Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson caught up with former President Bill Clinton for his take on his wife's bid for the Oval Office while interviewing Democratic candidate Senator Hillary Clinton for the November issue of ESSENCE
ESSENCE: What has been your role in your wife’s political career? What has your role been in her presidential campaign so far? And, how do you see your role changing as the campaign proceeds? If she is elected president, what do you see yourself doing as First Gentleman?
BILL CLINTON: I’ve tried to strongly support her in whatever way I could help, and I really enjoy it. Hillary spent the better part of three decades supporting me throughout my political career and now it’s her time. Before being elected to the Senate, she had never been elected to any office in her entire life, but she was always involved in public service. All that service, the fine work she did when I was President, and her outstanding record in the Senate have prepared her well for the presidency. And she has the best combination of mind and heart that I have ever seen. I’ll do whatever she asks me to do for her campaign. And if she is elected, I will serve in whatever capacity the President determines is best for America.
ESSENCE: What advice in general have you given her in her campaign?
CLINTON: To be herself and stay positive.
ESSENCE: This is the first time that anyone who has actually been president before will be returning to the White House without the authorities he once had.
CLINTON: I am grateful for the eight years I served and believe I left office with America and the world in better shape. It would be an honor and duty to help Hillary in any way I could. I am very comfortable with her having the final say.
ESSENCE: What would America be getting with the two of you in the White House? A senator-turned-president and a husband who has been president before: How do you perceive that working on a practical level in terms of decision-making?
CLINTON: She would make the decisions. I would give advice when asked and serve when asked.