Bill Clinton: I Can Run for President of France 'Because I Was Born In Arkansas'

Fred Lucas | October 22, 2012 | 2:42pm EDT
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(Update: Corrects spelling in first paragraph)

Former President Bill Clinton walks off stage after speaking about the Clinton Global Initiative University at Laurie Auditorium in San Antonio, Texas. on Friday, May 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Pool, Tom Reel)

( – Former President Bill Clinton talked about his eligibility to serve as the leader of both Ireland and France in an exchange with CNN host Piers Morgan last month.

Morgan, who is from Great Britain said, “We're trying to change the rules in Britain, actually, because if you can't be president again here, we’d quite like you to be prime minister in our country. Are you available if it comes to -- I get this through?”

Clinton did not answer specifically on Britain during his Sept. 30 appearance on the program.

“There are only two countries I’m eligible to run for the leadership position is if I move to Ireland and buy a house, I can -- I can run for president of Ireland, because of my Irish heritage,” Clinton said. “And because I was born in Arkansas, which is part of the Louisiana Purchase, any person anywhere in the world that was born in a place that ever was part of the French empire, if you move to -- if you live in France for six months and speak French, you can run for president.”

Clinton said he was popular in France, but had doubts that popularity would hold up.

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“However, I once polled very well in a French presidential race, and I said, you know, this is great, but that’s the best I’d ever do, because once they heard my broken French with a Southern accent, I would drop into single digits within a week, and I'd be toast,” Clinton said. “I just don't think -- that's what I think. I think the system we have may have some opportunity costs.”

Clinton concluded talking about the matter that first arose over a question of the 22nd Amendment that limits U.S. presidents to two terms in office.

“You know, I was young, perhaps I could have done another term, but I thought Al Gore was going to win and I wanted him to win. I thought he would have been a good president. I still think so. And the thing that's kept America going is that we've trusted the people over the leaders. And I love my life now,” he said.

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