March 22, 2006 in Nation/World

Elections nearing, Clintons watch words

Kenneth R. Bazinet New York Daily News
 

WASHINGTON – After being surprised by her husband’s role in the Dubai ports deal, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has insisted that Bill Clinton give her “final say” over what he says and does, well-placed sources said.

The former president agreed to give his wife a veto to avoid his habit of making controversial headlines that could hurt her chances of returning to the White House, multiple sources told the New York Daily News.

“He knows it’s Hillary’s time now,” said an adviser close to both Clintons who expects to play a key role in her likely 2008 presidential campaign.

Hillary Clinton’s handlers are keeping a close rein on the former president’s schedule to try to prevent another embarrassing miscue like their competing roles in the Dubai ports deal.

While she was blasting the Bush administration for allowing Dubai to run six of the country’s ports, he was advising Dubai on how to sell the deal.

“Hillary has final say,” said the adviser, and the ex-president’s staff has been warned not to do or say anything without running it by the senator’s handlers.

“That was true in the White House during the (2000) Senate campaign,” recalled another longtime aide who stayed close to the ex-president after he left office. “If he said the sky was blue and she said the sky was purple, then the sky was purple.”

Hillary Clinton’s aides denied that her husband’s comments have been a liability but concede she is calling the shots.

“Since she got elected five years ago and given their hectic schedules, it is more interesting how little there has been of this,” said the senator’s campaign spokeswoman Ann Lewis, referring to their contradictory statements. “She is the elected official. She makes the ultimate decisions,” Lewis said.

Bill Clinton’s spokesman Jay Carson added, “Anyone who says he is doing everything he can to help her get re-elected is absolutely right.”


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