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Entries in Bill Clinton (66)

Thursday
Apr122012

Bill Clinton Endorses Mark Critz in Pa. Democratic House Primary

ABC News (JOHNSTOWN, Pa.) -- As redistricting pits Democrat against Democrat, Bill Clinton has given his seal of approval in a hotly contested House primary.

The former president gave his nod to Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Critz, who is locked in a primary contest against Rep. Jason Altmire, after the most recent legislative redistricting forced the colleagues to run for the same House seat.

“I am proud to endorse Mark Critz for Congress,” Clinton said, in a written statement released by Critz’s campaign.  ”I know that Mark will continue his work to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, to protect Social Security and Medicare, and do what is right for western Pennsylvania and our nation.”

At different points, Critz and Altmire were both Democratic success stories that drew national attention. Altmire was part of the lauded class of 2006 that recaptured the House majority; Critz won a highly touted special election in May of 2010, defeating Republican Tim Burns to replace the late Congressman John Murtha, despite a bad political climate for Democrats nationally and in swing districts.

Clinton campaigned for Critz in the run-up to that election, stumping for him at a single event the Sunday before.

Critz did not speak to Clinton personally before Thursday’s endorsement, according to spokesman Mike Mikus, though the candidate placed multiple calls to Clinton aides seeking the former president’s public backing.

Why would Clinton pick one moderate Democrat over another? It may have had something to do with Altmire’s vote in favor of a constitutional balanced-budget amendment, which Republicans sent to the House floor amid the debt-limit negotiations last year. The measure failed, needing a two-thirds majority for passage. Altmire was one of 25 Democrats to vote in favor.

The last time the House approved a balanced-budget amendment was in 1995, as the GOP-controlled, Newt-Gingrich-led House maneuvered against Clinton in a budget battle that eventually saw the federal government shut down, and which defined the early part of Clinton’s time in office.

Critz began airing a TV ad at 5 p.m. on Thursday highlighting Clinton’s endorsement, his campaign announced.

Last month, Clinton endorsed financier John Delaney in the Maryland House primary to challenge GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr022012

Former President Bill Clinton on Romney and Etch-a-Sketch 

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, currently faces a dynamic similar to the one President Bill Clinton faced during his first presidential run 20 years ago: a long, bruising primary, driving up his unfavorable ratings. Clinton turned it around. Can Romney?

“I doubt it,” the former president said.

“Mr. Romney has a different challenge than I did,” Clinton said. “Even though he had a bruising primary and higher negatives and I did too. Mine was just one long character attack. It was a personal attack on me. You know, ‘You shouldn’t have this guy be president.’”

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Clinton was able to turn it around, he said, because “the American people are inherently fair. I named Al Gore. We reintroduced our economic plan. Then we reintroduced ourselves to the American people. But we never had to change what we were saying from primary to the general. The problem that Governor Romney has is his character attack was ‘You don’t really know what he believes. He did this, he says that.’

“He started this campaign in the aftermath of that tea party victory in 2010,” Clinton said, “when all the people on the far right of the Republican Party actually believed a majority of the voters had embraced the specific things they were saying. So it created a horrible dilemma for Romney. And the poor man who got in trouble for the Etch-a-Sketch remark. That’s like the saying, ‘There is nothing more damaging in politics than telling the truth.’ I mean, the truth is, that’s what he’s gotta do.”

The former president was referring to a comment by Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, who — when asked by CNN if Romney had run too far to the right to win the primaries — said, “I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again.”

Clinton said Romney has to “convince the swing voters that he’ll be moderate enough and open enough and inclusive enough to be an effective president, and effective on the economy. And hope that the Republican base voters say, ‘Well, okay, so he maybe wasn’t as right-wing as he claimed to be in the primary. Still more conservative than President Obama. I guess I’ll vote for him anyway and I won’t stay home.’ That’s a much harder job. So I doubt if he can do it. But it’s going to be interesting to watch.”

The former president made his comments in an exclusive interview on Good Morning America focused on the work of Clinton Global Initiative University.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar052012

Report: Bill Clinton to Attend Obama Fundraisers

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Former President Bill Clinton will join President Obama in appealing to deep-pocket Democratic donors at campaign fundraisers in the next few months, sources close to the arrangement tell Bloomberg News.

The events, which will reportedly take place in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, would mark the first time Clinton has joined Obama on the 2012 campaign trail and portray a sense of unity between Obama and his popular predecessor.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt would not explicitly confirm or deny the joint appearances, saying only that he and Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna are telling reporters “nothing has been scheduled.”

