April 18th, 2008
07:10 PM ET
6 years ago

Clinton friend Reich backs Obama

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Reich is a former Clinton administration member.
Reich is a former Clinton administration member.

(CNN) - Robert Reich, a former Clinton cabinet member and longtime friend of the former president, has formally endorsed Barack Obama's White House bid, saying Friday that "my conscience won't let me be silent any longer."

"Although Hillary Clinton has offered solid and sensible policy proposals, Obama's strike me as even more so," Reich wrote on his blog. He served as the Secretary of Labor from 1993-1997 and is currently a professor at UC Berkeley.

"His plans for reforming Social Security and health care have a better chance of succeeding," Reich continued. "His approaches to the housing crisis and the failures of our financial markets are sounder than hers. His ideas for improving our public schools and confronting the problems of poverty and inequality are more coherent and compelling. He has put forward the more enlightened foreign policy and the more thoughtful plan for controlling global warming."

Reich, whose relationship with the Clintons dates back to their law school days at Yale, has long been a critic of the New York senator's White House bid. Shortly before the Iowa caucuses in January, he wrote that voters would have a choice "between someone who talks the talk, and somebody who's walked the walk."

"I don’t get it," he wrote then. "If there’s anyone in the race whose history shows unique courage and character, it's Barack Obama. HRC’s campaign, by contrast, is singularly lacking in conviction about anything."

Reich also criticized Bill Clinton earlier in the year over the former president's sharp attacks on Obama in South Carolina.

“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," he wrote in January. "Nor are they helping the Democratic Party."

Asked to respond to Reich's endorsement, Clinton spokesman Mo Eleithee said, "Didn't he endorse him last year?"

Reich is the latest former Clinton administration official to announce his support for Barack Obama. Last month, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who held several positions under Bill Clinton, also came out in support of the Illinois senator. Clinton supporter and James Carville later called that as an "act of betrayal." Carville is a CNN political analyst.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (486 Responses)
  1. Anne

    I feel that those who make the nominee switch do so for very good reasons - for this country. Wake up people, we are in one hot mess!!!

    It is not just up to the next President to get us out of this mess...we have to help them as well so we better get used to CHANGE!!!

    GO OBAMA!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. Peter

    All these endorsement for Obama that in His political life did nothing yet.
    If is the next President which I doubt, He will have lots of problem to accommodate all these politicians that endorsed him.

    Hillary 08

    April 18, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. ladymag

    So, suddenly it's ok for superdelegates to choose the nominee, huh? You Obambies want it only one way – your way. Never mind the established rules. (Florida, Michigan). As long as superdelegates elect Obamby, it's ok. God forbid they should elect Hillary. I can hear the screams now. Just like I heard the screams from all of you after the last debate. OMG, the "golden boy" was picked on. How dare anybody pick on the darling "golden boy". Must have something to do with racism.

    By the way, did you see the debate? Obamby couldn't utter a coherent sentence. But he is gooood at reading a teleprompter. I guess that's good enough for a president. We had one like that for the past 7 years.

    Keep it up. The cry baby needs cradling.

    April 18, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Mark Webb

    FOR HILLARY, TIME TO LEARN MAKING COOKIES HAS COME!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. Barbara Texas

    Go Obama!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Charles

    On the one hand Hilary Clinton supporters say they are simply endorsing Barack Obama for a cabinet position. On the other hand they say he is unelectable. The only position you can take based on those two points, Is that all these seasoned politicians who have spent their entire adult lives looking at the political tea leaves are wrong or is it maybe that your emotional support of Hilary Clinton is blinded you to the fact of what's happening.

    April 18, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. inam

    I know a sales person when I see one. Hillary is really a good sales person, but she is a really good car sales person but not a great sales person of ideas and hopes. She really comes across as an intellectual lightweight. In a presidential race she has found every skin deep, surface argument to counter a serious and mature discussion that has been so required in this time. To be a great person sometimes one has to think beyond one's self. She can't even rise above the moment in such CRITICAL times. What can one really expect from her Presidency? Whining like she did, unfair media, then Bill comes out yesterday and refutes how she has never whined. Where is the dignity?or it's concept? Hillary maybe the first serious Presidential nominee, but she is not a serious individual. She would make a great used car sales lady however!

    April 18, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. yvonne

    I have been reading the blogs on cnn for months now, and I am tired of the same old stupid comments. People wake up and look at what's going on around you. No matter what you say or think, you can't stop progress whether it be Clinton or Obama. Just be grateful that (hopefully) we want have another 4-8 yrs of republicans. I am an Obama supporter and would gladly vote for Hillary if she wins the nomination. Others should look at it in the same way. No matter who's the nominee vote (Democrate)!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. yael

    What a biased headline. Reading his remarks long before this, anyone would know he is not a Clinton "friend."

