Bill Clinton and Stephen Colbert discuss Bernie Sanders’ appeal: People ‘think the system is rigged’
Former president references Hillary Clinton’s appearance on Saturday Night Live as he takes no credit for real estate billionaire’s campaign
Bill Clinton has refused to take credit – or blame – for Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s White House bid, while calling the mercurial real-estate mogul the “most interesting character out there”.
Appearing on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show on Tuesday, the host asked Clinton to set the record straight about a private phone conversation that took place between the former president and the would-be president in the weeks before Trump declared his candidacy and subsequently upended the 2016 race.
“I get credit for doing a lot of things I didn’t do,” Clinton joked, before suggesting that Trump may have forgot why he called in the first place by the time Clinton phoned him back.
“I had very pleasant conversation with him, and it wasn’t about running for office,” Clinton told Colbert. “So I missed the chance.”
Clinton said Trump was a “master brander” and that was one of the reasons for him doing so well in the polls.
Trump, of course, was not the only candidate in the race that Colbert wanted to ask about.
“Please try to be impartial here,” came the question. “Who do you think is most qualified to hold office in 2016?”
“The lady I saw singing on Saturday Night Live,” said Clinton, referring to his wife’s recent performance on SNL , in which she played a bartender named Val opposite her doppelgänger, who played Hillary Clinton.
“Yeah, that Val woman was wonderful,” Colbert agreed.
Clinton laughed: “Made me want to take a drink with her.”
Clinton’s appearance on The Late Show comes a few weeks after vice-president Joe Biden’s powerful interview with Colbert during which the men shared their experiences of losing close relatives and discussed whether he would run for president.
“Look,” Biden told Colbert, “I don’t think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president, and [number] two that they can look at folks out there and say ‘I promise you, you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy and my passion to do this’, and I would be lying if I said I knew I was there.”
Biden continues to wrestle with the decision as he grieves the loss of his eldest son, Beau Biden, a former Delaware attorney general, who died of cancer in May at age 46. With each passing day speculation mounts about the vice-president’s political plans. Both he and his political advisers have reached out to political donors and Democratic leaders to ensure he has the resources to run, in the event he decides to do so.
The prospect of a Biden candidacy looms as a potential threat to Hillary Clinton, who has proven increasingly vulnerable in recent weeks.
The fallout over her decision use a private email server during her tenure as US secretary of state has plagued her campaign, taking a toll on her favorability and trustworthiness ratings. And in crucial early caucus and primary states her poll ratings have steadily declined in recent months while her leading rival for the Democratic nomination, the Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, surges ahead in some polls in Iowa and New Hampshire.
In an interview with CNN last week Bill Clinton said Republicans and the media were exaggerating the email scandal to make the race for the White House more competitive.
“I think that there are lots of people who wanted there to be a race for different reasons,” Clinton said to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. “And they thought the only way they could make it a race was a full-scale frontal assault on her. And so this email thing became the biggest story in the world.”
Asked by Colbert about Sanders’s popularity, the former president said the senator’s message was attractive to people who believed the system was rigged.
“There are a lot of people all over the world that are really hyped off,” Clinton said. “They think the system is rigged against them and the rich get all the gains. And in America a lot of them believe that the Republicans have been rewarded for going … the furthest to the right, so the Democrats would be even more effective if they moved to the left.”
Clinton has so far played a marginal role in his wife’s campaign for the White House. He hosted a pair of high-dollar fundraisers in Chicago last month and will headline another in Michigan on Wednesday.
At the start of the show Colbert introduced Clinton by saying: “People used to call him our first black president. Soon they may get to call him our second black first lady.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015
Watch video of the interview below: