Bill Clinton
David Lienemann  /  AP
Former President Bill Clinton campaigns for his wife at Davenport Central High School in Davenport, Iowa, on Tuesday.
updated 12/21/2007 8:11:21 AM ET 2007-12-21T13:11:21

Former President Clinton says his wife is a "world-class genius" when it comes to improving the lives of others.

Clinton stuck mostly to familiar themes in two hour-long appearances Thursday, describing at length what he views as the nation's biggest challenges. Nearly 15 minutes into his first speech, he added almost as an afterthought that "everything I'm saying here is my wife's position, not just mine."

It was his third trip to New Hampshire in little more than a month, and the visit came the day before Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton was to return to the Granite State for two days of campaigning.

Calling the ability to help others the most important quality in a president, Clinton first compared the successes of his administration in creating jobs and other areas to the failures of the Bush administration before finally turning the focus to his wife, a New York senator.

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"The reason she ought to be president, over and above her vision and her plans is that she has proven in every position she has ever had in life, whether it was in elected office or not, that she is a world-class genius in making positive changes in other people's lives," he said.

Hails senator's experience
Change vs. experience has been a theme of the Democratic presidential race, and Clinton said the two are not mutually exclusive.

Again, he defended himself before praising Hillary Clinton, calling it an oversimplification to say that in 1992, he was the change candidate to George H.W. Bush's experience.

"When I came here, I was 46, but I was the senior governor in America," Bill Clinton said. "I had worked hard on the very economic issues I said I'd try work on as president for years and years and years."

Clinton lauded his wife for her early work for the Children's Defense Fund, her efforts to improve education in Arkansas when he was the state's governor and her work in the U.S. Senate, repeatedly and forcefully calling her "an agent of change."

"She's got the right vision, big plans and a proven ability to change lives for the better. Experience and change are only opposed in values if you're so experienced you don't have any energy left and you can't cut it, or if your experience is in fighting change," he said. "But if you know how to do things, and you prove it over a long time that you can make change in other people's lives, I think that is a pretty strong recommendation."

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

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