Skip to comments.Bill Clinton is Back and it's No More Mr. Nice Guy
Posted on 06/08/2012 7:57:38 AM PDT by Kaslin
WASHINGTON - Bill Clinton continues to distance himself from some of Barack Obama's policy positions, firing opinions that have ticked off the White House and the president's reelection campaign.
The former president lobbed his latest missile Tuesday when he urged Obama to temporarily extend George W. Bush's tax cuts that are due to expire the end of this year, including the two top tax rates for the nation's wealthiest income earners.
That was rank heresy, as far as the White House was concerned.
But when Clinton used the word "recession" to talk about the economy, that violated the party line that we are in "a recovery," something many if not most Americans do not believe, according to the Gallup Poll.
Obama has steadfastly opposed the lower tax rates for Americans earning more than $250,000 and has shown no sign of backing away from his position, despite opposition from Republicans who want the tax cuts made permanent.
The end of the year expiration date has put the nation on a perilous course that many economists say is headed toward a fiscal cliff at a time when the economy is slowing down and unemployment is rising.
Not only will everyone's income taxes go up in January, but so will the Social Security payroll tax which has been temporarily reduced to 4 percent to boost the economy but will revert back to 6 percent, unless it, too, is extended.
At the same time that taxes will rise sharply, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts will also take place if Congress can't work out an end-of-the-year deficit-cutting plan.
But Clinton said in an interview on CNBC's "Closing Bell" with Maria Bartiromo that a long-term agreement most likely can't be reached in the lame-duck session after the election and will have to be put off until sometime next year.
"What I think we need to do is to find some way to avoid the fiscal cliff, to avoid doing anything that would contract the economy now, and then deal with what's necessary in the long-term debt-reduction plans as soon as they can, which presumably would be after the election," he said.
"They will probably have to put everything off until early next year. That's probably the best thing to do right now," he added.
Republicans cheered Clinton's remarks, saying they supported the GOP's position to keep the Bush tax cuts in place right now. "Even Bill Clinton came out for it, before he was against it," House Speaker John Boehner said.
The White House declined comment, but it's clear that Obama's advisers and campaign strategists considered his remarks "off message." Nameless officials "pointed out that Obama has said repeatedly that he would not extend the Bush tax cuts for higher earners," the Washington Post reported.
But it seemed clear the president's advisers were not happy about his unsolicited advice and communicated that to Clinton's office. Not long after his interview, the former president's spokesman Matt McKenna released a brief statement explaining his remarks, but not backing away from what he said.
"In the interview, he simply said that he doubted that a long-term agreement on spending cuts and revenues would be reached until after the election," the statement said.
"Later, in the interview, he said government spending levels were higher and revenues were lower than they would normally be because there was a recession and we're still living with the aftermath of it."
Even so, the statement insisted Clinton believes "we're not in a recession, even though we'd all like [economic] growth to be higher."
Whether that soothed the White House remains unclear at this point, but feelings between Obama and Clinton have not exactly been warm and cozy for sometime now.
When Obama and his campaign high command were bashing his
Republican rival, Mitt Romney, on his record as a business turnaround investor at Bain Capital, Clinton went to Romney's defense.
He called Romney "a man who's been governor and had a sterling business career."
But these criticisms of Obama's political and policy strategies are not isolated instances.
In a book on economic policy that Clinton wrote last year, he didn't mince words about the Obama economy that was then in its third dismal year and barely growing at a feeble 1.7 percent. "We're in a mess now," Clinton wrote.
Even the book's title was a blunt rebuke of Obama's handling of the economy: "Back To Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy."
He seemed to be suggesting that in the third year of Obama's presidency, he still hadn't put the country back to work, that his economic policies were not smart, and that the economy was still weak.
What Clinton especially disliked was Obama's attacks on Wall Street executives and wealthy big business CEOs. "Many of them supported me when I raised their taxes in 1993, because I didn't attack them for their success," he wrote at the time.
