COMMENT: THE BIG PITCH - How can former President Clinton improvehis tarnished public image?


Former press secretary to Presidents Reagan and Bush

Washington, DC

He's got to undo the damage his reputation has taken over the past few

weeks. I'd move to cheaper quarters in New York, first of all. (Ed: it

looks like he's already taking this advice.) He should cut down on what

he's spending for them to about $200,000. He should also release

a list of donors to his presidential library, and he needs to give a

fuller explanation of his pardons, which have been a particular source

of criticism. I don't think he's capable of change though. What you're

asking him to do is somehow develop some sense of shame, which he has

never demonstrated in the past. I think the only thing that will work

for him is to stay out of sight and I know he can't do that either. I

guarantee he will be in more trouble as time goes by. I think he knows

that and his attitude is 'who cares?'



Pingel Blanchard Schaefer Public Relations

Arlington, TX

Moving forward, the former president should mimic just about everything

Jimmy Carter has ever done, post presidency. He should distance himself

from Hollywood, roll up his sleeves and get out and be an ambassador to

the common man. Clinton has Teflon skin when it comes to his

liberal/democratic base. That's a given. To create a better image for

history and posterity, he must concentrate on his poor image with the

Republicans. Community service - like hammering nails with Jimmy and

Habitat for Humanity - is something of which everyone approves

Obviously, Clinton will need to avoid scandals, which may be a full-time

job for him. His most challenging task will be to appear supportive of

Senator Hillary Clinton, while not taking a back seat to her in the

public eye. That potential power struggle may show what the former first

couple's marriage is really made of.


Director, Public Relations

Triad, Larkspur, CA

Although Former President Clinton is highly favored by the public and

the media, he is also recognized as someone who may have acted

dishonestly and unethically with the American public. Moving forward, he

needs to position himself as the supportive husband, international

statesman, and expert political strategist. He must emphasize his

success in dealing with international policy and the economy. He would

do well to portray himself as an elder statesman - someone who can speak

and is most knowledgeable in the arena of political survival skills and

world diplomatic relations.

An emphasis on his 'comeback kid' persona may play well. Everyone loves

a survival story and Clinton's is a remarkable one. I would reorient the

public to his indomitable nature in the face of adversity and the

substantial results from his eight-year tenure. Those are the keys to

the kingdom.


VP, corporate communications & government relations

Nashville Public Television - WDCN,

Nashville, TN

Former President Clinton probably knows that to earn recognition for his

presidential contributions, while restoring any reputation he might have

lost, he would do well to put personal spiritual recovery before all

else, and to serve others as they ask to be served. Bill Clinton has a

very rare opportunity to become known as one of America's most

plain-spoken and insightful observers, and one of the nation's most

humble servants.

If in the course of these efforts, Clinton becomes perceived as having

gained greater humility and wisdom, then he might one day deserve to be

known as the de Tocqueville of America's soul during these trying days

of the early 21st century. What does all this suggest for the public

relations person Clinton might hire? Support Clinton as pilgrim, not as


Support him as servant, not as seer. Support him as patriot or prodigal,

but not as pariah.

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