Entries in Bill Clinton (66)


Bill Clinton to Paul Ryan on Medicare Election: ‘Give Me a Call’

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The day after the stunning upset in the special congressional election in upstate New York, Rep. Paul Ryan is a man under fire. But ABC News was behind the scenes with the Wisconsin Congressman and GOP Budget Committee Chairman when he got some words of encouragement from none other than former President Bill Clinton.

"I told them before you got here, I said I'm glad we won this race in New York," Clinton told Ryan, when the two met backstage at a forum on the national debt held by the Pete Peterson Foundation. But he added, "I hope Democrats don't use this as an excuse to do nothing."

Ryan told Clinton he fears that now nothing will get done in Washington.

"My guess is it's going to sink into paralysis is what's going to happen," Ryan said. "And you know the math. It's just, I mean, we knew we were putting ourselves out there. You gotta start this. You gotta get out there. You gotta get this thing moving."

Clinton told Ryan that if he ever wanted to talk about it, he should "give me a call." Ryan said he would.

Democrats make no bones about why they believe they won in a solidly Republican district -- voter anger at Paul Ryan's controversial plan to restructure Medicare. Ryan was already braced for the attacks from Democrats, telling Fox News Wednesday morning that the election "is a preview of scare tactics, distortions, demagoguery to try to scare seniors into voting for them...The irony of it is we're the ones directly protecting Medicare's current benefits for current seniors."

In an interview with ABC News, Ryan stood by his budget and his proposal to alter Medicare and make it more financially solvent.

"This is not the time to go wobbly," Ryan said. "They (Democrats) are going to run these attack ads at us regardless.  This is a time for leaders to be leaders. This is not a time for us to follow our fears, this is a time to lead because if we don't address our countries fiscal problems we are going to have a debt crisis and the people who are going to get hurt the first and the worst are the people who need government the most, the elderly and the poor."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bin Laden Death: Americans Divided Over Credit for Presidents

The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- A bipartisan mix of lawmakers and pundits has been heaping credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden on President Obama -- and his two predecessors, Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

But to what extent did presidential leadership play a role in ultimately finding bin Laden, and who deserves the most credit for finally finding the world's most wanted man?

Public displays of unity aside, those questions remain the subject of a subtle, but hot, partisan debate.

Obama claimed credit for himself Sunday night, emphasizing the decision to make the bin Laden manhunt a key objective was his, shortly after he took office more than two years ago.  He didn't mention Bush, who wanted bin Laden "dead or alive," or Clinton, who declared him "public enemy number one."

"I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda," Obama said early in his speech, "even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network."

Moreover, White House aides said Obama's decision to go forward with the dangerous secret operation, based on circumstantial evidence alone, was gutsy and bold.  The odds bin Laden would actually be there were only 60 to 80 percent, Panetta told Time magazine after the fact.

Leading Republicans have publicly praised Obama for his leadership in the moment, and strong majorities of Republican voters in recent polls say they believe the president deserves credit for the mission's success.

But there's a remarkable divide between parties over just how much credit President Bush deserves.  Eighty-one percent of Republicans say Bush deserves some recognition for the successful operation, according to a new Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll.  Only 35 percent of Democrats said they agree.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP, Dems Alike Commend Obama, Bush & Clinton for Efforts to Stop Bin Laden

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Members from both sides of the aisle in the House of Representatives Monday praised U.S. presidents dating all the way back to Bill Clinton for their efforts leading to Sunday’s ground assault on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where a team of elite Navy SEALS killed Osama bin Laden Sunday.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi addressed reporters Monday afternoon to “say hail to the chief,” and credited the success of the mission as “a tribute to the leadership of our commander in chief, President Barack Obama,” but she also acknowledged the work of the president’s two predecessors, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

“We have a commitment to honor our oath of office to protect and defend. President Obama has done that, with this building on the work of President Bush before him, and before that President Clinton -- even before 9/11 -- made Osama bin Laden Public Enemy No. 1 in the United States,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “I’m proud to be here with the Democratic Leadership of the House of Representatives to say hail to the chief. Congratulations to President Obama for his leadership, for his determination, for his commitment of resources, for his making a priority the capture, the apprehension of Osama bin Laden.”

