December 3rd, 2013
02:18 PM ET
12 months ago

Clinton defends calling on Obama to keep his word

(CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday defended his controversial comments in which he said early last month that President Barack Obama "should honor" his promise to Americans that if they liked their health insurance plans, they'd be able to keep them under the Affordable Care Act.

"I was trying to be supportive of it," Clinton said, referring to the law better known as Obamacare in an interview with CNN Español Anchor/Senior Correspondent Juan Carlos López.

"I don't think you can find anybody in America who has worked harder for (Obama's) re-election or supported this bill or went out of his way to explain the bill to the American people more than I did," Clinton continued.

When selling the health care bill and then running for re-election, Obama told Americans that they could keep their health insurance plans if they liked them. However, he didn't make clear that that rule only applied to plans purchased before the bill became law in 2010.

After millions of people began receiving cancellation notices because of Obamacare regulations, the President apologized in an interview on November 7, pledging his administration would find a way to fix it.

Less than a week later, Clinton made a comment that many interpreted as criticism of Obama's handling of the situation.

"I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the President should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they've got," the former President said during an interview with the website OZY.com.

Clinton did, however, spend much of the interview defending the 2010 health care overhaul.

Some speculated Clinton made those comments to help distance his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, from the Obama administration as she possibly prepares for a presidential run.

Asked Tuesday by López if politics was involved in his comments, the former President forcefully said "no."

Defending his remarks, he said he only spoke about the topic once "the President himself spoke."

"And it was obvious to me, listening to him, that he wanted the American people to feel that he had kept his commitment, and that they didn't understand that he, in fact, did grandfather in–that is, protect–all the policies that were in existence on the day he signed the health care bill. That was done," he said.

"I've got a lot at stake here personally," he added. "And the work I have done for health care and the work I've tried to support and the support I've tried to give the President - and Hillary does, too.  We've been working on this health care thing for 20 years."

But Clinton said the "biggest problem" with Obamacare was the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov on October 1. The President and the administration now say the website has improved and works smoothly for a vast majority of users.

"If the website is working and everybody can see what their options are, then in most states, most people will have a good option which will be the same or less costly than the one they had before that will cover the same or more conditions," he said. "So I think it will be all right."

Clinton was a big figure in Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, serving as a prime time speaker at the Democratic National Convention, and defending the health care law both before and after Obama started his second term.


Filed under: Bill Clinton • Obamacare • President Obama
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    I guess the Clintons are trying to distance themselves from the toxic phrase. Can you blame them?

    December 3, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Rwanda

    December 3, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. zago

    Hillary 2016. Period. No morron from Teabbagers

    December 3, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. Fair is fair

    Clinton was wayyyy better than Obama

    December 3, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Donna

    Obamacare has absolutely poisoned the water for Hillary Clinton to run in 2016. She supports Obamacare and that would cost her the election. Bill Clinton knows this which is why he spoke out against Obama and told him he needed to keep his word, which was impossible to do.

    Hillary Cliinton,.like many other Democrats in 2014, will be collateral damage of Obama, Obamacare and all the lies told by the Democrat Party of lies and deceit.

    December 3, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. just asking

    Rudy NYC
    I guess the Clintons are trying to distance themselves from the toxic phrase. Can you blame them?
    ----

    what toxic phrase is that? could it be leftist progressive liberal democrat? or is it obamacare? or maybe benghazi? so many to choose from!

    December 3, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. Ol' Yeller

    @Donna

    "Obamacare has absolutely poisoned the water for Hillary Clinton to run in 2016. She supports Obamacare and that would cost her the election."

    Yeah, you wish Donna. You wish...
    Who are ya'll gonna run? paul the plagiarist? cruz the foreaign policy king (because he made a speech in England). scott walker (please, run scott walker.... pretty please). failin palin?

    rush?

    December 3, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  8. Lou

    Obama has perfected lying and don't hold your breath with him honoring any commitments. The difference between Obama and Clinton are huge. Clinton had his issues but he had the ability and executive experience to make our country better during his tenure. It will take us decades to recover from Obama and Bush if it happens at all. It is now acceptable to be a lowlife and a President.

    December 3, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    just asking wrote:

    what toxic phrase is that? could it be leftist progressive liberal democrat? or is it obamacare? or maybe benghazi? so many to choose from!
    ---------------
    I suggest that you try reading the article, instead of playing stupid so that you can propagate misleading talking points. But, it is good that the Republcians are showing what their Hillary cards look like now. If I were the Clintons, I wouldn't run from them.

