Bill Clinton: Gingrich shouldn't take all the credit
December 20th, 2011
12:32 PM ET
8 years ago

Bill Clinton: Gingrich shouldn't take all the credit

(CNN) – Bill Clinton said Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich doesn't really deserve the credit he's taking on the campaign trail for balancing the budget during the Clinton administration.

Gingrich served as House speaker for four years of Clinton's presidency. Although the former president said the two had a "decent working relationship," he attributed the bulk of the positive steps in the U.S. economy to the 1993 budget, passed in spite of Gingrich's efforts.

"The vast lion's share of balancing the budget was done with the budget in 1993 that he led the opposition to," Clinton said Tuesday on NBC.

Gingrich rose to power in the House by working in opposition to Clinton's first two years in office and issuing his "Contract with America," a key provision of which was a balanced federal budget. After a stand off that resulted in two government shutdowns, Clinton signed the budget legislation in 1997.

On the trail, Gingrich points to the prosperous economy during those years and the bipartisan agreements to make the case for his White House bid.

"In the four years I was speaker we created 11 million new jobs, which was the key to the last big achievement, which was four consecutive years of a balanced budget," Gingrich said Monday at a town hall in Iowa City, Iowa. "No other candidate running this year can claim to have done anything on this scale."

Clinton said he doesn't blame the former Georgia representative for playing politics.

"If I were in his position I would be saying that because it is true that we worked in a bipartisan fashion to pass five budgets and they worked out pretty well for the American people," Clinton said.

In the 2012 presidential cycle, Clinton said the unpredictability is a test for the eventual nominee.

"The one with the greatest resilience, with the ability to come back from adversity will probably prevail," Clinton said. "That's what these elections are for, they tell you a lot about people and when you're just getting the living daylights pounded out of you and people count you out and you're down … that's when you find the something people want in a president."

Filed under: 2012 • Bill Clinton • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. jerry

    why do we have to see the clintons in our media...will they please go away. They were an embarresment when they were in the white house...brought us NAFTA and the greatest export of American jobs and wealth in the history of America...and we still put up with them...we should deserve better.

    December 20, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  2. Don

    Gingrich is toast. The Republican Party was bananas when Gingrich took the lead in the polls and they have been hitting with everything they have. Additionally, his fifteen minutes of being "the candidate who isn't Romney" is officially over.

    It's Romney vs. Obama and the republican bigwigs can go back to their single malt scotch's and relax.

    December 20, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. Bass

    Gingrich & Clinton are both brilliant men with huge ego's. It’s a wonder they could fit in the same room together. The big difference is they both had previous experience in the world before becoming a House Speaker and President. Obama had not experience and it has plagued us for 3 years. He has needed someone basically to tell him what to do every day so his decisions are slow and he refuses to communicate with the opposition. Clinton engaged as did Gingrich and success was the result.

    December 20, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. Silly Baggers!

    The first two comments are funny. What article were they reading. Clinton did not take all the credit for balancing the budget nor did he say that Newt deserved none of it. Let me translate for you repubs who seem to only read what you want to read. He said Newt shouldn't take all the credit but the credit belongs to everyone at that time as it was a bipartisan effort. That means than Newt gets some of the credit since he was a part of it. Man take your party blinders off for one minute people. Not every comment by the opposite party is bad.

    December 20, 2011 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. .Ralph

    Gingrich claiming credit for the success of the fiscal policies of the Clinton administration; is FALSE & ignores the true agenda of the extremist fringe of the Republican party. Gingrich embarked on Brinkmanship, but ultimately lost to President Clinton

    Gingrich/ Republican party is now trying to put a "positive spin" on how they LOST the confrontation they instigated with President Clinton.

    Perhaps Gingrich can technically take a little credit for his "Brinkmanship" with his "Contract with America" that forced some reductions in so called "entitlement" programs during the Clinton years. But for Gingrich to say that was his original anarchist agenda is bizarre. GRINGRICH IS LIKE A BANK ROBBER, TAKING CREDIT FOR IMPROVEMENTS IN BANK SECURITY!

    December 20, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. Silly Baggers!

    Fair is Fair. Like everyone else on your side you accuse and don't back it with anything. Give us examples of when Obama was hard left. I can't wait because we will easily come back with how he was centrist on anything you name.

    December 20, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. Silly Baggers!

    @Hanger13 said "Give us a break, do any of you commenters even remember 1993? Clinton and the Democratic-controlled Congress were the biggest spenders ever seen"

    Really? I recall the debt ceiling being raised 18 times under Reagan and he raised taxes 11 times to pay for it. If you would just take your knowledge past the 90's a little bit you will easliy identified who the biggest spender of all is and he wasn't a Dem.

    December 20, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    Gingrich doesn't understand he cannot rewrite history because the facts will get in his way.