Earlier Monday, House Speaker John Boehner also credited the administrations of Obama and Bush for their persistence in tracking bin Laden since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“I want to congratulate and thank the hard-working men and women of the Unites States armed services. I want to thank all those involved in the intelligence community for their tireless efforts and perseverance that led to this successful evening,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “I also want to commend President Obama and President Bush for all their efforts to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.”

Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was asked about the assertion that the Bush administration took its focus off bin Laden by going into Iraq, but said that anyone looking to place blame for the delay in the apprehension of the al Qaeda leader does not understand the slow process of intelligence gathering.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor agreed, recalling President Bush’s pledge to get bin Laden “dead or alive.”

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer also credited multiple administrations for the success of Sunday’s covert operation.

“Yesterday, was a day that -- as Leader Pelosi has pointed out -- Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and President Obama have worked diligently to accomplish,” Hoyer, D-Maryland, said. “President Obama, our intelligence community, the members of our armed forces, have all worked together to bring this day to reality.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Former Presidents Bush, Clinton Issue Statements on Bin Laden's Death

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former presidents are weighing in on Ssunday's killing of Osama bin Laden by American forces operating inside Pakistan.

Former President George W. Bush, whose entire presidency was defined by the Sept. 11 attacks, said in a statement Sunday night that President Obama called him to inform him of the news of bin Laden’s death.

Bush called the operation a “momentous achievement” that “marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001.”

“I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission.  They have our everlasting gratitude,” the former president said in a statement.  “The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”

Former President Bill Clinton, who was in office for the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, also issued a written statement.

"I congratulate the president, the National Security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al Qaeda attacks," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bill Clinton: 'Birther' Doubts About Obama's Citizenship 'Ludicrous'

ABC News(SAN DIEGO) -- Continuing outcry by "birthers" -- a small but vocal movement which questions whether President Barack Obama was actually born on U.S. soil -- could possibly end up hurting the Republican party, former President Bill Clinton said in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

A recent poll indicates that 51 percent of Republicans who will vote in the 2012 presidential elections don't believe Obama was born in the United States.  Obama -- who announced his re-election campaign Monday -- so far has done little to fight back against the erroneous claims, but Clinton thinks that will change.

"I think he will fight back," the former president said, "but I think one of the elementary rules of combat is you don't want to get in your opponent's way if he's shooting himself in the foot ...."

He pointed out that "a very different America" tended to show up to a presidential election than to a Congressional one.

"The economy will be better," he said, speaking of the next presidential election.  "If I were them, I'd be really careful riding that birther horse too much.  Everyone knows it's ludicrous."

The former president was speaking in an exclusive interview with ABC News Sunday in San Diego, where he was for his annual Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Former President Bill Clinton Praises Obama on Libya

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Speaking at the dedication of a new building for the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, named for the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, former President Clinton praised President Obama’s efforts in Libya.

“He would be very proud that Barack Obama became president of the United States, and very proud, Mr. President, of what you're doing in Libya with the international community," Bill Clinton said. "He would be very proud of you for wanting to share the responsibilities and the credit.”

The building is named after Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, who died tragically in a plane crash near Dubrovnik, Croatia, on April 3, 1996.  President Obama said he did not know or work with Brown personally but drew on lessons of his life as an example of American leadership, which he related back to the situation in Libya.

Obama said, “There are times, as when President Clinton showed extraordinary leadership in the Balkans, and moments, such as now, in the situation in Libya, where our conscience and our common interests compel us to act. We believe that force should not be the first option. We understand the costs and risks involved in the use of force. So whenever possible, we turn to alternatives that might change behavior: condemnation that puts violators on notice; sanctions that increase pressure; embargoes that block arms to aggressors; and accountability for those who commit crimes.”

The president said that if those efforts “prove insufficient” they have to be “prepared to take the necessary measures to uphold international peace and security and protect innocent people."

President Obama said that Brown, the first African-American Commerce Secretary, paved the way, in part, for him to become president.

"While I didn't know Ron Brown personally, I knew his story, and I drew inspiration from that story. And so when you say he'd be proud that I'm president, I think it's fair to say that I'm president in part because of him -- because of the example he set; because of the organization that he brought to the Democratic Party; because his capacity to get Bill Clinton elected, which, in turn, I think, showed how we could govern in a way that met the realities of the late 20th century and ultimately the 21st century."

