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Entries in Bill Clinton (66)

Tuesday
Jun052012

Bill O’Reilly Accuses Obama, Clinton of ‘Guerrilla Theater’

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Former President Bill Clinton said Monday night it would be “calamitous” if Mitt Romney were elected president. And Tuesday morning conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly called that notion “insane.”

“All of these guys – it’s amusing to me, and I’m sure it is to you, although you would never admit it. It’s all a bunch of theater, it’s guerrilla theater. They run around and they all [say] ‘Romney is going to bring European socialism to the United States.’ Does anyone believe that?” O’Reilly asked.

Although Clinton didn’t use the word “socialism” in Monday night’s private New York City fundraiser, he said Romney would be “calamitous for our country and the world” adding that Romney’s economic policy is “austerity and unemployment now, and then a long-term budget that will explode the debt when the economy recovers so that interest rates will be so high nobody will be able to do anything.”

O’Reilly questioned how Clinton could know Romney’s policy would explode the debt. He said this election comes down to a very basic choice for voters.

“Look, the economy is terrible right now. And voters have to decide two things, whether they want to continue to go with Barack Obama’s big top down government stimulation, which has not worked so far. It might work, who knows,” the host of The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News said on ABC’s Good Morning America Tuesday. “Or do they want to change to a much leaner, meaner private sector driven economy. That’s what the voters have to decide in November, simple as that.”

A dismal jobs report Friday seemed to crystallize a new conventional wisdom that the race for president is really anybody’s shot. O’Reilly went a step further saying if the election were held tomorrow Romney would win because people are “afraid.” But since there are still more than four months before votes are cast, O’Reilly says Romney needs to run a do no harm campaign because this is a referendum on Obama.

“If I were Romney I would get out of the way. I mean, don’t be overbearing and he has to perform well in the three debates. He has to basically be calm, he has to put himself through it as authoritative, ‘I’m going to solve these problems, alright? We gave the president three years, it’s a mess. If you want to vote again on hope go ahead. But I have the ability to solve these problems,’” O’Reilly said.

O’Reilly’s advice is for Romney to be “lower key” in the campaign and come on strong in the three debates, because that’s one of Obama’s strengths.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun052012

Obama, Bill Clinton Stump on ‘Growth’ vs. ‘Austerity’ Agenda

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- President Obama and former President Bill Clinton pitched a coordinated message on jobs and the economy Monday night that appeared designed to confront an electoral landscape unsettled by Friday’s dismal jobs report and an expected Republican victory in Wisconsin’s gubernatorial recall.

Sharing the stage at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan, the two offered a robust defense of Obama’s handling of the economy and vision for the future, asserting more forcefully than they’ve done elsewhere in recent weeks that more short-term government spending is needed to boost hiring while insisting Republicans have been blockading the effort all along.

“If you do not have economic growth, no amount of austerity will balance the budget because you will always have revenues go down more than you can possibly cut spending,” Clinton told the crowd of Republican budget plans.

“So what [Obama] did was to say growth today, restraint in a big way tomorrow. … Growth and jobs today, build the economy, then take the burden of the debt off our children’s future and avoid the exploding interest rates and declining living standards that it would impose on their future,” the former president said.

Clinton argued that Republicans in Congress rejected early on Obama’s “politics of cooperation,” derailing a bipartisan debt commission, a public-private infrastructure bank, and other measures that have traditionally received bipartisan support.

“So where are we in spite of that?  In the last 27 months this economy has produced 4.3 million private sector jobs,” Clinton said.  But “the Congress refused to pass his bill to send money to states and localities to keep the teachers on the job, to keep the firefighters and police officers on the job. …  That’s the austerity policy.  It isn’t good economics.  The Obama policy is.”

Obama echoed his predecessor, saying Republicans have sought to undermine his policy -- essentially rooting for economic failure -- from the beginning of his term.

“They had it from the day I was sworn in.  They made a determination that politics should trump what was needed to move this country forward.  And they have tried to put sand in the gears in Congress ever since,” Obama said.

“And now they’ve got a nominee who’s expressing support for an agenda that would reverse the progress we’ve made and take us back to the exact same policies that got us into this mess in the first place,” Obama added of Mitt Romney.  “And the reason we’re here today is because we’re not going back, we’re going forward.  We’ve worked too hard and too long to right the ship and move in the right direction.”

Clinton also took a swipe at Romney, suggesting his budget plans would “cut out everything that helps middle class people, cut out everything that helps poor people work into the middle class,” while also adding to the debt.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun042012

Clinton: Romney Would Be ‘Calamitous for Our Country’

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- Lending his fundraising prowess to President Obama’s re-election campaign, Bill Clinton warned top donors in New York on Monday that Mitt Romney would be “calamitous for our country and the world.”