And then there was this comment from the political master that had Obama's high command rolling their eyes: "It is heartening that people all over the world want to pursue their version of the American
Dream but troubling that others are doing a better job than we are of providing it to their people."
While Obama last year was still pursuing his ideological obsession to raise income taxes in a still-anemic, high unemployment economy, Clinton was publicly bashing that policy, too.
"I personally don't believe we ought to be raising taxes or
cutting spending, either one, until we get this economy off the ground," he said last fall in an interview with Newsmax.
Clinton still thinks, his latest statement notwithstanding, that the Obama economy still hasn't gotten off the ground and we're likely to hear more from him on that score in the weeks to come.
I don’t trust this guy, but have you noticed how much better he can think with Hillary pretty much out of his life?
“O” has only a worm's eye view of economic facts AND is a malicious creep for whom encouraging success and hard work constitutes ideological and political anathema
Bill Clinton is Back and it’s No More Mr. Nice Guy....
What? When was Slick Willie ever a “nice guy?”
Did I miss something?
Clinton SO wants Obama to fetch him some coffee.
The correct caption to that photo is:
“Did someone say ‘Colombian hookers?!?’”
Bill has never been Mr Nice Guy? More like a rattlesnake with the rattles removed. He's always been brutal but the uninformed don't see it coming.
Bill Clinton deserves to be in Ft. Leavenworth in an orange jumpsuit, along with his harridan spouse.
However, if he can help bring down Zippy, we’ll welcome his services.
Never get tired of that picture, it just says so much about these guys.
First of all, it’s not Presidents who put people to work. WEALTHY people put people to work.
The wealthy aren’t going to put people to work when they can’t invest. They don’’t dare invest when they know that business regulations and tax policies can break them, over night.
They may be wealthy, but they aren’t unsinkable, and they too stand to loose their homes, properties, businesses and everything they’ve worked for all of their lives.
Zero’s tax policies ARE ruining this nation and they have been since he’s been in office. Everything is unstable so don’t expect any recovery until it does stabilize.
I absolutely NEVER liked Clinton, but in this particular case, he’s absolutely right. If the man can deflect votes from Zero due to Zero’s own stupidity and bullheadedness, then he will have done one thing right, deserving credit where credit is due.
Businessmen/women WANT to advance, but their hands and finances are tied as long as Zero is at the wheel. As long as their hands are tied, those in need of jobs will suffer.
Is this the same Bill Clinton who balanced four budgets only with the help of Newt Gingrich and the Contract With America, plus got to ride the economic boom of the “dot com” era?
Bubba knows how to surf on public opinion and events. It’s instinctual for him. That’s what he did as president and that’s what he’s doing now.
Newt is underrated and under appreciated. History will be very kind to Newt, which will serve as a well earned embarrassment to his critics- all much lesser men.
What a pic. Some things never change. Bill Clinton walks into the room and sucks up all the oxygen. Look at Obama, he’s already gasping and getting faint.
During the election cycle of 1992, George H.W. Bush lost his job after Bill Clinton hammered him relentlessly for having caused the worst economy of the last 50 years.
In fact, as CNNs Brooke Jackson has reported: Three days before Christmas 1992, the National Bureau of Economic Research finally issued its official proclamation that the recession had ended 21 months earlier. What became the longest boom in U.S. history actually began nearly two years before Clinton took office. See (See http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/10/31/jackson.recession.primer.otsc/).
By the same token, Clinton is generally perceived as having a stellar economic record during his own presidency, in spite of the fact that the economy was already starting to decline during the last year of his term after the stock market crashed in March 2000.
According to a report by MSNBC: The longest economic expansion in U.S. history faltered so much in the summer of 2000 that business output actually contracted for one quarter, the government said Wednesday in releasing a comprehensive revision of the gross domestic product. Based on new data, the Commerce Department said that the GDP the countrys total output of goods and services shrank by 0.5 percent at an annual rate in the July-September quarter of 2000. See: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3676690/ns/business-stocks_and_economy/t/gdp-figures-revised-downward/.
I’ve done my level best to eradicate the memory of that from my mind.