Clinton’s support could also provide a boost to Obama’s high-dollar fundraising, which has struggled to keep pace with 2008 levels, particularly among financial sector donors.

Obama has already collected more than $150 million for his re-election effort, personally attending 100 fundraisers since last April to stump for cash. He will mingle with an elite group of donors behind closed doors in Washington Tuesday -- his 34th campaign event of the year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb132012

Bill Clinton Struggled to Deal With Lewinsky Affair, Film Says

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Bill Clinton apparently struggled with whether to talk publicly about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, as his aides were surprised, even dismayed, about his relationship with the 23-year-old.

A new documentary focusing on Clinton’s life and presidency reveals that he contacted pollster Dick Morris to gauge whether he should come out with the truth when news of the affair broke.

“He said, ‘Ever since I got here to the White House I’ve had to shut my body down sexually, I mean, but I screwed up with this girl. I didn’t do what they said I did, but I may have done so much that I can’t prove my innocence,’” Morris recalls in the film Clinton, which was written and directed by Barak Goodman.

“And I said to him, ‘The problem that presidents have is not the sin, it’s the cover-up and you should explore just telling the American people the truth.’ He said, ‘Really, do you think I could do that?’ And I said, ‘Let me test it, let me run a poll.’ So I took a poll and I tested popular attitudes on that and I called him back and I said, ‘They will forgive the adultery, but they won’t easily forgive that you lied,’” Morris says in the documentary to air on PBS next week.

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Meanwhile, several of Clinton’s aides were convinced he was set up.

“He’s got all these enemies who are out to get him,” Clinton’s labor secretary, Robert Reich, said in the film. “He wouldn’t be so stupid as to jeopardize his entire presidency. For what? No, that was not the Bill Clinton I knew.”

Clinton first denied the affair that broke out in the news media in 1998, famously saying he “did not have sexual relations with that woman.” He later admitted to oral sex with the young intern and said his relationship with Lewinsky was wrong and inappropriate.

“I am profoundly sorry for all I have done wrong in words and in deeds,” he said Dec. 11, 1998. “I never should have misled the country, the Congress, my friends or my family. Quite simply, I gave in to my shame.”

Although his subsequent impeachment made him only the second U.S. president to be impeached, Clinton’s aides say that in a way, the former president himself set up barriers that he could then leap across and he was always confident he could find his way back.

“How many second chances does any one person deserve?” his former press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, said in the film. “Clinton’s view is as many second chances as a person is willing to try to take. As many times as you fail, don’t you deserve the chance to redeem yourself? Isn’t history loaded with people who have fallen and gotten up, fallen and gotten up and done great things?”

Clinton declined to comment on the film.

The documentary also details the challenges Hillary Clinton faced as first lady. Clinton was, behind the scenes, a powerful force in the White House but aides said her strengths often turned into his weaknesses.

“Voters thought that it was a zero-sum game, that for Hillary to be strong, Bill would have to be weak, and as a result the perception of Hillary’s strength became a perception of Bill’s weakness,” Morris said.

Hillary Clinton was blamed by many for a weak turnout in the 1994 election and for the failure of the administration’s health care reform plan in 1993 that failed to gain momentum.

“She was outspoken, she was smart, she was hard driving, and some people resented her,” Clinton Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes said in the film. “Remember during the campaign, it was two for the price of one, well people aren’t electing two for the price of one. They’re electing the president.”

The documentary airs on PBS Feb. 20-21, as part of  its American Experience series.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan282012

Former President Bill Clinton Given ‘Wonk’ Award

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- American University named former President Bill Clinton as its first annual “Wonk of the Year.”

Located in Washington D.C., the event is part of a marketing campaign the college coined to draw in students interested in the more niche fields of public policy.

The term “wonk” is a colloquialism used to describe a person who studies a subject in an excessively thorough manner, such as an academic. During the 1992 presidential election, the Baltimore Sun described Clinton and running mate Al Gore as a “double-wonk ticket.” The term stuck throughout his administration.

The university honored Clinton for his focus on scholarship during his administration and his work since leaving office leading the non-profit William J. Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative.

Before a crowd of roughly 3,500 students on Friday, the 42nd president of the United States spoke on subjects ranging from physics’ string theory to the human genome, which was first sequenced during his administration. He also touched on more recent policy developments such as the Mexican drug war and the fight over health care in Congress.