“The politics is wrong on the Republican side, the economics are crazy,” Clinton said at a fundraiser at the Upper East Side home of billionaire hedge fund manager Marc Lasry.

Just one week after praising Mitt Romney’s “sterling business career,” Clinton argued that Republicans’ “economics are wrong-headed and their politics are worse.”

“The Republican Congress and their nominee for president, Governor Romney, have adopted Europe’s economic policies,” Clinton said. “Their economic policy is austerity and unemployment now, and then a long-term budget that would explode the debt when the economy recovers so the interest rates would be so high nobody would be able to do anything.”

Instead, Clinton said the president’s policies provide “job growth now, and long-term budget restraint.”

Obama has the “right economic policy and the right political approach,” he said.

The president “has good politics, he’s got a good record, he’s made the best of a very challenging situation, he deserves to be re-elected,” Clinton concluded, before joking that he “has a pretty good secretary of state too.”

On the heels of Friday’s disappointing jobs report, Obama continued to argue that the economy is the central issue of the campaign but admitted that “when things are tough, you’re willing to try just about anything even if you’ve seen it before.”

The president was adamant that going forward, his campaign needs to get a “clear message out about how we intend to grow the middle class, how we’re going to create jobs, and how our positions are squarely in the center of America’s traditions.”

“We’re not the ones who’ve changed. What has changed is the Republican Party,” Obama said. “They have run from a preference for market-based solutions to an absolutism when it comes to the marketplace, a belief that all regulations are bad. That government has no role to play.”

The private fundraiser kicked off a trio of campaign events in New York City on Monday, which are expected to add upwards of $3.6 million to the president’s re-election coffers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun042012

Obama, Clinton Hit the Big Apple for Big Bucks

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- President Obama and former President Bill Clinton were in New York City Monday night for three splashy joint fundraisers expected to raise north of $3.6 million for the 2012 campaign, according to figures provided by a Democratic official.

The pair started their visit with a private reception at the Manhattan home of hedge fund manager Marc Lasry, where each of the roughly 50 guests will cut checks for $40,000 to the Obama Victory Fund — the most lucrative event of the night.

Presidents 44 and 42 then headed to the Waldorf Astoria hotel in midtown for a splashy 500-person gala that featured a performance by rocker Jon Bon Jovi.

Tickets for the gala started at $2500 apiece, according to a campaign official. The event was also to include three winners of a campaign grassroots fundraising contest that offered the chance for an all-expenses-paid trip to attend for a contribution of as little as $3.

Obama and Clinton will conclude the evening at the New Amsterdam Theater, which is hosting a “Broadway for Barack” concert.  An estimated 1,700 fans are expected; tickets started at $250 each.

The concert will feature performances by Nina Arianda, Kerry Butler, Norbet Leo Butz, Bobby Cannavale, Stockard Channing, Chuck Cooper, Neil Patrick Harris, Megan Hilty, Cheyenne Jackson, James Earl Jones, Tony Kushner, Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Hattienne Park, Mandy Patinkin, Patrick Wilson and Jeffrey Wright, officials said.

The proceeds from all three events benefit the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising account that funnels cash to Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties.

The trip, part of a major fundraising push by the president to kick off June, is Obama’s fourth to the Big Apple this year. He will return next week on June 14 for several more fundraisers, including one at the home of actress Sarah Jessica Parker.

With Monday’s events, President Obama has personally attended 151 re-election fundraisers for his campaign and the Democratic National Committee – a record-setting number.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May312012

President Clinton, Heading to Wisconsin, Wasn’t Always Pro-Recall

Sean Gallup/Life Ball 2012/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Bill Clinton may be headed to Wisconsin to campaign against Scott Walker ahead of Tuesday’s vote, but he hasn’t always supported recalls.

During the 2003 recall of Democratic California Gov. Gray Davis, Clinton spoke at an African-American church in Los Angeles to try and rally Democratic supporters and spoke critically of the recall process in general, not just in the Davis case.

The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel recently dug up Clinton’s old quote:

Clinton said at the time that recalling Davis “will create a circumstance where nobody ever makes a hard decision again.”

“I don’t want you to become a laughingstock, a carnival or the beginning of a circus in America where we just throw people out whenever they make a tough decision,” Clinton told the parishioners. “[A recall] would spread instability and uncertainty among your people and across the country.”