    Republicans seem to self-destruct whenever you give them some rope, so I say let 'em have it. Let them show their whole entire hand, and make themselves look stupid, which they seem to do most eager to do voluntarily.

    December 3, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. CryBabies

    Ol' Yeller....I'll remember your blog to Donna. It will be fun to revisit in 2014 and 2016. I hope you are "dog" enough to keep the same name tag.

    December 3, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. Denise

    It worked well for Mittens....lol

    December 3, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. Denise

    Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie....what clown will jump out of the car next?

    December 3, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. Gurgyl

    Nothing Obama did wrong. Knock on the wood. His legacy stands alive well. Hillary16.

    December 3, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Lou

    Obama has perfected lying and don't hold your breath with him honoring any commitments. The difference between Obama and Clinton are huge. Clinton had his issues but he had the ability and executive experience to make our country better during his tenure. It will take us decades to recover from Obama and Bush if it happens at all. It is now acceptable to be a lowlife and a President
    ------------------------
    But, I'd bet you do find it acceptable to vote for a plagiarist like Rand Paul. You Libertarians are so shallow and transparent that it's pretty pathetic.

    "Nice try, but we gotcha."

    December 3, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. ken

    A pathological liar cannot tell a truth, Buh'rack is the top of the heap, he has no equals when it comes to lying.

    December 3, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. Silence DoGood

    When liberals debate each other, it is a healthy debate, in the end for the people.
    This, in contrast to Tea-heads yelling "dictator" and "sinner" often sounding like debate of the conspiracy theories.

    December 3, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. Michelle

    Another traitor to the USA gov't & her people – siding with ILLEGALS, rather than with the legal USA taxpayers. Basically, he and other 'great' Demonrats/Relieorats are telling us – that we, the LEGAL USA taxpayers aren't worth it. TRAITORS – remember them at voting time!!!

    December 3, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. Tommy G

    Once Hillary sees the absolute demolition of the Democrat Party in 2014 thanks to Obamacare and all the lies, she will decide NOT to run. She would NOT like having to work with a Republican majority in the House and Senate for 4 years and certainly not 8 years,

    Besides, she'll be too old by then. Nothing says 2016 like a 70 year old retread from the 1990's, right lefties?!! hahahaha Republicans will be running a young, vibrant candidate and you'll have the old lady, looking like ol' John McCain did back in 2008. Maybe she'll have a walker by then too!

    December 3, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    This is just CNN trying to perpetuate the "you can keep your" nontroversy.

    "Clinton was wayyyy better than Obama"

    Why, because he refused to pass the GOP's individual mandate for health insurance but Obama finally did?

    December 3, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. Gunderson

    Folks,
    Obama is a complete moron! He sold you a bill of goods and you bought it! The Liberal's have been selling you a bill of goods for the last 100 years! When are you going to wise up! In a few years they will be gone but you will be left with the bill. Over 17 Trillion now, and growing. You want your cake and eat it too. Good luck with that.

    December 3, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. Donna

    Ol' Yeller
    @Donna
    "Obamacare has absolutely poisoned the water for Hillary Clinton to run in 2016. She supports Obamacare and that would cost her the election."
    -–
    Yeah, you wish Donna. You wish...
    -–

    No need to wish at all. Can't you read the latest polls? And 2014 only holds far, far more damaging news for Obamacare and the Democrat Party. Heck, the elections might even have to be called off as many Democrats won't even bother running and wasting time and money. Obamacare, all thanks to Obamacare and the lies of the Democrats that jammed it down our throats.

    December 3, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. CryBabies

    @ Sniffy..."nontroversy"? Sure....sounds reasonable.

    December 3, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. Retired Boomer

    Can see from some of these comments that some of you were never taught to respect the office of The Presidency no matter which party is in office. What a sad and hateful place our country has become. Some of you have no shame, no decency and no respect for others or yourselves.

    December 3, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. Gurgyl

    @Donna, either you are a child or an uneducated racial gal in a remote area of Rocky Mountains–
    ACA is aLaw. Nothing Obamacare is damaging, if it does so, SUPREME COURT will NOT
    UPHOL THIS LAW. Be educated. GOP garbage and rants are not working in modern USA.

    December 3, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. Silence DoGood

    @Donna "Obamacare has absolutely poisoned the water for Hillary Clinton to run in 2016. "
    Until all the nonsense and conservative mythology fades and the ACA is in place along with the other social programs.
    Then we can elect Hillary and move forward. Maybe socialized medicine next time? What do thing Donna?

    December 3, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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