June 3, 2003 in Politics

Term Limits

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Former President Clinton wants back in the White House. Current constitutional rules don’t allow, but Comedian Al Franken has an idea.

Newsweek, June 9th issue:
Bill Clinton is the Beltway buzz after suggesting last week that the 22nd Amendment be changed to allow presidents to seek a third term. Without it, he said unironically, “you’d have had to throw me out”—failing to mention that Congress nearly did. But it turns out that if Clinton is yearning to return to the Oval Office, he might not need to change the Constitution. Here’s the farfetched but arguably constitutional scenario: Clinton becomes the vice presidential running mate in 2004 for a Democrat who agrees to resign after being sworn in so that Clinton can ascend to the top job. Why would it work? Because the 22nd Amendment only bars someone who has been “elected” to serve two terms. Comedian Al Franken, a Democrat and Clinton friend, floated the notion last week. “You get Carrot Top or Strom Thurmond—or me—to run, then they step down,” he said. Scholars such as Allan J. Lichtman and Darrell West agree that Franken has a point, though the strategy would prompt an instant Supreme Court review. A Clinton spokesman dismissed the notion, though he added that his boss would relish seeing “a Franken-Bush debate.”
—Howard Fineman

Btw, here is what President Clinton actually said to historian Michael Beschloss at the JFK Library and Museum last week:

“There may come a time when we have elected a president at age 45 or 50 and then 20 years later the country comes up with the same sort of problems the president faced before, and the people would like to bring that man or woman back.

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