With Hillary Clinton heading into an almost certain general-election race against Donald Trump, Bill Clinton has begun to work out what type of role his wife would play in his third administration should she win the race.

“She is the most qualified person to ever run for president, so I would not hesitate to draw on her experience and knowledge,” Mr. Clinton said.

He praised his wife’s deep understanding of economic, international, and health care issues and praised her command of the intricacies of diplomacy and legislation.

“I will guarantee you this,” Mr. Clinton said, “we will find a place for Mrs. Clinton in a Hillary presidency.”

In an election year when Hillary Clinton’s shifting policies, her use of a personal email server while secretary of state, and her reaction to her husband’s personal indiscretions have faced intense scrutiny, Mr. Clinton has quietly begun to shape a role for his wife in her own administration, zeroing in on behind-the-scenes duties where she would support the former president’s plans for economic growth, job creation, and a third term.

Mr. Clinton told reporters that he would be “in charge of revitalizing the economy, because, you know, I know how to do it,” especially “in places like coal country and inner cities.”

“I have got to come out of retirement and be in charge,” he said. “Hillary knows that. The Democratic Party knows that. We all know that.”

Mr. Clinton, famously undisciplined during his first two presidential terms, has not provided details about how his wife, the elected president, might fit into a policy-making role in her own administration. But as the Big Dog positions himself for a role never before seen in American politics, he has begun to speak more openly and frankly about what a third Bill Clinton term would look like.

His wife’s role, he said, would be narrowly defined to focus on controlled settings – such as delivering state of the union addresses, testifying before congressional investigative committees, and waking Bill for the morning White House briefings. Aides to Mr. Clinton rejected any implication that Mr. Clinton would outsource a central part of the administration to his spouse.

But even a passing promise that Ms. Clinton would be put in charge of her own presidency seemed to alarm both conservatives, who view Ms. Clinton as untrustworthy, and progressives, who see her as a captive to establishment party figures and big-money donors.

“I don’t think any of us have a problem with Hillary winning,” said Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, “but I think we have to be honest about what that means. I mean, when I say Clinton Foundation, which Clinton do you think of?”

The declaration about Ms. Clinton’s place in a Hillary Clinton administration comes as her campaign is preparing to battle the likely Republican nominee, Mr. Trump, and widening its efforts to win the support of white working-class voters. Those voters hold generally favorable opinions of Mr. Clinton, but view her with more skepticism.

Mr. Clinton’s more emotive style appears to resonate with blue-collar voters in ways his wife’s has not. According to a Quinnipiac poll conducted in February, some 55 percent of voters nationwide said they do not believe Ms. Clinton “cares about people like me.”

And despite resonant praise for her intelligence and readiness from two presidents – Mr. Clinton and President Obama – it’s Mr. Clinton’s record — a balanced budget, the creation of 22.7 million jobs and 7.7 million people lifted out of poverty — that has become the gold standard and the simpler sell to voters.

Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, said that the central focus of her campaign has been increasing wages and creating good jobs, and if she has to turn the oval office over to Mr. Clinton to get that done, then that’s what she will do.

“As she has repeatedly said throughout this campaign, Secretary Clinton is interested in having President Clinton focus on places that have experienced substantial job loss and economic dislocation, like coal country and some inner-cities,” Mr. Merrill said, adding that “she has put forward an ambitious agenda for serving economically distressed communities” and “looks forward to having a role in Mr. Clinton’s efforts to carry out that agenda.”

“These are tough times for the Democratic Party,” said Mr. Obama, alluding to sparring between supporters of Ms. Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders, and the Democratic Party leaders following a chaotic weekend convention in Nevada.

“Hillary is likeable enough,” the president said, “but maybe it’s time to let Bill be Bill again.”

— Philip Maddocks writes a weekly satirical column. He can be reached at pmaddocks@wickedlocal.com.