    April 18, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. Jerry in Florida

    Not to worry. Who really needs friends like Robert Reich? He's just one more opportunist/bleeding heart, just like Kerry, Kennedy and Richardson. They are suggesting that the super delegates vote the conscience of the voters. However, Senator Clinton won those primaries. Yet, they support Senator Obama. How hypocritical can some elected officials be? Go figure. I guess that is part of the reason. They can talk out of both sides of their mouths. And, do it well too!

    Oh well, stay tuned. More to come.

    April 18, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. John Zeger

    Anybody can turn out policies that sound good, but without the experience to carry them out it doesn't mean much. And that sums up Obama - an untested man who just sounds good!

    April 18, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. April in Texas

    Now thats making a statement.... Hope hes not harshly judged as Richardson was... We welcome your support Reich and thank you for making a solid and sound decision.

    Obama 08

    April 18, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. AA

    I just don't understand why the Clintons feel that everyone that worked under their cabinet should endorse them. Those who wish to endorese him have the right to do so. Clinton supporters are so wrapped around thier own world. GET OVER IT.
    Obama 08

    April 18, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Brandy

    To Susan, (first blog)
    THIS DOES MATTER. More and more are jumping on the bus with Obama, because they see how Hillary is tearing down the Democratic party! How dare you say Obama is critical? That is so opposite! This man has only tried to defend himself against the lies of Hillary's dirty campaign! Give me a break! Her campaign is a waste of time at this point....Goodbye Hillary! And thank you to Reich!

    Yes we can! Obama 08

    April 18, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. Bob

    How could anyone back Obama;constantly twists words to meet his own selfish motives.I guess that he backs Obama's Minister who preaches God Dam America in his sermons.Hillary is more honest than either of them.

    April 18, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. Gayle

    Which Clinton is Running for Office?

    Has anyone noticed that today Bill Clinton is campaigning in 6 places today, while Hillary is doing so in 2 places. And on Saturday Bill Clinton is campaigning in 4 places and Hillary in 2. Obama is campainging in 3 places on Friday and 5 places on Saturday, and Michelle is campaigning on Friday? The schedule is on the ABC Website. Point is, which Clinton is really running? And, will it be the same in the White House regarding Trade policy, etc.?? These questions need to be raised.

    Could it be that former Clinton administrators are worring about this?

    April 18, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. peter

    I admit he is absolutely right when he said
    "Although Hillary Clinton has offered solid and sensible policy proposals, Obama's strike me as even more so," Reich wrote on his blog. He served as the Secretary of Labor from 1993-1997 and is currently a professor at Brandeis University.
    "His plans for reforming Social Security and health care have a better chance of succeeding," Reich continued. "His approaches to the housing crisis and the failures of our financial markets are sounder than hers. His ideas for improving our public schools and confronting the problems of poverty and inequality are more coherent and compelling. He has put forward the more enlightened foreign policy and the more thoughtful plan for controlling global warming."

    April 18, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Niyi

    FYI :- I've never met anybody who wanted to support a looser or a lier in my over 40 years of age, keep it coming people coz we're closing this game sortly.......... try again in 2012 Hilary and hopefully u will be too old since you cannot remember a thing now at 60, 60 + 4 = 64

    April 18, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. South Beach

    What policies? Everything I've heard from Obama is very vague, always referring back to "change" and "changing the way Washington works", but anything even slightly specific seems to echo Hillary's ideas and then watered down so they are non-committal. Isn't that the way Washington works?

    April 18, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. Eddie

    I think Obama has got endorsements from some of the most educated and well informed politicians to date.This says a lot about how efficient Obama will be when he is president.

    April 18, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Axl

    This guy has known Hillary Clinton since Obama was in first grade. He served under Bill Clinton and his disillusionment with her is significant because it shows that she's gone beyond the point which loyal friends can tolerate keeping quiet.

    April 18, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Harold

    of course it matters! Robert Reich, Bill Richardson, Sam Nunn. These are some of the brightest minds in our country who recognize the power of a unified country. Elitist? Dont you think it is a good thing for the President to be smarter than average Joe (unlike the last 8 years). BTW don't forget their is only one person in this country powerful enought to unite the Republican party and that is Hillary herself. They want her to win the primary because they will come out of the wood work to defeat her.

    April 18, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. FEDUP

    These so called moderators are as biased as their network. Why the new twist to old news. It implies a frindship? He supported Obama way back, why the re-hash?

    April 18, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Barack Obama 44th president !

    Great News !

    Long time friends of the Clinton's know what is REAL and I am so glad they are making the right choice to back the best candidate to effect real change for the American people in Washington.

    I know there are more and hope they will do the same.

    It's time for REAL change in Washington, it's tiem for Barack Obama for president !

    April 18, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. A.

    Here's something else that's exciting, John Edwards was wearing an Obama pin last night on the Colbert report!

    April 18, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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