August 14th, 2009
05:45 PM ET
5 years ago

Bill Clinton: 'The president needs your help'

Bill Clinton on Thursday urged supporters of President Obama's health care plan to voice their support.
Bill Clinton on Thursday urged supporters of President Obama's health care plan to voice their support.

(CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton was on his toes - and on message - as he urged supporters of President Barack Obama's health care reform agenda to step up their efforts.

Speaking Thursday to a crowd of political activists at the annual Netroots Nation convention in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Clinton said a big victory on health care would have serious political implications.

"The president needs your help," Clinton said. "The minute the president signs this bill, his approval will go up. Within a year, when the good things begin to happen, and the bad things they're saying will happen don't happen, approval will explode."

The four-day convention for left-leaning bloggers, thinkers and activists is themed "This ain't no tea party." It's a not-so-subtle jab at recent conservative grassroots efforts against the White House's fiscal agenda.

"Everybody knows what happened in 1993 and 1994," Clinton said, referencing his own administration's failed attempts at health care reform. "One thing we know is that if you get out there and do not prevail the victors get to rewrite history."

Most of the speech centered on mainstay Democratic issues, and Clinton - fresh off of his trip to North Korea to bring home then-imprisoned American journalists - was in top rhetorical form.

"You are the trustees of this moment," he told the crowd. But his speech didn't exactly go off without a hitch: In a moment somewhat reminiscent of the contentious health care town hall meetings around the country, Clinton was at one point forced to defend himself from a heckler demanding answers on gay rights issues.

"You want to talk about 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell?'" Clinton fired back when gay activist Lane Hudson asked about the the controversial military policy. "I'll tell you exactly what happened. You couldn't deliver me any support in Congress, and they voted by a veto-proof majority in both houses against my attempts to let gays serve in the military, and the media supported them."

Throughout his speech, Clinton defended his previous work on progressive initiatives as he urged the audience to make their voices heard.

"We cannot be in the peanut gallery," he said. "We cannot ask the president or Congress to do it alone."


Filed under: Bill Clinton • Health care
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Neutralizer

    help him what? Destroy this country more? We're up to our eyeballs with debt I want Obambi to fail! I want him to fail BIG TIME!

    August 14, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  2. Alicia

    Wow.....I wish I had kinown President Clinton was going to be in Pittsburgh. I think he is one of our best Presidents to date.

    Hopefully we can have 'Don't ask; Don't tell.".

    August 14, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  3. mother and sister of a soldier

    This is a man who showed his lack of respect for congress and the people lying at his congressional hearings,has had multiple affairs as govenor, disgraced the Oval office and gave KSM the second opportunity to strike the Trade Towers when he deported him after the first bombing. He is an eloquent speaker like the current pres.....what does this tell you when he has resurfaced unblemished in government. I am thoroughly disgusted by our government and the lowering of the moral poll among our leaders. Dear Pres Obama, these are not "mistakes" and do not warrent a place in representing our world.

    August 14, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  4. B

    He is right, all that the Republicans are attempting to do is defeat Obama at the expense of people that need this legislation passed.

    August 14, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  5. Gerry

    He will only get help when he stops lying. He needs to quit campaining and get to the white houe and work for the people. He dosen't know what a prosise is.

    August 14, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  6. Darth Vadik, CA

    How do you know when something is good for you?

    WHEN REPUBLICANS ARE AGAINST IT.

    August 14, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. Simmy

    Listen to FP Bill........He's been there.....He knows the treachery of the gangsta opposition party.......If not now....maybe never....If this bill fails again, the insurance industry will be giddier than a multi-million dollar lottery winner......They've been experiencing big paydays for decades....It's time for drastic change.......Republicans are doing what they do best, spin, lie, scandalize, fear-bate......That's all they've got.......Democrats have a golden opportunity to kick their behinds......I'm waiting to see the first real Dem break ranks with the Blue Dogs and fall in line.....This is the time for a locked-step-coalition-uprising.....The voters (minus teabaggers, birthers, and deathers) are ready.....They're waiting for you, Congressman-Congresswoman....Don't let US down.....

    August 14, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  8. Rob

    Of course...let's use activist pressure since the ideas don't stand on their own.

    Go ahead, Bill...but I think you're severely overestimating Obama's support. It's not just about being popular and a good speaker with a TelePrompter...we actually need content.

    August 14, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    Bill Clinton is one of the few Democrats to see what is going on. This Health Care failure is sucking the life out of their approval ratings. He knows they will ride it all of the way down to maybe 30%, regardless of what feedback they are getting from the American people.

    It's not happening. It doesn't work and there are way too many loose ends to fool enough people into supporting it. See ya.

    It will take the Republicans to put something together to fix our health care problem that doesn't bankrupt the treasury.

    August 14, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  10. Concerned Citizen

    The dude is right. We wanted change, lets make it happen.

    August 14, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  11. time2bsmart

    Sorry Mr. Clinton. I can't give this bill my support. More government in our lives is not what most of us want. Get the message.

    August 14, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. Happy Lady

    Way to go bill. I'm glad you're back.

    August 14, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  13. bozo the obama

    Bubba is back to the good ol' lying ways. Welcome back slick.

    August 14, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  14. Alfred E. Neumann

    Bill Clinton, a role model for whack jobs!

    August 14, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  15. DJ in the Silicon Forest

    Oh, I see what Clinton's priorities are...."the minute the president signs this bill, his approval will go up". This from the President who all he cared about was poll after poll after poll. And ratings will magically transform the economy? Only if we are all drinking the same industrial strength KoolAid and smoking the toxic Hopeium!

    August 14, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  16. Joseph L.

    Snap. Tell them how it is Bill. You get all these Progressive people complaining about what the Dems are not doing but where are they at these town halls? Why is it only the Republicans that are showing up at these meetings? It is time for the Progressives to stop complaining about what the President and Congress are not doing for them and get off their seats and go to these town hall events. Otherwise, you get what you deserve...

    August 14, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. Never Repub again

    Speaking of Town Hall disrupters. What ever happened to disorderly conduct. Oh, thats just for Minority People.

    August 14, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  18. Cynthia

    You go Bill!

    August 14, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  19. m smith

    Right on Bill

    August 14, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  20. U.S. Citizen

    Lets get the monoply of the Health Insurance Industry removed from the U.S. NOW! Do you want to continue hearing stories of a person getting their Insurance Cancelled for being ill???????????!!!!!!!!!?????

    Time is of the essence, to remove the monoply of the Health Insurance Industry, so we may have medical care!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 14, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  21. U.S. Citizen

    Time is of the essence! Health Care Reform is NOW!!!
    Thank You Former President Clinton for NOW!

    August 14, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  22. Idiot_Pelosi

    Sure Clinton, like you are relevant any more?

    Who did you sleep with last night and lie to this morning?

    I tell you what Bill,
    You pay for all this crap out of your money and from the DNC, and you can have it.

    August 14, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  23. Roosevelt Cory

    Why!, only one ethnic group is intervied or shown on Heath Care
    Reform?. Is this just, fair and honest.

    Voters will be with the President and a Heath Bill will pass this
    year. The polls' does not show all voters and should not be used.

    August 14, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  24. DEB

    Go Bill Go!

    August 14, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  25. charlie in Maine

    And he's not afraid to ask for it. I think Obama could learn a lot about politics from Bill Clinton and Bill Clinton could learn a thing or two about self-control from Mr. Obama.

    August 14, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
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