Bill Defends Hillary (and Himself) on Health Care, Library Contributions

At a press conference this morning at his Clinton Global Initiative conference, Bill Clinton said that he and Hillary Clinton's inability to pass health care reform was not a total failure.

He also said that he would disclose any new contributions to his library if Hillary was elected president.

Talking about health care, Clinton hailed his administration's success in getting a health care bill to committee, something no other president had done. "People say you failed with health care," said Clinton, but he added that “it's a very good thing to fail in the right cause… Politics is an inexact pilgrims progress."

He said that he thinks health care reform will be enacted by the next president, and that the initial credit should go to Harry Truman, who first proposed it, but "did not get as far as I did."

He said Truman's presidency was almost "destroyed" by the failure, and that people said the same critical things about him "as they did about me and Hillary."

Clinton was using health care to help make the point that big, systematic changes take time. In that vein, he said that while people should be "personally impatient" for environment-friendly laws, official government efforts to counter global warming with international carbon markets would take time.

Clinton also bristled at a question about why he has not opened his foundation's archives to public scrutiny, a question Hillary did not answer at last night's debate. "She didn't answer the question last night because we don't believe in one set of rules for us and another set for everybody else," said Clinton.

He said that Hillary was the co-sponsor of a bill that says that every president going forward should disclose the names of contributors to their libraries. "If she becomes president I will treat it as if we are covered by that," said Clinton. "I think that we should all be treated the same," he added. He then said that the people who have already donated to his library should be treated anonymously.