Video: Bill: I wouldn't try to influence Hillary

updated 10/5/2007 2:39:32 PM ET 2007-10-05T18:39:32

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has said his wife wants him to lead efforts to rebuild the United States' tarnished reputation abroad if she is elected to the White House next year.

The former president made the comments in interviews released Friday in Britain where he was fundraising for Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic Party nomination for next year's presidential election.

Clinton was asked what his public role might be if his wife becomes president, in interviews with The Guardian newspaper and British Broadcasting Corp. television.

"What Hillary has said is that if she were elected she would ask me, and others — including former Republican presidents — to go out and immediately try to restore America's standing, go out and tell people America was open for business and cooperation again," he was quoted as telling The Guardian newspaper.

He said for the first time in his political experience, "ordinary Americans in the heartlands" were concerned about how the world sees the U.S. after years of unilateralism of U.S. President George W. Bush's administration on issues such as Iraq, climate change, and nuclear nonproliferation.

"The collective effect of that was to enrage the world at the very moment when we had more world support than we've had in recent memory because of 9/11. It was an unbelievable turnaround," Clinton was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

Clinton hails N. Korea accord
As an example of how the U.S. can win by working with others, Clinton pointed to the six-nation North Korea arms talks this week, where Pyongyang committed to disabling its main nuclear facilities by year-end.

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

In addition to a fundraising event for his wife, Clinton was in Britain to promote his new book about philanthropy, "Giving."

Since leaving office in 2000, he has dedicated himself into promoting global philanthropy through his foundation.

Last week, he hosted his third annual Clinton Global Initiative, a forum where world leaders from the world of politics, business, entertainment and nonprofit organizations discuss climate change, poverty, health care and education.

Participants are expected to commit time or money to the conference's big issues and those who do not fulfill their pledges are not invited back.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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