Romney: Bill Clinton not as ‘relevant’ as Hillary, won’t impact potential White House bid

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(CNN) — Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Hillary Clinton, should she decide to launch a campaign for the White House, will not be judged by her husband’s record in the Oval Office.

“I don’t think Bill Clinton is as relevant as Hillary Clinton if she decides to run for president,” Romney said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“In her case, I think people will look at her record as the secretary of state and say, during that period of time, did our relations with nations around the world elevate America and elevate our interests, or were they receding? I think her record is what she will be judged upon, not the record of her husband.”

Bill Clinton’s sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, while it “embarrassed the nation,” should not affect Hillary Clinton’s chances should she decide to launch a presidential campaign, he said.

“The times when (Bill) was president were by and large positive economic times for the country. On the other hand, he embarrassed the nation. He breached his responsibility, I think, as an adult and as a leader in his relationship. And I think that’s very unfortunate, but I don’t think that’s Hillary Clinton’s to explain. She has her own record, her own vision for where she would take the country.”

Romney’s comments stand in contrast to Republicans who have, in recent weeks, tied Hillary Clinton to her husband’s scandal. Sen. Rand Paul has said that Bill Clinton’s history taints Democrats’ record as they argue that the GOP is waging a war on women.

“If they want to take a position on women’s rights, by all means do. But you can’t do it and take it from a guy who was using his position of authority to take advantage of young women in the workplace,” Paul said in an interview with C-SPAN.

The Kentucky Republican, who is also seriously considering a bid for president in 2016, has said Democrats should return any money they raised with the help of the former president, who was impeached in 1998 by the House for lying about his relationship with Lewinsky.

For his part, Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who has been in the public eye more in recent weeks, has said a 2016 run isn’t in the cards for him, despite speculation that there could be support for a third Romney campaign.

“The answer is no, I’m not running for president in 2016. It’s time for someone else to take that responsibility, and I’ll be supporting our nominee,” Romney said on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

By Dana Davidsen

CNN’s Dennis Ting contributed to this report.