The president joked that as the final speaker -- following Ambassador Susan Rice and former President Bill Clinton, who both knew Brown personally, he was thinking, “everything has been said, and, once again, Bill Clinton has said it better than I could.”

Obama then presented an American flag and plaque to representatives of the Brown family.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher Dies

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Warren Christopher, the globetrotting statesman who was also an expert in domestic affairs, passed away last Friday in Los Angeles.  He was 85.

It was during the Democrat's time as secretary of state under former President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997 that Christopher helped negotiate a peace deal in Bosnia, although he was less successful in trying to settle the long disputes between Israelis and Palestinians that continue today.

From 1977 to 1981, Christopher was undersecretary of state under former President Jimmy Carter and proved instrumental in forging the Panama Canal treaties.

He was also faced with the arduous task of attempting to win to release of 52 U.S. embassy workers taken captive by the Iranians in November 1979.  It wasn't until moments after Carter left office in January 1981 that the Americans were freed in exchange for the lifting of sanctions and unfreezing of Iranian assets.

At home, Christopher served on a commission to investigate allegations of brutality by the Los Angeles Police Department following the beating of Rodney King.  The panel's recommendations in 1991 led to the wide scale overhaul of police practices in Los Angeles.

Christopher was also used by Vice President Al Gore's campaign in 2000 to oversee the disputed vote count in Florida following the presidential election won eventually by then Texas governor and Republican George W. Bush after a Supreme Court vote.

At the time, Christopher was criticized for not standing up to the aggressive strategies used by his counterpart, former Secretary of State James Baker.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama SOTU Address May Mirror Clinton's of 16 Years Ago

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The State of the Union address former President Bill Clinton delivered 16 years ago might sound just as relevant today considering the political landscape awaiting President Obama when he arrives for his address Tuesday night.

Both speeches find a humbled Democratic president being introduced by a brand new Republican Speaker after a stunning election.

In 1995, Newt Gingrich intoned the traditional welcome, “I have the high privilege and distinct honor of introducing the President of the United States.”  And the President could not help but acknowledge the upheaval.

“Let me begin by congratulating all of you here in the 104th Congress, and congratulating you, Mr. Speaker,” President Clinton began. “If we agree on nothing else tonight, we must agree that the American people certainly voted for change in 1992 and in 1994." Laughter rippled across the chamber.

The Democratic President knew his agenda -- health care reform, economic growth, cutting the deficit -- all depended on finding a way to work with the newly empowered opposition.

“My fellow Americans, without regard to party, let us rise to the occasion,” President Clinton urged. “Let us put aside partisanship and pettiness and pride. As we embark on this course, let us put our country first, remembering that regardless of party label we are all Americans. And let the final test of everything we do be a simple one: Is it good for the American people?”

If President Barack Obama were to speak those very words on Tuesday evening, many might say they would not sound out of date at all.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bill Clinton Campaigns for Rahm Emanuel

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CHICAGO) -- Former President Bill Clinton is in Chicago to campaign for his former White House aide, Rahm Emanuel, who is now running for mayor of Chicago. 

This is not the first time he's helped Emanuel with a campaign. Clinton stumped for Emanuel when he ran for Congress.  But already, Emanuel's opponents are trying to put the most negative spin they can on this event featuring the former president. 

The last time that Bill Clinton appeared for a candidate in Chicago was last fall, when he appeared for the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Alexi Giannoulias. Giannoulias lost, but no one at Emanuel's rally Tuesday morning would blame Clinton for that.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Exclusive: George H.W. Bush's Oval Office Letter to Bill Clinton

Photo Courtesy - White House/Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- It's a tradition passed from president to president: leave a letter for the next occupant of the Oval Office on the desk the morning of the inauguration.

Often the contents of these letters are kept secret, but while conducting research for his new novel The Inner Circle, author Brad Meltzer asked George H.W. Bush about these letters, and the former president sent him a copy of what he wrote to Bill Clinton on Jan. 20, 1993.

Here is the full text of the letter:

January 20, 1993

Dear Bill,
When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago.  I know you will feel that too.

I wish you great happiness here.  I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.

There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.

You will be our President when you read this note.  I wish you well.  I wish your family well.

Your success now is our country’s success.  I am rooting hard for you.

Good luck –

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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