    December 20, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  9. Gemini Girl

    @ Squealy,, I believe that in this case MSM stands for Main Stream Media.

    December 20, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  10. Squigman

    Ah, come on Mr. Clinton. You know good and well that if republicans didn't exist, the sun wouldn't shine and the birds wouldn't sing. Just ask one of them, if you disbelieve.

    December 20, 2011 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. Angy

    newt grinch is a typical rethug, takes all the credit when things are going well. but where were all the rethugs when bush was in office DESTROYING THIS COUNTRY. And now want to blame President Obama. they are such a joke.

    December 20, 2011 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  12. K Denver

    Truth and Nothing But...

    Be honest, how many times have you changed your name on here? Did you used to post under "Democrat class warfare"? Because the two of you suffer from the same problem; factual intolerance. What does that look like? Hatred filled rants that lack substance, tact, class, oh yeah and FACTS.

    December 20, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. clint

    Obama had a chance to be great cut spending get this country back on track he didn't shame on worst president ever

    December 20, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. Jim

    Squealy..... You must be joking... MSM Main.... Stream..... Media....... As quoted by the Caribou Barbie herself. We'll try to type slower for you.....

    December 20, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |

    Wes Monroe
    Go Newt..............Your not a community organizer and you know much more than the current administration as to how things work. You have my vote.
    i love how these right wing crazy's always ignore the middle of the Presidents career, you know the part where he was an Illinois State Senator and a US Senator. These screw balls just hate to admit that president Obama had more legislative experience than President Abraham Lincoln did when he became President. But then again, that is the republican way, rewrite history until it's the way you would like it to be, never mind the facts.

    December 20, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  16. JoeW

    Here is what Rep. Newt Gingrich said after the vote in 1993 (when the Dems still held the House) on a budget that cut middle class taxes, increased them on the rich and cut federal spending (eventually leading to a balanced budget):
    "I believe this will lead to a recession next year. This is the Democrat machine's recession, and each one of them will be held personally accountable."

    In short, New Gingrich opposed the actions by Clinton on the economy and publicly said they'd lead to economic ruin. So I find it a bit ridiculous for Gingrich to claim that he was responsible for balanced budgets and job growth. The reality is that he led the fight against the Clinton budget.

    December 20, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  17. youknow

    I miss President Clinton

    December 20, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  18. Larry L

    Ironic that one of Clinton's distractions (self-inflicted wound) was fueled by Newt Gingrich's attacks. Old Newt led the charge while he was poking a staffer at the same time. Conservatives generally thought the 91 million dollars the Starr Commission spent to hammer Clinton was reasonable. How do they feel about voting for Newt? Newt the lobbyist. Newt the dishonored Speaker. Newt the guy who served his wife divorce papers while she was in the hospital fighting cancer. You know... that Newt.

    December 20, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  19. dontbow

    Yea lets get some input from an old washed up idiot like clinton. Liberals really are brainless morons. get a clue and a job.

    December 20, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  20. ElizabethB

    And Clinton signed NAFTA so many jobs could go to Mexico

    December 20, 2011 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  21. Anonymous


    "Hopefully Mr. Clinton you will also take credit for the subprime mortgage meltdown which was born on your watch as well as the "cooking of the books" by such wonderful businesses such as Worldcom among others. Your economy was built on lies as we all learned when these businesses collapsed."
    You do know about "W" having control of the government for 8 years before the mortgage meltdown? In terms of "cooking the books" have you heard of the Iraq War? Have you ever investigated Cheney's association with Enron and Halliburton? Have you heard of the Halliburton Loophole? Step away from Fox News... the more you watch the less you know.

    December 20, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  22. Eye of Newt

    Newt can't own any crew neck sweaters. How would he get his head through the hole?

    December 20, 2011 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  23. LIP

    If my memory serves me correctly, Bill Clinton was a liberal who moved to the center so he could accomplish more than he would have otherwise. He helped take a lot of deadbeats off unemployment and it wouldn't have happened if not for the Repuiblican agenda and Bill took the credit and nearly everything else he accomplished was the Republican agenda and he rode along, claiming ownership all the way.

    December 20, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  24. Tom

    I sincerely wish that the current crop of republican candidates and congressmen and congresswomen would simply go away and take Bill Clinton with you. You people are not interested in doing anything positive for the economy or the country. These people are only interested in promoting themselves and the destruction of the best president we have ever had in the history of this country. President Obama has more integrity and intellect in his little finger than all of you put together. This is a man of honor and respect. He truly loves this country and the people in this country. I frankly wish that he would not run for another term. He and his family have endured more than enough hatred and disrespect. I love this president more each day. The opposition is in disarray and don't deserve the time of day. But I am afraid that the hate-mongers on the right are hell-bent on destroying everyone and everything positive in this country. A country that I risked my life for while serving in uniform for over 30 years. It's a pity.

    December 21, 2011 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6