At the time other high-profile Democrats went to California to rally the ultimately unsuccessful bid to prevent Davis’ recall. Even the now embattled John Edwards went on his behalf.

“The last thing in the world that the people of California need is to spend $70 [million] to $100 million on a recall election that could be used for schools, hospitals, to hire police officers and firemen. What we ought to do is put an end to this -- end this circus, and send Republicans a clear message on recall day,” Edwards told a crowd of potential recall voters, according to a 2003 CNN article. He was a presidential candidate at the time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May242012

Bill Clinton Poses with Porn Stars

Frank Polich/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Bill Clinton posed for an impromptu photo with two porn stars on Wednesday, the celebrity news-gossip site TMZ reported.

The former president reportedly posed at a casino in Monte Carlo, Monaco, where Clinton attended a “Nights in Monaco” fundraising gala.  At least two other celebrities, actresses Diane Kruger and Rose McGowan, were in attendance.

The porn stars with whom Clinton posed were Tasha Reign and Brooklyn Lee, TMZ reported Wednesday night.  Lee won the coveted award for Best New Starlet at the 2012 AVN Awards.  She shared four other awards, including Most Outrageous Sex Scene.

TMZ’s low-resolution photo shows a genial Clinton smiling with the two women.  It’s unclear whether he was aware of the women’s occupation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May152012

Bill Clinton Advises Obama to Talk More About Deficit Reduction

Archival photo. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama should push deficit reduction to the foreground in his race against Mitt Romney, Bill Clinton suggested Tuesday.

“You know, I think the two plans ought to be talked about more,” the former president said, interviewed onstage at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2012 Fiscal Summit in Washington, D.C., by NBC’s Tom Brokaw.

“The president, I think, should talk more about the Medicare savings he has proposed, and the defense cuts he has proposed, and the fact that he proposes, and this – I disagree with this, by the way – he proposes to take discretionary non-defense spending to its lowest percentage of GDP since president Eisenhower was in office,” Clinton said. “We ought to be talking about this stuff. He has at least tried to honor the deal he made with the Republicans, and I think he should talk more about it, and I think they should talk more about it...

“I think this budget issue ought to become front and center in the presidential election, in all the debates, in very specific ways,” Clinton said.

The former president said he favors overhaul resembling the Simpson-Bowles plan, produced by Obama’s bipartisan commission to address the deficit. Clinton suggested there should be a “big bipartisan coalition for this,” in reference to centrist-deficit reforms. “We may just have to wait until the election’s over. The American people are going to have to decide.”

Clinton called for immediate passage of a deficit-reduction plan, triggered to take effect when the economy meets growth benchmarks.

“What I would like to see them do is what Simpson-Bowles said. Simpson-Bowles said, ‘Pass our plan.’ I’d like to even see them take more out of the deficit more quickly than Simpson-Bowles. But they said, ‘Pass our plan, but trigger it when there is clearly growth,’” Clinton said. “Because you won’t have to convince anybody to do it then, because as soon as there’s real growth back in this economy, with all this public debt out there that has to be financed, interest rates will go through the roof, the cost of financing the deficit will be staggering, and the private sector will be screaming for affordable credit.”

Watch C-SPAN video of Clinton’s remarks here.  They come within the first 15 minutes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
May042012

Bill Clinton Backs Obama--Where's George W. Bush for Mitt Romney?

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- He was once the most dominant figure in American politics, his approval rating an astounding 90 percent. But four years after leaving office, former President George W. Bush is playing no role in 2012's campaign—and many fellow Republicans seem happy to keep it that way.

His father, former President George H.W. Bush, and mother, Barbara Bush, officially endorsed Mitt Romney five weeks ago. His brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, also has backed the presumptive Republican nominee.

So far, George W. Bush has not.

And while the former president is expected to formally support Romney at some point between now and Election Day—perhaps in a written statement—many Republicans doubt he will actively campaign for the party's ticket this fall.

His withdrawal from the political stage stands in contrast to his predecessor, former President Bill Clinton, who has plunged into campaigns large and small since leaving office, even a race for a state Senate seat in Buffalo, N.Y.

At a similar point in his post-presidency, Clinton tried to sway the 2004 presidential race, appearing—just weeks after undergoing heart surgery—arm-in-arm with the Democratic nominee, Sen. John Kerry, at a late-October rally before 100,000 people in Center City, Philadelphia.

A former Bush adviser, Mark McKinnon, explained the contrast this way: "Bill Clinton loves to be on the radar. George W. Bush does not."

A spokesman for the 43rd president declined to comment, and referred ABC News to the website of the George W. Bush Presidential Center for a sense of Bush's priorities these days. The center is dedicated to such causes as education reform and promoting democracy abroad.

