January 24th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Reich takes aim at Bill Clinton

Reich has some sharp words for his former boss.

Reich has some sharp words for his former boss.

(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

soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. Bimmer

    Is not Reich the person who Presdient Clinton gave him a job and mag=de him famous.

    What a traitor?

    January 24, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  2. Eric in Massachusetts

    Obama, the Great Uniter. All he seems to be doing is dividing. Oh well. Guess it's the same ole same ole.

    January 24, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  3. W.H. Thomas

    Mr. Davies I agree with you 100%... I first supported Hillary Clinton before the primaries started. I begun to listen to all three leading canidates on their policy issues regarding the war in Iraq, Health Care, Social Security reform and the economy. I agreed with most of Obamas plans for the future, but yet I still was going to vote for Clinton in my states (South Carolina) primary. Until Hillary started all this anti Obama rethoric after her lost in the Iowa primary. I lost all respect for Ms. Clinton and she will not get my vote. I am sure she will win the Democratic nomination for President. But she will not even get my vote there. Ask any Republican, especially here in the south and they will tell you that they hope Hillary wins because it will be their best chance for winning the White House.

    January 24, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  4. Karen, Jersey City

    The interesting thing here is that you all know Bill is lying and your hate for your country allows you to integrate these lies into your very core. I guess the saying is right, birds of a feather LIE together....

    January 24, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  5. Donna, NJ

    I have attempted to add a comment regarding Hillary's questionable fundraising campaign for the US Senate and how every major news media, including CNN, MSNBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, etc, aired it for months because it was such a serious issue. It was major headline story regarding the Clinton's relationship with Peter Paul that most of us almost "forgot" about. Everyone regardless of political affiliation should take a moment to look at "THE VIDEO THAT HILLARY DOESN'T WANT YOU TO SEE" on the Internet and draw their own conclusions before making any serious decisions about their favorite candidate. Just trying to "keep it real".

    January 24, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  6. Donald

    Once again, apparently, to know them (Team Clinton) is not to love them.

    January 24, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  7. dee

    Hillary Voted for war with Iraq and Iran(2007) for Bush

    someone explain how experience paid off. She never learned from her mis-takes.

    Nafta – SC loss Jobs

    Please explain why would you want more.

    That type of old broken experience is irrelevant when you want change

    January 24, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  8. Roger from MA

    This is a little man with big integrity!

    It's nice to see him standing up to the Clintonistas and their political war machine!

    January 24, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  9. Derek


    You can't honestly say with a straight fact that Obama is a divisive person. He's the uniter, bringing in independents and disgruntled Republicans. That is the basis of his entire campaign.

    Divisive politics is when you:

    1) Point out that another candidate is African-American, so that there is a white backlash against that candidate.
    2) Constantly position yourself against the opposing party and say things like. "I've taken their punches." "I've been through their fires".
    3) Leave your husband behind in a state you have conceded to attack your candidate incessently so you can play good cop in other states.

    Sound familiar. It should.

    Your blindness to this will ensure that Hillary is the Democratic nominee and that the Democrats lose in the General Election.

    If you watched the Republican debate tonight, you know exactly how they will run against Hillary and that it will work. She has the highest negatives of any candidate. This will be like taking candy from a baby for the Republicans.

    Open your eyes, support your party and nominate a candidate that can beat the Republicans. Obama!

    January 24, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  10. Laura Nason

    Obama Himself brought race into the equation. He also brought his drug use. I don't think anyone knew about it until he told about it in a school speech. I doubt many people had read his book until after that. And I saw and heard the entire speech he made about Reagan and it sure sounded like high praise to me. I guess he forgot that Reagan is the one who started all the welfare reform hoopla because he and most republicans believed that the vast majority of welfare recipients were black which was then and is now, patently FALSE. They skewed their research results because they used only cities like Detroit, Chicago and St Louis, among others where that could have been true. And Reagan is the one who started the fantasy about the black "Welfare Queen" scamming the "system". Most welfare fraud is carried out by people who WORK in welfare offices not by recipients, though a small number of recipients DO fraud the system. Remember the "tent cities" that were set up to protest Reagan's policies. At least he didn't have protesters arrested.
    And Obama STARTED the dirty politics in the first place then turned into a baby the first time any of the other candidates struck back. He should just go back to Chicago if he can't take the heat. He started by saying Hillary was too ambitious and wanted too much to be president. Talk about sexist.
    What they need to do is stop attacking each other and start talking about facts. What about Barbara Bush's comments about how wonderfully Katrina worked out for "those people" in New Orleans. That's the attitude most republicans have about black people in particular and all POOR people in general.

