November 17th, 2007
09:49 AM ET
10 years ago

Bill Clinton: "They made trade a dirty word"

Former President Bill Clinton.

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN)- Addressing a crowd of college democrats Friday, former President Bill Clinton criticized the Bush administration for making trade a "dirty word."

Clinton discussed the amounting inequalities in healthcare, education and income domestically and said the problems had been exacerbated by an increasing deficit financed by foreign monies.

"It is profoundly unequal, and the government's policies have made it more, so by insisting that wealthy people like me get a tax cut every year,"
Clinton said. "And then [they] turn around and borrow the money to pay for my tax cut, and for our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, from the Chinese, the Indians, the Koreans, the oil exporters‹and all the people that have trade surpluses with us."

The U.S treasury reports indicate as of September 2007 that the top five holders of U.S. treasury bills are Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Oil Exporters (includes Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria) and Brazil. Japan still maintains the lion's share of U.S. debt at $582 billion. China holds the number two slot at $397 billion.

As a result of these investments by foreign nations, Clinton noted that trade policy had become less effective.

"They made trade a dirty word," Clinton said of the current Bush administration.

The "problem is it's not so much trade, as it was pointed out in the debate last night by more than one speaker, it's that we don't enforce our trade laws anymore," Clinton said referencing CNN's Democratic debate held in Las Vegas Thursday. "And the reason we don't enforce our trade laws anymore is they're our bankers."

"We have mortgaged our economic sovereignty," said the former President.

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–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla

Filed under: Bill Clinton • New Hampshire • President Bush
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. donna seattle WA

    Bill - it is you who foisted NAFTA on this country. Didn't work out like you
    expected? I think it did - just perfectly. You sold out the american people to the corporations. Now YOU want power again - this isn't about electing your wife so quit the B.S. The american people know what is causing their unemployment and illegal immigration. The problems we face today can be traced back straight back to you.

    November 17, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. mark wilkes barre pa

    By allowing so much of our domestic industry to run for the hills of foriegn soil in the first place we have effectivly givin away the store, power and money for these very nations to have the recources to invest in our nation to the point that our trade laws mean nothing to them because THEY ARE our bankers . Thanks for clearing that one up for us President Clinton

    November 17, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. Jack, Fort Myers, FL

    Go Bill!!
    I can't wait to hear Rove, GW Bush, his administration, or the RNC dispute these facts. This is especially important as we discover how tainted food products, children's toys, and who knows what else will pop-up from China. Our nation–assumed creating trade with China with the same naivete we did with Japan. One big difference–even though we were pretty fast and loose, the Japanese ethics and standards related to product quality were twice as aggressive as U.S. policy was. Heck, the Japan invented many of industrial quality standards in use today!! China on the other hand, is still a Communist Government–closed, conspiring, and suspicious–and possibly–our mortal enemy. Chinese motivation related to product quality is cavalier and limited. And because of the secretive nature of China–it is difficult for the U.S. Government, or U.S. consumers to evaluate their quality standards. They do little or nothing–when they get negative headlines, they kill of a minister of quality or some other figure head who is expendable–and they continue to send us unsafe, defective, and possibly dangerous or toxic merchandise. Our debt to China–gives us little leverage–as does our desire for cheap chinese products. You've got this one pegged right. And I am truly suprised to not hear more in the political/economic mainstream press on how to deal with it. Scary since so many food, dietary additives are coming from a country with no FDA!!! Is this how the Chinese plan to become the leading world power–kill us off, make us debtors–while proceeding with the largest arms build up since the Cold War.

    November 17, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. Chris, Chicago, IL

    Bill, 2 fish 5 loaves, can't carry over forever. You know the rules. Let's reel one in. You don't think Hilly's gonna do it do you?

    November 17, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Tired of Corruption LV

    How many factories were closed and jobs lost due to Clinton's NAFTA scam. It helped the wealthy (Clinton and friends) and destroyed our families.

    His 8 years were up before the results of all his mis-steps and decisions based on greed hit the fan – so to the uninformed he was a great president.

