Clinton offered a sharp critique on Obama's readiness to be president in a PBS interview Friday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton sharply questioned whether Sen. Barack Obama is experienced enough to be president during a television interview that aired Friday night.
And the husband of Obama's rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton, suggested that electing the Illinois Democrat to be commander-in-chief would be a "risk."
"If you listen to the people who are most strongly for him, they say basically, 'We have to throw away all these experienced people, because they have been through the wars of the nineties,'" Clinton said in an interview on PBS' The Charlie Rose show. "'They made enough decisions and enough calls that they made a few mistakes, and what we want is someone who started running for president a year after he became a senator because he's fresh, he's new, he's never made a mistake. And he has massive political skills, and we're willing to risk it.'"
Asked later in the interview if he thought voters would be "rolling the dice about America" if they elect Obama president, Clinton did not outright disagree, saying, "It's less predictable."
"When was the last time we elected a president based on one year of service in the Senate before he started running?" the former president added.
"I don't want a president who's never made a mistake and never had to correct one," he also said.
Campaigning in Iowa Saturday, Obama said the former president's harsh assessment was likely to due to the latest polling numbers that indicate his wife is trailing in Iowa and slipping in New Hampshire.
“Look, I mean when I was 20 points down, they all thought that I was a wonderful guy,” Obama said at a campaign event in Waterloo. “Obviously things have changed here in Iowa and the rest of the country, and that's the kind of politics we've become accustomed to.”
Also in the PBS interview, Clinton compared Obama to himself in 1988, when he was a young governor of Arkansas who decided not to run for president yet.
"Even when I was a governor, and young, and thought I was the best politician in the Democratic Party, I didn't run the first time I could have. I had lots of Democratic governors encouraging me to, but I knew in my bones I shouldn't run, that I was a good enough politician to win, but I didn't think I was ready to be president."
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney