Is Bill Clinton Next in Line for Hillary's Senate Seat?

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Bill Clinton's bid to become the first former president to return to the White House as first spouse went down in flames with his wife's loss to Barack Obama in the primaries earlier this year.

But with Hillary Clinton expected to be named President-elect Obama's secretary of state on Monday, Bill Clinton can still capitalize on his wife's political success by taking over her New York Senate seat.

The camera-loving New York Sen. Charles Schumer, who reportedly struggled with being overshadowed by Hillary Clinton's star power, is probably shaking in his boots, analysts said.

"Presidents know how to get on camera and Clinton could have Secret Service men run interference for him," said William T. Cunningham, a New York communications executive and former top adviser to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "I could see Schumer getting tackled as Clinton walked on top of him to go on camera."

Robert Shapiro, a professor of political science at Columbia University, said the most appealing part of the job for Bill Clinton, who is known for being long-winded, might be the lack of time restraints on making speeches on the Senate floor.

"The Senate does give someone a platform to show one's statesmanship," he said. "Once you have the floor, you can keep it forever."

Cunningham imagined a desperate Schumer going to Majority Leader Harry Reid to mobilize at least 61 senators to stop Clinton from talking.

Schumer's office did not respond to a request for an interview.

Cunningham also envisioned problems with Clinton standing up each time committee chairmen are addressed as Mr. President.

"It would be so confusing," Cunningham said.

But the most fascinating scenario, according to Cunningham, would be Bill Clinton heading the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and interviewing his wife on her actions as secretary of state.

"A lot of people would be tuning in," he said.

The only former president to serve in Congress after leaving the White House was John Quincy Adams, who won a seat in the House of Representatives after losing his bid for a second presidential term to Andrew Jackson.

President William Howard Taft served on the Supreme Court after he lost his bid for a second term to Woodrow Wilson. Vice President Hubert Humphrey returned to the Senate after losing his 1968 presidential bid to Richard Nixon.

Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, said Bill Clinton serving in the Senate would be "remarkable," and further signal the reemergence of the coastal states in politics after the South reigned supreme for so long.

"His presence would be striking for the state, not just the country," he said.

All the political analysts interviewed for this story agreed that Clinton would make for an effective senator but doubt he would be interested.

"I think at this point, it's hard to believe he would look for another executive political office," Shapiro said. "They just don't compare to the big one."

Zelizer noted that being in the Senate is not the same as being in the White House.

"It would be hard for him to be in an institution where he's not the main guy," he said, explaining that as a junior senator, Clinton would have to work under Reid. "But that said, he's a political animal. You see him working the institution."

Zelizer hinted that Clinton might have fun going back to Congress to wreak havoc on lawmakers who voted to impeach him for the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the Paula Jones lawsuit.

But revenge fantasies aside, Clinton, who has only held executive positions in his political career, might have more interest in being governor of New York or mayor of New York City.

"In some ways, the mayor of New York City has more glamour and prestige," Zelizer said. "You could see him finding that attractive. He could recreate what he had at the White House. You could see him very comfortable in that role. That's more logical for a former president."

In the end, political analysts believe Clinton will continue his philanthropic efforts around the world with his foundation.

"The way I think about it is Jimmy Carter on steroids in the sense that he left office younger than the others," Shapiro said. "Health problems aside, he's got a lot of years to get into things. The centerpiece is saving the world in his own way."

Cunningham suggested that call Hillary Clinton.

"Hillary might have a few ideas about what job he should hold," he said.