BOSTON (AP) – Former President Clinton has been working the phones from home to drum up support for Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign, but is still awaiting medical clearance before he hits the campaign trail again, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Saturday.

“He’s making a lot of progress,” the New York Democrat said about her husband. “Every day he gets stronger and feels better, but that is the natural recovery that one has after such a serious operation. What he’ll be able to do is up to his doctors and we’re just going to be guided by their advice.”

Sen. Clinton was back in Boston on Saturday for the first time since July’s Democratic National Convention. Whe was the guest of honor at a $2,500 per person Democratic National Committee fund-raiser that was expected to raise more than $375,000 for the Kerry-Edwards Victory Fund.

Former President Clinton, 58, underwent quadruple bypass surgery in New York City early last month after complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath.

He has public appearances scheduled for Nov. 9 and Nov. 16, but none before the Nov. 2 election.

“He’s on the phone, he is offering his counsel to people, and he was very excited by the debate on Thursday night,” Sen. Clinton said. “I was also relieved because he kept his blood pressure down.”

Americans got a glimpse of the real John Kerry in Thursday’s debate, Sen. Clinton said.

“He had a chance for the American people to see him unfiltered … and he came across as strong and decisive and in control of the facts,” she said.

President Bush, on the other hand, “seemed on the defensive, he seemed ill at ease, kind of uncomfortable, and I chalk that up to his unwillingness to really take hard questions from the press or anyone else.”

Kerry must get out the message about his domestic policy proposals at Friday’s debate in St. Louis and beyond. He has solid proposals the economy, health care, education, energy, and the environment, Sen. Clinton said.

“I really believe that he’s got the right agenda and he’ll be able to explain that to people when they start asking on Friday night in St. Louis,” she said.

AP-ES-10-02-04 1934EDT

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