Clinton Offers Bill Of Support For Wife

Former President Bill Clinton went on the Sunday shows to discuss his philanthropy, but it was the 2008 presidential campaign — and the candidacy of his wife, in particular — that dominated the interviews.

She would be "the decider" in the White House, he said.

Bill Clinton made that remark when he was asked to explain a slogan from the 1992 campaign: A vote for the Clintons is “buy one, get one free.”

“Is it more true now than it was then?” George Stephanopoulos asked on ABC’s "This Week."

“I think if you mean you get two people with reasonable talent working hard for America, that is true,” Clinton said. “But I don’t want people to be under an illusion that you have two, in effect, independent policymakers.

“It is important for people to know that she will be the policymaker, the decider,” he added, appropriating a phrase popularized by President Bush last year.

On NBC and ABC, Clinton gushed about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). He reminisced about their law school days. He lavished praise on her performance in last week’s debate and laughed when he was shown a clip of her disagreeing with a past statement of his on torture.

“I loved it!” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” his face red. “That was the best moment in the debate.”

He said he would do anything she asks of him.

“I should be available to help her with specific foreign policy problems and maybe to help promote her domestic agenda,” he said.

So who is likely to get the Republican nomination?

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, if he can hold onto his leads in Iowa and New Hampshire without moving up in the national polls, Clinton said. Or former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, if he can keep his lead once his rivals begin attacking him more directly, Clinton added.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) isn’t out of the running, Clinton said.

“He can surprise,” he said.

On former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.): “If you just take his profile, he is the one they’d like to vote for.”

But he has hurt chances by looking unprepared, failing to offer an opinion when asked about the Terri Schiavo case or playing down the importance of capturing Osama bin Laden in the fight against terrorism, Clinton said.

“He can still play in this thing,” Clinton said, “but he has to create a clear image with the voters without sacrificing enough murkiness that the independents can still come to him.”

“All four of them can still win,” Clinton said.

And the only dark horse is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. “He is the best speaker they got,” Clinton said.

Bill and Newt think alike. 

A day after Newt Gingrich passed on the 2008 campaign, citing his desire to continue work on his fledgling nonprofit, American Solutions, the former House speaker was back to punditry.

Gingrich, on ABC’s “This Week,” handicapped the Republican field.

“Both Giuliani and Romney are beginning to articulate really dramatic change,” Gingrich said. “Huckabee is very fresh. If he can find money, he will be dramatically competitive over almost night.”

Republicans should not try to beat Hillary Clinton by attacking her personally, he added, calling such a strategy “insane” because she is already so well-known. Go after her on policy areas where a majority of voters hold a position different from Clinton’s, such as making English the official language of the United States, he said.

“Let’s take a very solid professional, a competent person, and ask, ‘Is this the direction we want to go?’” Gingrich said of Clinton. Republicans need a “candidate who can calmly and cheerfully and pleasantly draw that contrast: She’s terrific person, works hard. She is just wrong.”

It’s all politics! No it’s not! 

It looks like Washington is digging in its heels over expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) suggested that the Democratic-controlled Congress would continue to send back the same bill to the president that he plans to veto.

The bill provides $60 billion for the program over the next five years, up $35 billion from the current spending levels. President Bush opposes it, calling it an expansion of government-run health care.

“Speaker Pelosi has said — and I agree with her — she will try to send this issue back to the president over again because it is so needed, so desperately needed,” Schumer said on “Fox News Sunday.”

That statement made Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) squirm in the Fox studio.

“That shows it is just totally politics,” Lott said. “We need to sit down and make changes so we can actually get broader support so the president can sign it."

“The president, the only thing he has gone for is to cut 1 million kids off. That is not compromise,” Schumer said.

“He is going to have to compromise,” Lott said, “and so are you, Chuck.”