Whatever Bush's motives for avoiding politics, independent political strategists say it is better for Romney and the Republican Party that he do so.

They pointed out that in November 2008, just before he left office, only 20 percent of voters approved of Bush's performance as president—the lowest of any president since Gallup began asking the question in 1938. Although his numbers have rebounded somewhat since then, many Americans still view him negatively.

Democrats are more blunt.

"Frankly, Republican strategists do not want to remind the American people of those eight years of Bush's presidency—the foreign policy entanglements and the policies that set the stage for the economic collapse," said Democratic strategist Mark Siegel.

Chris Lehane, part of the brain trust in Al Gore's unsuccessful 2000 campaign for president, said putting Romney and Bush together on the campaign trail would only play into President Obama's hands as he seeks reelection.

"It's inherently problematic. Obama has this framework of 'moving forward,' not back," Lehane said. "I don't think anyone is a more powerful symbol of that past than President George W. Bush."

Indeed, as he nears the end of his first term, Obama still invokes Bush's policies with disdain.

As for Romney, he rarely talks up George W. Bush; instead he frequently jumps back to the 1980s to praise President Ronald Reagan. During the Republican primaries, Rick Santorum went so far as to apologize for backing Bush's centerpiece education reform, the "No Child Left Behind" law, when he was senator.

John McLaughlin, a veteran Republican strategist, said he thinks Bush still could help Romney politically if he was used the right way. One idea: having Bush campaign in Republican strongholds to boost GOP turnout on Election Day, he said.

But McLaughlin said it is better for Bush's legacy if he stays on the political sidelines. As long as Bush avoids the political wars, his standing among Americans will continue to rebound.

"You appear more presidential, more statesmanlike," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May032012

Hillary Clinton Kept Bin Laden Raid Secret, Bill Clinton Says

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(LOS ANGELES) -- Former President Bill Clinton Thursday offered a personal reflection on the death of Osama bin Laden and said that throughout the planning for the Navy SEAL raid he was kept in the dark.

During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Clinton was asked whether his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, shared details with him about the mission and its outcome.

“I’m trying to remember exactly when I was notified, but I’m pretty sure that I was notified by the White House, not the State Department, which was exactly the right thing,” he said. “She never said a word to me about this -- exactly the right thing."

“When Hillary became secretary of state -- in general, if a former president asks for it, on a daily basis you can get a briefing from the CIA called the president’s daily briefing. You can get an attenuated version of that,” Clinton said. “And when she got named to that position, I said, ‘Look, I don’t want any more briefings unless the president or the National Security Council -- the White House people -- want me to have it.’ Because I give too many talks, do too much work -- I never want to inadvertently say something that complicates their job."

“So I didn’t know about it until they told me,” Clinton said. “She never said a word.”

The 42nd U.S. president described his reaction to the news of bin Laden’s killing in personal terms.

“It was a long saga for me -- deeply, personally, emotional, because I’m a New Yorker,” Clinton told DeGeneres.

“I knew people that died in 9/11. Hillary was a senator there. Our daughter was in lower Manhattan. Our daughter was one of the tens of thousands of people in clear visibility of the World Trade Center and [was] told to just walk north and keep going. And we couldn’t find her and didn’t know what was going on. It was an emotional moment.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr292012

Bill Clinton to Join Obama for Fundraiser in Virginia

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Obama will be joined by Bill Clinton at a fundraising reception and dinner tonight. It is the first time the former occupant of the White House has openly joined the current commander in chief on the campaign trail.

The event is being hosted at the McLean, Va., home of Terry McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and personal friend of the Clinton family.

Reflecting a fundraising arms race among the candidates, price tags for the venue are hefty. Five hundred supporters are expected to attend the reception, with tickets starting at $1,000 a person. The Obama campaign says 80 will be present for the banquet, with individual donations of $20,000 necessary for the event.

Proceeds will be divided among Obama reelection committees, the Democratic National Committee, and a number of state Democratic parties. The president begins his first campaign rallies next weekend, although critics contend recent official travel amounts to the same thing.

Clinton’s relationship with the president has evolved from the 2008 campaign, in which then-Senator Obama was pitted in a tense battle against Hillary Clinton in the primaries. Since then, Obama’s former rival has become his Secretary of State; and her husband has become one of Obama’s most influential allies, vocalizing a past leader’s perspective on the current administration.

Meanwhile the campaign relies on Clinton to remind voters of the blooming economy of the last Democratic presidency.

Tonight will be the first of three joint fundraising stops between the presidents.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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