President Clinton did not delve deeply into election politics, but he did take a moment to comment on the ongoing Republican nomination process. Clinton said tracking the GOP campaign’s ups and downs, “as a Democrat, is a beautiful thing.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec022011

Obama, Bill Clinton Join Forces on Energy Efficiency

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will join former President Bill Clinton on Friday to announce a $4 billion effort to improve the energy efficiency of government and private-sector buildings.

The initiative is the latest installment in Obama’s “We Can’t Wait” executive action campaign intended to cultivate his image as a president taking action on the economy.

“Upgrading the energy efficiency of America’s buildings is one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest ways to save money, cut down on harmful pollution, and create good jobs right now.  But we can’t wait for Congress to act.  So today, I’m directing all federal agencies to make at least $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next 2 years –at no up-front cost to the taxpayer,” Obama said in a written statement.

Friday morning, Obama and Clinton will tour a building just blocks from the White House to promote improved energy efficiency.  The president will then deliver remarks and sign a presidential memorandum for the $2 billion federal commitment.

In addition, the private sector is making a $2 billion commitment to upgrade energy performance by a minimum of 20 percent by 2020 in 1.6 billion square feet of office, industrial and municipal property.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep202011

Bill Clinton Praises Two GOP Candidates

William J. Clinton Foundation(NEW YORK) -- GOP presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman received some unsolicited praise from a former president Tuesday, though it might not be from the one they were hoping for. In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, former President Bill Clinton lauded the two former governors for addressing climate change on the stump.

When Blitzer asked Clinton to list the candidates he liked and the ones he was concerned about, the former president said, "Well, it appears that Gov. Huntsman and Gov. Romney, at least, have not come out in just flat-out denial of climate change. It appears that Gov. Huntsman said he supported the compromise to raise the debt ceiling because America couldn’t afford the economic consequences."

“So what I hear you saying is you’d be happier if Romney or Huntsman got the nomination than Rick Perry?” Blitzer asked.

Clinton said, “Well, it’s not up to me to pick. They’ll both lose if anybody thinks I’ve endorsed them. I’m just saying that I appreciate the fact that, that they’re trying to navigate a landscape that bears almost no relationship to what’s produced successful economies in the world. And there are lots of countries that are now doing better than we are in some areas because of the very ideas that apparently you have to support to get the nomination.”

Last month on ABC’s This Week, Huntsman told Jake Tapper, “When we take a position that isn’t willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Science has said about what is causing climate change and man’s contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.”

Romney has been less decisive on his global warming stance. In June, Romney said, “I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world’s getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And No. 2, I believe that humans contribute to that....So I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you’re seeing.”

At a New Hampshire town hall the following month, he told the audience, “Do I think the world’s getting hotter? Yeah, I don’t know that but I think that it is,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans. What I’m not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don’t know the answer to.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul072011

Bill Clinton Defends Obama at Meeting of Progressives

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former President Bill Clinton defended President Obama’s economic record at a meeting in Washington of progressives and sought to dispel what he said were myths that caused Democrats to take such a “shellacking,” as President Obama called it, in 2010 midterm elections.

“The election results were more adverse to the Democrats than they would have been I believe if voters had known basic facts,” he told about 1,000 college students at the Campus Progress National Convention -- a meeting for progressive college students -- on Wednesday.

Clinton expressed more hope for the 2012 election, saying Obama’s policies need more time to have a broad effect.

“People only hired Democrats in the last 30 years when things were messed up.  So they hired me in ’92, and they hired President Obama in 2008.  So they want us to fix them,” Clinton said.  “It’s hard to fix things that people messed up over a long period of time.”

Clinton said President Obama did not get the credit he deserved for the 2009 financial stimulus that he said prevented the country from falling deeper into the hole.

“Even Albert Einstein couldn’t fill a $3 trillion hole with $800 billion dollars,” Clinton said.  “The stimulus was designed to put a floor in that hole, and it worked.”

Clinton then took a stab at former president George W. Bush’s tax cuts.

“As someone who now makes money that I never dreamed of making, I got my five tax cuts.  I made out like a bandit.  I should have changed parties,” Clinton joked.

Clinton praised the current president’s financial reform bill and his overhaul of the student loan system, which Clinton said was one of the most important bills the president has signed.

