Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton Talk Hillary Clinton's Campaign and How Charlotte Has Changed Everything

"I'm just trying to figure out how to make something good happen," the former president says

By Francesca Bacardi Sep 28, 2015 6:10 PMTags
Watch: Bill Clinton Talks Friendship With Donald Trump

There are few families that have been in the spotlight over the past two decades as much as the Clintons. With Hillary Clinton's presidential run and the ongoing efforts of the Clinton Global Initiative, that focus is only going to intensify in 2016.

On the day of the 10th anniversary of CGI, E! News' Maria Menounos sat down with Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton to discuss everything from Donald Trump to Chelsea's daughter and their lives out of the spotlight.

The former president and Hillary are now a powerful political tag team, but there was a chance that the Clintons might never have existed. Bill reveals to E! News that he once told his now-wife not to marry him because he believed she had incredible potential.

"I once told her, 'I do want you to marry me, but you shouldn't do it,' and she said, 'That's not a very good way to make a sale. What do you mean?'" he recalls. "I said, 'Well, I love you and you're endlessly interesting to me and we'll have a good life, but I think you're the most talented person of our generation for public service and what you should really do is go home to Illinois and run for office, or go to New York and practice law and run for office.'"

Hillary would eventually run and win. But now that she has her sights set on the White House, would Bill once again set his sights on another term for himself?

"When I left the White House, there were a couple of professors for the University of Minnesota, as I remember, law school, who wrote this crazy article saying '6 Different Ways Bill Clinton Can Still Become President,'" he says. "My view is that, whether I could or not, I shouldn't."

He continues, "That is, the intent of the 22nd amendment is to prevent a third term, I think I would be wrong to knowingly put someone in the line of succession who couldn't succeed, so then you'd have to flip over, and you would miss the opportunity, let's say to have someone be vice president, know the job, or to do it.

"I just think it's not going to happen, but I'd be a good advisor."

In addition to supporting Hillary, Bill is focused on CGI's 10th anniversary. "I believe the most important thing is that we changed the nature of philanthropy. It's not just somebody has money, raises money and goes and does one good thing. Now we've created a community in America and around the world were 90 percent plus of our commitments are partnership commitments, very often involving another country's government, as well as business and philanthropy and civil society and nongovernmental organizations. They're all working together, and as a result, they're far more effective. And we keep score; we know more than 80 percent of our commitments are either completed or well on their way to completion. The ones where people work together, they actually exceed what they say they're going to do."

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The GOP contenders are fighting tooth and nail to get the nomination for Hillary, but the former president is quick to point out that some of these people—democrats and republicans—used to be fairly friendly with the Clintons, especially Donald Trump.

"He was very nice to me when I got out of the White House, and he wanted Hillary to come to his wedding. We were down in Florida because he thought she'd done such a good job for New York after 9/11, so we always got along," he explains. "But, I saw that he said at the debates that he always used to be a friend of mine, but now he couldn't be because he's running for president."

"And in that party, he's probably right," he laughs.

Now that Chelsea is a mom and Bill and Hillary are grandparents, they all have their sights on the future for the sake of baby Charlotte Mezvinsky.

"I think my mom, if possible, is more committed this time," Chelsea explains. "I think being a grandmother, which is something she talks a lot about, has just given even greater energy to her race because she feels even more responsible for the future, because she has a granddaughter now in the future."

She adds, "I feel that way as mom, and I didn't know I could be more enthusiastic about my mom running than I was last time, and yet somehow I am, because I'm a mom, and I love my mother, and I'm very unapologetically biased towards her."

Watch: Chelsea Clinton Reveals Daughter Charlotte's First Word

Bill, too, wants to fight for a better future for the sake of his granddaughter. "I feel a greater urgency than ever before to leave her the best possible world to grow up in, and yet I also feel a lot of gratitude every day," he gushes. "I keep telling people, I have no good political judgment anymore because I'm not mad at anybody. I know everybody is so mad today; I'm just trying to figure out how to make something good happen."

Now that Charlotte is starting to speak, she might have an opinion or two about her grandmother's campaign. Until then, the Clintons will just have to compete over Charlotte saying mom or dad first.

"She says words. The first one was 'up,' which I think was really pretty good," Chelsea tells E! News. "And then 'hi' and 'bye.' 'Dada did come before mama, but thankfully 'mama' came before 'Elmo.' So it was good I beat Elmo."

A year into life with Charlotte, Chelsea and husband Mark Mezvinsky have mostly figured out the work-life balance, but like everyone else, they know there will be tough times. Fortunately, they can rely on each other.

"So just recognizing that it has to be a fluent balance, that I'm passionately about my work even more so now as a mom, and I want to do whatever I can to build a world I want Charlotte to grow up in," Chelsea explains.

"Most importantly she has to know how grateful and excited I am every day to be her mom. It's a balance and I think it works out, and if Mark and I ever start to stray, we'll make sure we're with what's most important, but I don't think we'll need that reminder."

How else has Charlotte changed the family dynamic? "I think one of the most surprising parts about becoming a mom is what a just joy it has been to see my parents as grandparents and to see how much they love her and how interested they are in every part of her life, whether that's helping give her a bottle or read her a story before she goes to bed," Chelsea says. "It's just been such a joy."

"Charlotte's now the center of everything—as she should be," she adds.

Seeing Chelsea as a working mom makes Bill's heart swell with pride. "She has my level, almost limitless energy—although Hillary kept a schedule of Secretary of State and is now keeping one that I would have a hard time keeping up with," he tells E! News. "And she's got her mother's sense of duty, above all to go do something good. That Methodist commitment she was raised with. Do all the good you can, wherever you can, however you can and for as long as you can."

For more from Bill and Chelsea Clinton, tune-in to E! News at 7 and 11 p.m.!