams won election to Congress after losing the presidency to Andrew Jackson. While Jimmy Carter is vocal with his opinions, they say, he has steered clear of internal Democratic Party politics.

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    Vernon Clayson - 1/26/2008

    The Clintons play by their own rules, their lust for power and prestige and the riches that go with it know no bounds. In truth we should be as weary of them as we are of Jimmy Carter and his dreary existance. The popularity is Bill Clintons, not hers, his supporters want him back in the White House, even in a lesser and unofficial roll, if she is elected he will overshadow her and whoever is unlucky enough to be vice-president will have no voice, although they may have him tell us what Bill wants.

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