Bill Clinton, who broke his pledge to serve a full term as governor in Arkansas so he could run for president, argued on Larry King Wednesday night that Hillary shouldn't have to make the same type of pledge in her re-election campaign. Why? Well, because she might have to break it:
[Mr. Clinton] said Mrs. Clinton should not rule out the possibility of running for president in 2008, even if that means she cannot pledge to serve out a full second term.
In running for re-election, Mrs. Clinton will almost certainly be buffeted by Republican demands that she pledge to serve out her term if she wins.
In discussing the matter, Mr. Clinton suggested that his wife follow the strategy George W. Bush employed when he ran for a second term as governor of Texas in 1998: He refused to rule out the possibility of cutting short his second term in office to become president.
"If she wants to entertain that, she ought to do pretty much what President Bush did," Mr. Clinton said during an appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Wednesday.
"He didn't rule it out, and he shouldn't have ruled it out," Mr. Clinton continued. "He wanted to be in a position to continue his service as governor, and he had things he wanted to accomplish there. I think he was truthful and candid with the people in Texas, and they knew he might run."
Interestingly enough, Mr. Clinton faced a similar predicament when he was running for re-election as governor of Arkansas in 1990. Mr. Clinton pledged to serve out his four-year term at the time. But he broke that pledge in 1992 to run for president.
Oh, the irony is thick. And there are so many psychological layers to this: is Clinton implicitly apologizing for breaking his pledge, or trying to suggest that the people of Arkansas "knew he might run" too? (PS Here's the full transcript.)
Previous entries on Hillary '08:
-The implausible scheming behind Hillary '08 (5/31/05)
-Novak: GOP insiders predict Hillary vs. Allen in 2008 (5/14/05)
-Tomorrow's anti-Hillary agitprop today (5/11/05)
-Joe Klein takes a stand against Clinton/Bush dominance (5/10/05)
-Will Hillary escape a pledge not to run for president? (5/6/05)
-How to make a political scientist cry -- Scott Rasmussen's "Hillary Meter" (5/4/05)
-Why is Hillary running for re-election in '06? (4/19/05)
-No on any Clinton or Bush in 2008 (1/24/05)
-Chait on Hillary (11/27/04)
-Hillary and the upstate myth (11/15/04)
-Is Hillary a "good closer"? (11/8/04)