ORLANDO—Former President Bill Clinton, still widely popular for presiding over a sustained economic boom, seemed to suggest at a campaign stop today that he might share blame for the 2008 financial collapse.
The comment came as he forcefully argued that whoever is to blame for causing the crisis, it did not begin on President Obama’s watch and the nation should reelection Obama because he’s been moving the country in the right direction.
“I honestly believe, it doesn’t matter who caused it or whether the contributing factors all happened under President Bush or something I did or something Ronald Reagan did 30 years ago,” he told an enthusiastic crowd of around 2,000 in a ballroom of the Rosen Plaza Hotel. “Regardless, President Obama didn’t cause it.”
“But if he just kept telling us that and not doing anything to fix things, we’d have to replace him. Because we hired him to take a job, and you don’t get to take only the good and not the bad. And so, he took it on,” he continued.
Clinton told the Washington Post Tuesday night that he believes the election will turn on the central question of whether Americans can be persuaded that the economy was hurt so badly by the collapse that no president could have turned it around in just one term.
It was a point he made in Charlotte and again in front of a Miami crowd on Tuesday. He pressed the message in Orlando Wednesday, part of a series of campaign stops Clinton is doing on Obama’s behalf in the wake of his highly received speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last week.
“What I want to say again and again and again is it is my opinion—as someone who beginning when I was a governor in 1979 has spent a lifetime trying to create jobs… It is my opinion that no president—not Barack Obama, not Bill Clinton, not anybody who served before us, nobody who ever had this job, could have repaired that much damage to this economy in just four years,” he said.
Clinton has continued to sharpen the message he delivered in Charlotte, unveiling a new summation of the argument in Orlando. He told supporters there that they needed to get out to register voters: “Get out there and talk to people for shared prosperity over trickle down. For ‘we’re all in this together’ over ‘you’re on your own.’ For cooperation over conflict. And for arithmetic over illusion,” he said.
Although Clinton’s wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has spent the day dealing with the fallout from the death of four state department workers, including J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, the former president did not mention foreign policy or the attack overseas