News Tip: Can Bill Clinton Play a Supporting Role? Duke Expert Comments

Duke historian comments on Bill Clinton’s supporting role in his wife’s presidential campaign

Bill Clinton hits the campaign trail today on behalf of his wife, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Duke University historian William Chafe, author of a book about the Clintons, comments.

• Quotes: “For decades, Hillary and Bill Clinton have been a team,” says Duke University historian William Chafe. “He never could have become president had she not 'saved' him repeatedly.”

• “But in 2008 Bill hurt Hillary with comments that were viewed as racially insensitive, such as a suggestion during a South Carolina campaign stop that Barack Obama was like Jesse Jackson.” 

• “The real question is whether Bill can discipline himself enough this time around to only highlight Hillary's strong points, and make her -- not Bill -- the focus of attention. He probably can. He seems to have turned a corner."

• Bio:

William Chafe, professor emeritus of history at Duke University, is a historian of the      U.S. specializing in civil rights, women's history, and politics. He is the author of many books including the forthcoming volume “Hillary and Bill: The Clintons and the Politics of the Personal.” He is former president of the Organization of American Historians and co-founder of both the Duke Oral History Program and the Center for Documentary Studies.

• Archive video interview:

• For additional comment, contact Chafe at: