Louis Lanzano  /  AP
Clinton says his own book, to be released Jun 22, "will not detract in any way” from this year's presidential campaign.
updated 5/27/2004 5:41:10 PM ET 2004-05-27T21:41:10

Former President Clinton said Thursday that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is smart not to comment daily on every development in Iraq because “he recognizes that he’s not the president.”

Speaking at his office in Harlem, Clinton said he didn’t think the Massachusetts senator was running “too safe a campaign” as some political strategists have suggested. Among the criticism is that Kerry is failing to exploit increasing skepticism about President Bush’s handling of the war.

“He recognizes that he’s not the president, and he’s not, he’s the candidate for president, he’s not somebody that’s supposed to give day-by-day commentary on events,” Clinton said. “He’s made quite clear what he believes about the major issues in the news today, and I think he’s shown a certain reticence.”

'Quite appropriate'
The former president said that “given the seriousness of the problems we face in the world today, I think it’s been quite appropriate.”

Clinton said Kerry should be focused on letting “the American people get to know him, who he is, what he’s for, what he wants to do, and then clarify, on his terms, the differences between himself and the president.”

Clinton on occasion offers campaign advice to the Democratic candidate. Kerry aides have said the former president will play a prominent role at the Democratic convention July 26-29 in Boston.

The former president dismissed suggestions that his memoirs, to be released June 22, will steal the spotlight from Kerry.

“I think that it will not detract in any way,” Clinton said. “I hope it will make citizens believe in politics more and believe in the importance of elections more and understand the honest differences between the two parties more.”

“My Life,” expected to be about 900 pages, has a first print run of 1.5 million copies.

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