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. josh porche

    bill is right .. we the penut gallery need to stop watching and doing nothing we need to show are support

    August 14, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  2. Stu-Florida

    Nice one Bill... you're absolutely right.
    It seems many just don't understand it costs us far more by not insuring.
    Do people really believe that those who are seen and treated by doctors and hospitals, that don't have insurance, don't pay? Well maybe not directly, but someone pays. WE ALL DO!! GET IT???

    August 14, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  3. TN for Obama

    Tell it like it IS, Bill !

    As usual, you are totally on target ! !

    August 14, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  4. Joey T

    Haters take note, BILL CLINTON IS IN THE BUILDING.
    this healthcare bill will get passed and it will be glorious.
    an OBAMA + CLINTON TEAM UP = UNSTOPABLE STATUS.

    I am anxious to see what plan the two will come up with to counteract the armies of crazed racist fresh from their FLDS castles ran by the republicans.
    this is going to be like watching patton and sun tzu team up.

    August 14, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  5. New Yorker

    No way Bill; the president won't get my help expanding the government's take-over of our lives and taking away more and more of our freedom. his idea of "change" is destroying the country as we once new it.

    August 14, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  6. TEH

    Hopefully this bill will never be signed! Obama will go back to his little hole.

    August 14, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. axh

    NO, the majority of the American people DO NOT want this health-care reform!

    This plan is NOT good for a large majority of people and they won't say how they are going to pay for this.

    Wake-up folks!

    August 14, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  8. Nina Flannery

    I'm writing to say by god I agree with everything Former President Clinton said about how he was abandoned by flunky politicians, and that my blood also rises when I remember how shamefully he was treated- and not only him but also anyone he would want to protect were the prey of a lizard-like yet vicious pleasure the Republicans and gradually more Democrats took in diminishing him. I'm still mad about it.

    August 14, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  9. makesUwonder

    "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."
    ******************************************************
    Hmmmmmmmmmmm, sure Mr. Clinton. Just a small problem here. Millions of Americans aren't buying this.

    August 14, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. observer

    The Big Dog is back. We Love you Bill!

    August 14, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  11. GREG

    He, Clinton, makes me angry sometimes but, overall he's on the money!

    August 14, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. elana

    Thank you former President Bill Clinton, for standing up for and supporting President Obama in his quest for overhauling healthcare! You know ALL about the pundits!! It is so interesting how hard they are working to take down our new President, when our Country suffered like no other for (8) years under George Bush. Now we find out today, that the Medicare Part D program that was instituted while Bush was in office, WAS NEVER PAID FOR!!!!! I'm waiting for you media - how are you going to spin that one???????

    August 14, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  13. 60's survivor

    he's right. and knows what he is talking about. we must support and voice our opinions. I have insurance I can make it. I know others who do not and are struggling. needlessly. we can wage war but cannot take care of honest American citizens. it's a crime against humanity. the right have no problem with this. I do!! hopefully a majority of Americans push for reform. it may be you next without hope.

    August 14, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  14. Ruty

    YOU tell'em Bill.Most people have been brain washed to think Obama's health bill is wrong. Tell them to GET THE FACTS. Then make an intelligent decision.

    August 14, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  15. Deep Throat

    Aw Bill, get real. You don't really support this idiot. No way will the public accept the destruction of Medicare and insurance of choice. I thought better of you. You were the last great President we had but you're way off base in backing this blow gun artist.

    August 14, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  16. Jon Krieger

    President Obama needs help alright,serious psychological help!And Bill Clinton does to if he seriously thinks that Obama's numbers are going to go up if he signs a bill that's been rushed past the american people.It would have "serious political Implications" alright!THE WRONG ONES!

    August 14, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  17. Marie MD

    Thank you President Clinton. The President does need our help and CNN needs to stop giving the quitter from Alaska media time. Sponsors are already bailing on glenn beck. Even fox news doesn't have daily articles on this moron.
    And . . . . speaking of morons . . . . quitter, listen up, H.R. means House of Representatives NOT the Senate.
    Guess you still as stupid as you were when you didn't know what a VP does.
    And . . . back on January 2008 beck thought we had the worst health care system in the world. Jump ahead to let's hate President Obama and we NOW have the best health care system and it doesn't need change. Make up your mind.

    August 14, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  18. Keith in Austin

    Slick Willie is right.

    The President desperately needs our support. More importantly, the Country needs US to defeat his Big Government illgotten healthcare plan. I for one am putting my Country First!

    August 14, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  19. JOBLESS IN IOWA

    Only in your dreams Bill. Obama is set on sharing the wealth of our elderly by getting rid of them with his Obama Care bill. WE SEE THE TRUTH and OBAMA IS THE ANTI-CHRIST. Look at what he has done to America

    August 14, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  20. John

    Lets do it again...time for another spanking...

    Obama is my Prez

    August 14, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  21. Get Real

    Well I guess if Bill Clinton says it, then it must be true.

    August 14, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  22. S M R

    Thank You Mr.President

    August 14, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  23. Right Leaning Independent

    Bill, put down the kool aid.... Walk away from the light.... Obama has bankrupt our country and he can not hide from the American public anymore. They have figured out that he is nothing but another big spending liberal that talks a big game.

    August 14, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  24. T'SAH from Virginia

    First of all – NOT signing the bill should NOT make his approval rate got down!!! You have the BLOCKERS and the HATERS out there who wants to see a DOWN in his ratings so they can prevail!!!

    The HATERS at the same time are causing the up rise in MILITIA – BIGOTS surfacing and the results are not going to be good.

    You think the Terrorist attack on the WTC in 2001 was dramatic – AMERICAN-MADE TERRORISM would be worst... It's a shame this is happening BUT in reality – it already existed!!!

    I KNOW I'M WATCHING MY BACK!!

    August 14, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  25. chubby

    He can have my help in 2012 and I will help vote him and the rest of the democrats who vote for this health care plan right out of DC and back home.

    August 14, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
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