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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2007, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
Clinton relaxed over Hillary bid
Bill Clinton at a book signing in London (04/10)
Mr Clinton said there would only be one president in the White House

Former US President Bill Clinton has told the BBC he would take a back seat in the White House should his wife Hillary be elected president in 2008.

Mr Clinton said he was not worried by the prospect, and told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 that he would not be a "president by proxy".

He would be "the happiest person on earth" if she was elected, adding that his wife would make a great president.

Mr Clinton said he could take a role promoting the US around the world.

The new President Clinton, he added, would be the only one making policy decisions.

Clear asset

Mr Clinton did not rule out giving Mrs Clinton advice once she was installed in the White House.

There was a period there after 9/11... which I think really alienated a lot of the world
Bill Clinton
Former US president
But he said he could best imagine his role as helping "restore America's standing in the world and build more allies and get us to work together again".

"You can see with the recent success of the North Korea nuclear effort that when America moves from unilateralism to working through and with others it works pretty well," he said.

US foreign policy - notably the invasion of Iraq - meant the US had "squandered" much widespread global support after the 11 September 2001 attacks.

"There was a period there after 9/11 when we decided on a go-it-alone, my way or the highway approach, which I think really alienated a lot of the world," Mr Clinton said.

High profile

The former president has emerged as a clear asset in his wife's campaign for the White House.

In a new poll for the Washington Post and ABC News, a majority said they would be comfortable with him as a "first spouse".

If elected Hillary Clinton would be the first woman president of the United States.

A campaigner for women's rights, healthcare and job creation, she has a high profile both at home and internationally.

As a senator from New York she has become a key figure in the congressional Democratic party.

Mr Clinton also spoke to the Today programme about his new book, Giving: How Each Of Us Can Change the World, in which he urges people to do what they can to change the world for the better, regardless of income, available time, age and skills.

UK radio listeners can hear the full interview with Bill Clinton on Friday 5 October on BBC Radio 4 at 0810 BST (0710 GMT).

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