    Read about Rwandha genocide, Mogadishu slaughter of our soldiers, USS Cole, Trade Towers, allowing bin Laden to go free, shady donors, due to his total disrespect for the presidency and this country, his personal behavior lost the house and senate. The Clintons paved the way for the takeover of our government by the ultra conservative repubicans.

    Yes, they fought the right wing conspiracy for years. But only for their personal survival and gain. We'd have better schools, health care, bin laden would be dead or in prison if they had the slightest bit of interest in the welfare of this country. Being president for Bill as it is for Hillary is for personal gain and ego.

    Go Home

    November 17, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. Theresa

    And the Chinese are HUGE donors to the
    Clintons. The Chinese even strong arm and lie to poor immigrants to get them to donate to the Clintons or donations are made in these poor people's names. Look it up – read & learn.

    So tell me, with all the money the Clintons get from the Chinese, will anything change for the better if they get back in the whitehouse.

    People better wake up to the slickness of the Clintons before it's too late.

    November 17, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. Anonymous, Newport News, VA

    Get lost schmuck! If you are so bothered by the money the Government had to borrow to pay for your "tax cut, and for our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, from the Chinese, the Indians, the Koreans, the oil exporters‹and all the people that have trade surpluses with us"...WHY THE HELL DIDN'T YOU JUST SEND A CHECK TO THE US TREASURY to redistribute the wealth. What a friggen hyprocite! Enough of your phoney "class warfare".

    November 17, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. zak

    They made 'infidelity' a dirty word, right Monica?

    November 17, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Carol Lipski SC

    This administration has sold this nation to foreign countries so he can give himself, his family, and the rich who support him the biggest tax cut in history while BORROWING A BILLION DOLLARS EVERY DAY TO PAY FOR THE MASSIVE TAX CUT AND RUNNING UP MASSIVE DEBT.

    November 17, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. William New York

    Who is running for President again?

    November 17, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. Anonymous, VA

    Once again, Clinton does not take responsibility for his contribution to the ills that affect us. Once again, he is trying to rewrite history in favor of his legacy. I feel another bout of Clinton fatique setting in.

    November 17, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. James, Phoenix AZ

    Awwww Poor Bill. Everyone beating up on NAFTA makes him feel real sad.

    But instead of calling out ALL the anti-NAFTA folks (democrats included) Bill wags his finger at the Bush Administration.

    Bill – you couldn't be honest if your life depended on it! Keep on talking – you're only hurting Hillary and democrats.

    November 17, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. Anonymous, Washington DC

    "Bill Clinton: "They made trade a dirty word"


    This from the King of sleaze. Get real!!

    November 17, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. X

    Both the Clinton-Bush crime families made 'trade' a dirty word!

    Now we are held hostage by China and their very real threats of the USdollar nuclear option.

    America does one little thing China doesn't like (such as demand lead-free toys) and China dumps 1.3 trillion in US treasury.

    Meanwhile all the presidential candidates talk so tough about China. And they know they are lying.

    America-destroyed by design.

    November 17, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Mike MD.

    Remarks from the man who encouraged and pushed for trade with China and who's wife has Chinese backed funds to get here elected.Before placing the blame on the Bush Administration,maybe he should tell the American people why he didn't solve the issues before us today.It just seems funny that after eight years in the White House and another six in the Senate that Hillary has the answers for what America needs.What America doesn't need is another four years of Bush or Clinton.

    November 17, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Joeley Reno, Nevada

    All you folks out there need ask but one question...
    Are you better off today than before King George was annointed?
    I'll bet not.

    Bill Clinton was a great President. No doubt he made a mistake or two but our economy was sound and growing.

    We did not have an unending flow of American blood soaking into the sands of Afghanistan and Iraq because an ego maniac needed a war to 'feel his power'.

    If one were to compare the intelligence, ability and leadership skills of Bill Clinton to George W, well George's would look like a BB rolling around in a boxcar.

    So continue whinning all you Bushies. History will be kind to the Bill Clinton Presidency while instilling one significant question on the Bush 43 Presidency, i.e.; 'How could such a bumbling idiot be elected by an informed and intelligent population?'

    He wasn't.

