Former president Bill Clinton said he could not get elected to the highest office in the land in 2018. But he might be wrong about why.
In a "CBS Sunday Morning" interview, June 3, Clinton said he'd lose the seat because he doesn't like embarrassing people.
"I couldn't be elected anything now 'cause I just don't like embarrassing people. My mother would have whipped me for five days in a row when I was a little boy if I spent all my time badmouthing people like this," he said.
Clinton was describing President Donald Trump's use of Twitter, which has been an outlet for the president's frequent habit of attacking people he does not like or agree with, including fellow Republicans, the FBI and of course Democrats, particularly his 2016 president rival Hillary Clinton, the wife of the former president.
However, it's not likely that "badmouthing" people would have kept the former president from entering the Oval Office in 2018. Some cultural norms have changed significantly since Clinton left the White House nearly two decades ago - including a newfound tolerance from some Americans for profanity from their elected leaders.
A much larger roadblock for Clinton 2018 would have been the #MeToo movement to address sexual misconduct by men in the workplace. And the former president appears not to have fully come to grips with just how little his party would have tolerated someone at the top of the ticket facing the number of workplace sexual harassment allegations that he did when he ran for office.
While president, Clinton had a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern. He recovered from the scandal, which resulted in a vote by the House to impeach him, and went on to be a philanthropist, statesman and the husband of the first woman to win a major party presidential nomination. Lewinsky's post-White House career was not as successful.
Lewinsky wrote in a Vanity Fair essay this year that she "was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position."
"Now, at 44, I'm beginning (just beginning) to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern," she wrote.
Two decades later, in an interview that aired Monday morning on NBC, Clinton said he has never privately apologized to Lewinsky. He also said he would not have handled the situation any differently in 2018 than he did while president.
"If the facts were the same today, I wouldn't," he told NBC New's "Today" correspondent Craig Melvin.
"I don't think it would be an issue," Clinton added. "Because people would be using the facts instead of the imagined facts. ... [A] lot of the facts have been conveniently omitted to make the story work."
It is not clear what facts Clinton is referring to. He did not voluntarily elaborate and Melvin did not ask him to. But Clinton has long argued that his impeachment was part of a right-wing conspiracy to undermine his presidency.
Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee, filed a sexual harassment suit against Clinton in 1994 accusing him of exposing himself to her in a hotel room while he was governor in 1991. It was Jones's lawsuit the led to Clinton's 1998 impeachment; Clinton denied the Lewinsky relationship during a deposition for the Jones case. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in 1998.
The Jones suit would have possibly been a dealbreaker for most Democratic voters in 2018. According to an April Pew Research Center study, more than six in 10 - 62 percent - of Democrats said that men getting away with sexual misconduct at work was a "major problem." Only a third of Republicans said the same thing.
In 2018, the careers of several Democratic lawmakers have ended after similar incidents, even when they've shown much more contrition than Clinton does to this day. And who knows how many men interested in running for politics have now been discouraged from doing so because of the increased intolerance for backing candidates accused of using their power to mistreat women.
But in addition to the lower amount of tolerance for sexual assault allegations from Clinton's party, his continued handling - or mishandling - of the impact of his behavior toward some of the women who worked for him would not have persuaded Democratic voters that he was the best candidate to move America forward.
Story by Eugene Scott. Scott writes about identity politics for The Fix. He was previously a breaking news reporter at CNN Politics.