The crowd gave Clinton its most enthusiastic applause when he voiced support for the DREAM act, a bill that provides a path to citizenship for people who came to the United States illegally as children if they attend college or join the military.

Clinton said diversity is America’s greatest asset and that America “is better off with more immigrants, not fewer.”

The act is currently stalled in Congress.  It failed to win the support of the necessary 60 Senators in 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun302011

Bill Clinton Exclusive: 'Not the Time for Spending Cuts'

ABC News(CHICAGO) -- Former President Bill Clinton sees a possible way past the bipartisan impasse over raising the debt limit: agree to cut spending and raise taxes, but do neither until later, after the economy improves.

"If they [the Republicans] said, look, that now is not the time for big tax increases to harm the recovery, they would be right," Clinton told ABC News in an exclusive interview at the Clinton Global Initiative America conference in Chicago.  "But it's also right to say that now's not the time for big spending cuts."

"What I'd like to see them do is agree on the outlines of a 10-year plan and agree not to start either the revenue hikes or the spending cuts until we've got this recovery underway," Clinton added.  "The confidence that the Republicans say would be given to investors with a budget plan, they'd get whether we started this year or next year or the year after that, for that matter."

For the first time, the former president is focusing his Clinton Global Initiative on creating jobs here in the United States.  He suggested waiting for the recovery to take hold before pushing spending cuts and tax increases will make the issues clearer.

"We've got to get the jobs back in this economy again," Clinton said.  "The more people we get going back to work, the more businesses we start, that'll bring up the revenue flow, and it will cut down on the expenses.  Then, we'll see what the real dimensions of our problem are."

Unfortunately, however, Clinton fears Republicans' "ideological conviction" about never raising taxes recalls the lead-up to government shutdowns in the '90s, adding that the pressure on GOP candidates to toe the ideological line could hamstring their bids to unseat President Obama.

"They were in a similar anti-government fever, anti-tax fever in 1995 until, you know, the struggle went on for a year and they shut the government down twice," Clinton said.  "The public made a judgment that that was not right.  And then we finally broke through.  It wound up with the balanced budget act and forced surpluses and real prosperity."

Could the dispute this time push past the Aug. 2 deadline when, officials say, failing to raise the nation's debt ceiling could lead to America defaulting on its loans?  Clinton didn't discount the possibility.

"When I passed my budget in 1993, they routinely said it would bring on a terrible recession, [that] it was the end of capitalism as we knew it," he said.  "And we had the best eight years in our history.  But they just kept saying it.  You've got to give them credit.  The evidence doesn't deter them...It's an ideological conviction.  So, I don't know that it can be resolved until there's some break in the action."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun252011

Bill Clinton Opens Up About Post-Presidency Life

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former President Bill Clinton joined the weekly radio quiz show Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me on NPR and proved he was an expert on My Little Pony.

Host Peter Sagal and judge Carl Kasell quizzed Clinton on the television show My Little Pony – Friendship is Magic, and much to his own surprise, the former president and Rhodes scholar went three for three on questions about the animated pony feature.

“Now this is the part where you make me look like a fool right?” Clinton asked before the question round began.

This was Clinton’s first time on the weekly quiz show, which attempts to stump some of the best and brightest in the news and entertainment world. Clinton answered questions on the talents of the ponies and who their most powerful enemy is.

Prior to the quiz round, Clinton said he is having the most fun in his life post-presidency but admitted he misses some of the perks that come with living in the White House.

“An army, a movie theater, a weekend retreat, a helicopter, a jet airplane and they always play a song when you walk in the room,” Clinton joked. “The worst thing about not being president anymore is I was disoriented for three weeks because nobody ever played a song when I walked in a room. I didn’t know where I was.”

Clinton said he has easily transitioned into playing the role of spouse to Secretary of State to Hillary Clinton. And since they both juggle hectic schedules, the former president said he and his wife try to be home on the weekends and communicate via text message while they’re apart.  

“We send texts when she’s overseas or I’m overseas,” Clinton said. “Now that I said that, I can’t wait for somebody to pull them up. They’ll be boring but endearing I hope.”

In his post-presidency, Clinton has dedicated much of his time to enhancing global reform through his organization the Clinton Global Initiative.

“When you’re a former president, you have much less power but you have a lifetime of experience and contacts, and if you’ve got the energy, you can bring influence to bear on a small but still fairly substantial number of things where you can concentrate on it because you don’t have to change the subject when you wake up in the morning and there’s something else in the newspaper.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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