    And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

    November 17, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. Roy Boy Dayton Ohio

    once again the clinton news network has not been honest or should i try ignorant or misleading, well you get the idea. We all know they have an agenda. the largest consumer of debt is the US govt. And how else do you expect to finance the govt programs, Oh I guess raise taxes on those evil rich people

    November 17, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |

    Keep arguing Bush Vs. Clinton..just what your masters fail to realize they are one in the same and working together.

    You say Clinton was great because he "balanced" the budget. Do some research and learn some econ; he merely raided other federal programs and left IOUs behind.

    You say poor Billy C, he was unfairly impeached for Monica. Learn to read a book, do some research and you will see he was impeached (behind closed doors and away from the public) for CHINAGATE.

    Perhaps do some research about the Mena, AK – Iran-contra – Bush-Clinton years while you're at it.

    The truth is evident if you can peel yourselves away long enough from American Gladiators and nonReality TV and READ A BOOK you sheep.

    November 17, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. thevoter

    "And the reason we don't enforce our trade laws anymore is they're our bankers."

    So do this means we had trade surplus under Bill's administration? Or was he in fact the president that OK'd China being our banker??

    History already gives us that answer Bill, no matter how much you try to revise it..

    November 17, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  20. spinstopper

    All you folks out there need ask but one question…
    Are you better off today than before King George was annointed?
    - Posted By Joeley Reno, Nevada

    Actuall Joeley, I would give a resounding YES to that question. In the last 7 yrs, I've paid off my college debts easier, have a great job, own my home, my kids go to great schools(outside my district, THANKS BUSH!!), unemployment is very low and I am not worried about getting laidoff as in 2000 and my 401K has skyrocketed due to the largest economic expansion is US history.

    You see Joeley, your predicament is not really reliant upon the presidency unless your relying on the government more than yourself..

    November 17, 2007 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  21. Alan, San Angelo Texas

    The problem is sorry leadership. As another commenter noted, Japan has a fifty year track record of producing quality goods. They were taught by an American, Dr. W. Edwards Deming after WWII.

    American businesses and government can learn by studying Dr. Deming's teachings and observing Japan's success. Sorry leadership brought us the current mess. And Democrats have just as much to learn as Republicans.

    November 17, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |

    Who said the writer's strike had any effect on comedy?

    November 17, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  23. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    This from the man who created NATA? And whose wife brought the #1 outsourcer of US jobs to India into New York?

    FAIR trade, Bill, FAIR trade.

    November 17, 2007 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. Noans, South Pasadena, CA.

    I am in total agreement with you, Donna from Seattle. Bill Clinton did a lot of good things while President but one was NOT NAFTA. He sold out and broke the backs of working Americans. Why continue with the same good-old boy politics by electing his wife, Hillary? She's backed by corporate America and lobbyist so why would anyone vote for the same dismal politics that have taken America to a new low, nationally as well as internationally? Let's end the Bush and Clinton choke-hold on America and middle class who continue to get the shaft by Corporate America and lobbyist. Sen Clinton continues to effectively play the gender and victim cards and it's time she's called out and give straight answers. Keep the heat up and on Hillary, Obama, Edwards, Dodd, Biden and Kucinich and make Hillary tell the truth about who she really is and what she really stands for because it certainly isn't for middle-class American who have to work for a living.

    November 17, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. Kevin Norton, Long Beach, California

    NAFTA is a shameful legacy that will forever be connected the Clinton presidency. Unfortunately President Clinton can’t put the blame entirely on the republicans. He pushed free trade and you cost hard working Americans millions of jobs. These middle class jobs were replaced by Wal-Mart jobs that pay the minimum wage and don’t have any health insurance or pensions. My home town, like many others was destroyed when all of the manufacturing jobs went overseas.
    Don’t drink the free trade cool aid. Free trade is wiping out the middle class. What good is a cheap TV if you have to work as a security guard? We need democrats that fight for workers and the poor. Vote for John Edwards or anyone else that will stop these free trade agreements. Hillary worked for Wal Mart so don't expect a real democrat if she gets elected. Thats why she can't answer a straight question.

    November 17, 2007 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
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