Former president Bill Clinton went on a tangent about Franklin Pierce and Abraham Lincoln and their battles with depression during the closing minutes of a speech while stumping for his wife in New Hampshire on Monday, but he didn’t mention Hillary Clinton’s name at all in the conclusion.
Rather, Bill invoked the memories of his own presidency and how he tried to learn from Pierce, who took office in 1853 and whose thirst for expansion, even if it meant more slave states, helped pave the way to the Civil War. Pierce is considered one of the worst presidents ever, although Clinton said that Pierce’s own personal problems led to “the times” taking him out.
“I was only the second president of a small state to become president,” Clinton said. “The first was Franklin Pierce, and so I started, pretty much with Franklin Pierce, reading everything I could in those eight years about my less-well-known predecessors. And here’s what I concluded. Almost everybody goes into the White House with the best of intentions. Whether they succeed or not depends upon whether their instincts, their experience, their knowledge and their psychological makeup fits the time.
“Franklin Pierce’s only child was killed in a railroad accident when he was on the way to become president. He and his wife were depressed for a year, and the country was coming apart at the seams anyway. I think there’s almost no circumstances under which he could have succeeded, but he had a great career in the Mexican War. He had a good career in Congress. He was a good governor here. The times took him out. Abraham Lincoln, had he governed in the 1950s, might never have been regarded as a great president, because he was gripped by crippling depression. It was only in the blood of the Civil War that somehow he burned through his own feelings and absorbed the grief of the nation and let his depression go.
“I spent a lot of time thinking about this. I do not believe, in my lifetime, anybody has run for this job at a moment of great importance who was better qualified by knowledge, experience and temperament to do what needs to be done now to restore prosperity, to deal with these human issues, to make us as safe as possible. Thank you very much, and God bless you.”
It would appear Clinton was talking about Hillary in those last moments, but the absence of her name was odd.