    January 24, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  11. Jason Davies

    Ok....now that I've vented a bit. Here's the deal – for all you fellow Democrats who care about taking our country back anyway. As much as I despise the tactics of Clinton, we simply can't let the Republicans win. Plain and simple. Even if HIllary does win the nomination – and I would still submit Obama has a chance – we all MUST support the eventual Democratic nominee. Yes, I agree it's going to be tough. Consider the following. All we've seen from the Clintons is nothing compared to what the Rove attack machine will unleash on the Democratic nominee. Eight years is enough. For years, the Republicans made the argument that if they were just given a chance, the country would be better off. Well, they had their chance and they screwed it up. Unfortunately, unless you win in politics, it doesn't matter how great your ideas are – and believe me, Hillary is far closer to what Democrats want than the Republican alternative. We have to remember that. McCain brags about being anti-choice his whole life, is fine with being in Iraq for 100 years or more, and joked about bombing Iran. I do believe fundamentally that the Clintons have our interests in mind – they simply know that in order to accomplish change, you need to get elected first. Politics is by nature a slimy adventure. Maybe it takes one to beat a worse one. One thing is certain, we need the Democratic party back in the White House, so no matter how we feel about Hillary, in the end, even as we hold our nose, we need to ensure a victory for the Democratic party in 08. Party unity, even if it isn't our ideal, is our only hope. Do I support Hillary now? Now way, I just ordered my Obama bumper stickers. Will I support her if she gets the nomination. Absolutely. In the end, politics unfortunately requires compromise. Letting this next election go to the Republicans would be our defeat and we simply can't let it happen. Let's roll up our sleeves for Obama in the primaries, but aggressively push for the eventual Democratic nominee – even if it's HIllary. I mean let's face it, the 90s weren't all that bad... : )

    January 25, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  12. George Niman

    Bill Clinton,

    Once a liar always a Liar. Don't believe a word he says.

    January 25, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  13. Truethis

    I noticed that most of these blogger that support Hillary are in the blue states and you think that she can win without the blue states? They are die hard, don't think outside the box, status quo supporter. Divide and Conquer that's her plan but if she's the Democratic nominee the Republican will WIN.

    January 25, 2008 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  14. eshe

    I remeber the 1994 Rwanda genocide.One million people lost their lives while Bill clinton was in office. He ignored as if it wasnt there. BUt when it comes to yugoslavia ,kosovo ...Ireland his response was fast . I dont think the clintons care about blacks. Words and actions are different.

    January 25, 2008 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  15. c martin

    HIlary voted for Iraq and then recently voted for Iran. I guess she has all the experience we need in America.

    She would know exactly what to do on day one. She will take us straight to war!

    Go Billary!!!!

    January 25, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. Jeffro

    All of you Clinton campaingers now try to smear CNN as an Obama advocate, are mearly partisan yourself. So, its both funny and ironic to hear you all crying foul. I think the news has an obligation to cover things as they are, and not give favoritism to legion and legacy. For instance, you can not turn your head, as a news organization, when major political figures are all coming to Obama's defense. And since CNN can not take a side either way, it is just going to look like they're favoring Obama, more so if you are a paranoid.
    Edwards, '08.

    January 25, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. King

    I must personaly say that it is disgustfull to hear such lies and disturtion from a former president of the United state of America, just because he want his wife to become the next president. Everybody should recall the former lies of Bill Clinton, he may not have repented yet.

    January 25, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. Jose Card - Independent

    George Niman January 25, 2008 12:07 am ET

    "Bill Clinton,

    Once a liar always a Liar. Don't believe a word he says."

    Well said, George!

    January 25, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  19. GaryO Virginia Beach

    Reich is a disgruntled former employee.

    Why doesn't CNN ask for specifics when someone makes charges against the Clintons for "for injecting race into the campaign?"

    CNN ,this story does not even have the pretense of being responsible journalism. Your bias in favor of Obama and against the Clintons is overwhelmingly apparent to any reasonable individual.

    You, CNN, and the news media in general have replaced whatever social conscience you might have had with a pure lust for ratings and profit.

    The harm the media is willing to do to our country is limitless.

    January 26, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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