- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 3, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Libraries and historic sites honoring past commanders in chief can help guide the public on today’s political debates, former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday, making a veiled reference to his wife’s potential White House bid as an example.

Speaking to a conference focusing on presidential libraries and sites, Clinton said he wanted his library help visitors understand the context of the decisions he made during his two terms in office and said they can help the public as they weigh similar debates. He made an indirect reference to his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and her high profile as an example.

“I suppose one of the reasons my presidency has remained relevant to critics from both parties is I have a spouse who seems to remain relevant,” Clinton said to applause at the Presidential Sites and Libraries Conference, held at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in downtown Little Rock.

The former first lady and U.S. senator from New York is the leading potential Democratic presidential candidate if she decides to run again; she lost the race to President Barack Obama in 2008. Clinton is publishing a book next week about her four years as secretary of state, widely seen as a precursor to a potential White House bid.

Bill Clinton’s library has attracted renewed interest due to his wife’s potential bid for the Oval Office. The library has been releasing thousands of previously confidential documents, including some that focus on her role in his administration.

Clinton’s library is preparing to mark its 10th anniversary this fall. He said he wanted to use the library to “convince people without regard to their background, their income or politics, whether they voted for me or against me, that they shouldn’t sit on the sideline.”

Clinton said he believed presidential libraries should help the public understand the political realities of what he and other former presidents faced.

“Every single presidential library represents the triumph of a democracy that is increasingly diverse, that has found a way to meet its common challenges, to resolve its deep differences and to keep going forward,” Clinton said. “That’s a story we all have to tell in one way or another.”

___

Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo