All the things Bill Clinton can do if Hillary is elected president

Bill Clinton on future role
Bill Clinton on future role 05:16

Ahead of the final Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York, “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose asked former President Bill Clinton the question that everyone is wondering.

“If your wife is president – and you’ve answered it a thousand times, but help me understand it with a bigger and better answer – what might you do?” Rose asked.

“Well, first of all, let’s start on a lighter note. There was a great article in one of the papers the other day or a magazine, saying that I should really be a first lady,” Clinton said. “That is, and I -- I needed to help accomplish the full transformation of the gender role.”

But “first and foremost,” Clinton said, his role should be to “do whatever I am asked to do.”

“That is, if Hillary wins, I’d be both a president, former president, and a spouse,” Clinton said. “So I think I should make those roles as consistent as possible, by saying to the president and the senior advisors, ‘Whatever you want me to do, I will do.’ I should do that. I should serve.”

Bill Clinton on Hillary's health 04:52

The former president said he’s had a “wonderful life for the last 15 years” having the “longest job” he’s ever had, running the Clinton Foundation.

“Yeah and it’s you know, we’ve saved millions of lives and created -- Lord only knows how many jobs. And I’ve loved it,” Clinton said. “So this is a new challenge for me. And it will be a new role to define. So it’s very important that my wishes be way the last thing to be considered here.”

“But your talent should be the first thing,” Rose said. “Whatever it is.”

“That’s right. And the needs of the country. So there are lots of things I could do,” Clinton said. “I’d like to be sent to all these places and then left out and left behind. I believe this country is so close to being able to really grow again in a way that lifts everybody -- close. I think the things we need to do are affordable, achievable, and fairly straightforward. I think they’re threatened by political gridlock at home and trouble around the world, trouble in terms of slow growth, trouble in terms of turmoil.”

Clinton admitted that having been “in the weeds for 15 years,” he is not “as good as I used to be in politics.” But he is still confident of what he could bring if he is sent just about anywhere.  

“But if you sent me to Puerto Rico to figure out how they could work their way out of bankruptcy, I could do that. If you sent me to an Indian country and figured out how they could diversify their economy by selling... solar energy and using the cash to do something else and getting affordable broadband, I could do that.” Clinton said.  “If you sent me to Coal Country and figured out how we could use the new market tax credit to get them a whole different economy, I could do that. I’d be good at that I think.”

But there’s one thing he doubts.

Bill Clinton on donors' access 04:58

“Suppose she wants to send you to make sure she wins this election, can you do that?” Rose asked.

“I don’t know. You know, I don’t know because I’m not-- maybe I’m not mad enough at anybody. You know, I really have learned that we waste so much of our lives at these outbursts of anger,” Clinton said. “I still think answers work better than anger. And I still think empowerment works better than, you know, division. And I think that responsibility’s better than resentment. That’s just what I think. It’s simple, straight-forward, that’s what I believe.”

Despite his pride for his family’s foundation, the Clinton Foundation has been mired in controversies, regarding its ties to the State Department​and foreign donors​, clouding its charitable work around the world. 

Rose asked Clinton what is “the most important thing the Clinton Foundation achieved.”

“We got the world’s cheapest AIDS medicine to more than half the people on Earth who are alive with it including more than two-thirds of the kids. We built an organization that helped 430 million people in 180 countries just by getting people together, including organizing the first 500 tons of medical equipment to the Ebola epidemic, and it didn’t cost the tax payers a penny,” Clinton said. “And we made life better for a lot of Americans. We created jobs and saved lives. I’m proud of that. We got caught trying.”