"I think the mistake that I made is to think that I was a spouse like any other spouse who could defend his candidate," Bill Clinton told a TV reporter in Maine today. "I think I can promote Hillary but not defend her because I was president. I have to let her defend herself or have someone else defend her."
We are back to the meaning-of-is era with the former president redefining the charges and evading answers. In the uproar over his behavior on the campaign trail, no one begrudged him the right to "defend" his wife.
What was in question was his distortion of Barack Obama's anti-war positions ("fairy tale") and his attempt to pass off Sen. Clinton's loss as a racial aberration by citing Jesse Jackson previous victories in South Carolina.
Her campaign has promised a new, improved Bill Clinton, but apparently we will get only the post-Monica version, admitting nothing and still trying to slide away from the consequences of his behavior.
The good news, for what it's worth, is the chastened former President's promise to keep a low profile if Mrs. Clinton is elected.
"I will do what I'm asked to do," he said today. "I will not be in the Cabinet. I will not be on the staff full-time. I will not in any way interfere with the work of a strong vice president, strong secretary of State, strong secretary of Treasury."
But that leaves out Chief of Staff, Press Secretary and a lot of other Cabinet positions.