Entries in President Bill Clinton (2)


Bill Clinton: Despite Romney's 'Sterling Business Career,' Obama Proposals Superior

CNN(NEW YORK) -- On CNN last night, former President Bill Clinton was asked by fill-in host Harvey Weinstein about the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s tenure as head of private equity firm Bain Capital.

“Governor Romney keeps talking about his experience at Bain Capital as a producer of jobs and that he had 25 years in the private sector,” Weinstein said. “It seems to play with a certain group, but do you think that really will affect people and think that he can produce jobs that the president can’t?”

“I think it will affect some people who relate well to businessmen,” Clinton said, “and I think he had a good business career. There is a lot of controversy about that. But if you go in and you try to save a failing company, and you and I have friends here who invest in companies, you can invest in a company, run up the debt, loot it, sell all the assets, and force all the people to lose their retirement and fire them. Or you can go into a company, have cutbacks, try to make it more productive with the purpose of saving it. And when you try, like anything else you try, you don’t always succeed. Not every movie you made was a smash hit.”

“That’s for sure,” said Weinstein.

“So I don’t think that we ought to get into the position where we say ‘This is bad work, this is good work,’” Clinton continued. “I think, however, the real issue ought to be, what has Governor Romney advocated in the campaign that he will do as president? What has President Obama done and what does he propose to do? How do these things stack up against each other?

“That’s the most relevant thing. There’s no question that in terms of getting up and going to the office and, you know, basically performing the essential functions of the office, the man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold,” the former president concluded. “But they have dramatically different proposals. And it’s my opinion, anyway, that the Obama proposals and the Obama record will be far better for the American economy and most Americans than those that Governor Romney has laid out. And that’s what the election ought to be about.”

The Romney folks have seized upon Clinton’s description of the former CEO’s “sterling business career,” as well as his argument that “I don’t think that we ought to get into the position where we say ‘This is bad work, this is good work,’” as evidence that Clinton pushed back against the Bain attacks.

Asked about the interview Friday, White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said, “I did not see the entire interview, but I saw some of the reports. And I also understand that there’s one other thing that President Clinton said in that interview that has not been as widely reported, which is that he said that this was a company, when he was characterizing the business activities at Bain, that they would ‘invest in a company, run up the debt, and force people to lose their retirement and fire them.’ So it’s not apparent to me that President Clinton made news in this interview.”

Earnest said, “It seems that he was drawing the same kinds of conclusions and making the same arguments the president’s re-election campaign has been making, which is, which is related to what kinds of values and experience do we want in the Oval Office? There’s one candidate who is citing his business experience that President, that I just read to you, that President Clinton characterized. Saying that he’ll take those kinds of values and that kind of experience into the Oval Office.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gingrich to GOP: Shut Gov’t Down If You Have To, ‘95 Wasn’t So Bad

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Contrary to the conventional wisdom that the government shutdown of 1995 helped pave the way for President Bill Clinton's re-election victory the next year with the passage of a balanced budget agreement, Newt Gingrich is arguing more than a decade-and-a-half later that the "facts are exactly the opposite."

With just days to go before lawmakers return to Washington to try to hash out an agreement to avert a federal government shutdown this year, Gingrich offered a message for Republican leaders in an Op-Ed to be published in this Sunday’s Washington Post: "Work to keep the government open," but if you have to, don't hesitate to shut it down.

In the piece, Gingrich also argues that it was Republicans -- not Democrats -- who actually fared better politically in the aftermath of the 1995 shutdown led by the former GOP House Speaker.

"This historic success was not an achievement of the Clinton administration," Gingrich writes, referring to the budget deal. "In the summer of 1995, administration officials publicly expressed doubt that our aggressive timeline for a balanced budget was even possible. Instead, the balanced budget was an outcome driven by House Republicans with limited support from skeptical Senate Republicans."

None of it would have been possible, the potential 2012 presidential candidates argues, "had Republicans not stood firm in 1995."

But Clinton emerged from the crisis looking like a leader on budget issues. His approval rating inched up, and after the bruising Republican Revolution of 1994, he went on to score a decisive victory over GOP nominee Bob Dole and Reform Party candidate Ross Perot in the 1996 presidential election.

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken shortly after the nearly three-week partial government shutdown ended that year, 75 percent of Americans said it had been a "bad thing" and about twice as many blamed Republicans in Congress (50 percent) as the Clinton administration (27 percent) for it. Half of Americans -- 50 percent -- approved of how President Clinton handled the situation compared to 22 percent approval for Republicans.

But in hindsight, Gingrich writes in the Post that there was actually an electoral silver lining for Republicans in 1996.

"Those who claim that the shutdown was politically disastrous for Republicans ignore the fact that our House seat losses in 1996 were in the single digits. Moreover, it was the first time in 68 years that Republicans were reelected to a House majority -- and the first time that had ever happened with a Democrat winning the presidency."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio