Bill Bradley is waging "a very credible campaign" for the Democratic nomination, and George W. Bush had better not write off Arizona Sen. John McCain's challenge for the GOP nod, says President Clinton.
In an interview for today's premiere of CBS's "Early Show," Clinton said he would play "no official" role in either Vice President Gore's presidential campaign or Hillary Rodham Clinton's bid for the Senate in New York.
But he couldn't resist a little political analysis.
Asked his opinion about Gore's struggles to get his campaign on track, Clinton lauded his deputy for moving his headquarters back to Tennessee and for his performance in last week's exchange with Bradley in New Hampshire. He also said it is too early to worry about polls.
"Bill Bradley is an intelligent, a compelling man with a good life story and a lot of friends built up in professional basketball and 18 years in the Senate and all the other things he's done," said the president. "And he's running a very credible campaign."
Clinton said people want to see Gore "out there establishing his own identity with his own programs for the future." If the vice president does that, "I think he will be nominated," Clinton continued.
As for the front-runner in the Republican nominating race, Clinton warned that Bush should not take the GOP nomination for granted. "I don't think Senator McCain is out of this yet. I think he's a very credible alternative," Clinton said.
Regarding the first lady, Clinton said he does not mind that he will not be the candidate in the family next year.
"It's so funny because our roles are almost completely reversed now," he said. "All the things that she did for me over more than 20 years, all the encouragement, reminders, helpful suggestions, everything. . . . And I'm enjoying it. I'm trying to do a good job in my new role."