(CNN) - Bill Clinton’s former Labor Secretary – who had harsh words for presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton last month – is now criticizing his former boss for recent rhetoric on the trail, saying that the former president’s attacks on Barack Obama are “patently untrue,” and that he is injecting race into the campaign.
The comments came as the Obama campaign directed a new wave of attacks at former President Clinton Thursday.
“I write this more out of sadness than anger,” said Robert Reich in a Thursday post on his blog. “Bill Clinton’s ill-tempered and ill-founded attacks on Barack Obama are doing no credit to the former president, his legacy, or his wife’s campaign. Nor are they helping the Democratic Party.
“While it may be that all is fair in love, war, and politics, it’s not fair – indeed, it’s demeaning – for a former president to say things that are patently untrue… or to insinuate that Obama is injecting race into the race when the former president is himself doing it,” he added. “Now, sadly, we’re witnessing a smear campaign against Obama that employs some of the worst aspects of the old politics.”
Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer responded: “Robert Reich has a long history of false and negative attacks on Bill and Hillary Clinton. This is nothing new.”
Reich, who has not endorsed a candidate but has written admiringly about Obama in recent months, ripped Hillary Clinton in another blog post last month for "not telling the truth" on Social Security and taking marching orders from her top pollster.
The Obama campaign also took direct aim at the former president Thursday, sending the Reich blog item to reporters and arranging a conference call with Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano in which the senator said former President Clinton has “shaded things and has tried to manipulate the facts in a way that is patently unfair, I think that is, frankly, flat wrong and I think it’s demeaning.”
They also sent supporters a fundraising e-mail from Michelle Obama, the Illinois’ senator’s wife, in which she focused on the president’s recent attacks on her husband, saying "Barack Obama isn't relying on a former President of the United States to campaign for him."
- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand