Mitt Romney believes former President Bill Clinton "embarrassed the nation" with the Monica Lewinsky scandal, but doesn't think it will be a factor in 2016 if Hillary Clinton runs for president.
“I think Hillary Clinton, if she becomes a nominee, will have plenty to discuss about her own record,” Romney said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. “I don’t imagine that Bill Clinton is going to be a big part of it.”
But the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican nominee was asked to comment on the 42nd president in light of the GOP's recent "resurrection" of the Clinton White House.
“He embarrassed the nation,” Romney said of Clinton. “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. And I think that's something which will be debated extensively during the 2016 campaign."
Bill Clinton's sexual relationship with Lewinsky, then a 22-year-old White House intern, led to his impeachment in 1998 and subsequent trial. Clinton was eventually acquitted of the impeachment charges.
Last month, Republican Sen. Rand Paul first raised the issue of the Bill Clinton White House, lashing out at Democrats over pushing the idea of a GOP "war on women" while forgiving Clinton for his "predatory" affair.
"The Democrats, one of their big issues is they have concocted and said Republicans are committing a war on women," Paul said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses shouldn't prey on young interns in their office.
"And I think really the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this," the Kentucky senator continued. "He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior, and it should be something we shouldn't want to associate with people who would take advantage of a young girl in his office."
"This isn't having an affair," Paul continued. "I mean, this isn't me saying, 'Oh, he's had an affair, we shouldn't talk to him.' Someone who takes advantage of a young girl in their office? I mean, really. And then [Democrats] have the gall to stand up and say, 'Republicans are having a war on women'? So, yes, I think it's a factor. Now, it's not Hillary's fault. But it is a factor in judging Bill Clinton in history."
While Paul is considered one of several possible candidates for the 2016 GOP nomination, Romney is not among them.
"You know, I'm not Ronald Reagan," Romney said Sunday. "And I'm not running for president. We've got some very good people who are considering the race. And I'm looking forward to supporting someone who I think will have the best shot of defeating whoever it is the Democrats put up."
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- Bill Clinton
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