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9:19 AM, Jan 26, 2008 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
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St. Helena Island, South Carolina
At the risk of picking nits, President Clinton was asked a question tonight about what role he would play in his wife's administration. Here's how he responded:

I will do everything I can to help her think through these problems. I will not be in her cabinet - it's not lawful. I will not [take a] job in the White House - it is not wise. You want the president to have a strong and independent team of people who can be free to do their job and don't feel like they're being big-footed. You want her to have a strong vice president and a strong secretary of state and a strong cabinet.

If I do anything else it should be something that comes out of our government's consensus that there's a problem XYZ somewhere in the world that I can be especially helpful with. Otherwise I am perfectly content to give her my advice and do what I'm asked to do and maybe help sell the domestic program.

So if those are the limits of what is wise to allow a First Spouse to do, then why was Hillary Clinton given - at least by his and her accounts - a role in the White House so enormous that it became the cornerstone of her résumé for the Senate and now the presidency?