December 3rd, 2007
03:12 PM ET
15 years ago

Reich: Clinton lacks 'conviction about anything'

Robert Reich had some sharp words for Clinton Monday

(CNN) - Bill Clinton's former Secretary of Labor issued a blistering criticism of the former president's wife on Monday, accusing her of "not telling the truth" on Social Security and taking marching orders from her top pollster.

Reich, who has not endorsed a candidate but has written glowingly of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in recent months, ripped Hillary Clinton for saying Sunday that Iowa voters will have a choice "between someone who talks the talk, and somebody who's walked the walk."

"I don’t get it," Reich wrote on his blog. "If there’s anyone in the race whose history shows unique courage and character, it's Barack Obama. HRC’s campaign, by contrast, is singularly lacking in conviction about anything. Her pollster, Mark Penn, has advised her to take no bold positions and continuously seek the political center, which is exactly what she’s been doing."

Reich, who calls Clinton "my old friend" in the blog post, has a long-standing relationship with the Clintons, going back to when Reich and the former President were classmates and Rhodes Scholars at Oxford in the late 1960s. He left the Clinton administration in 1997 and now teaches public policy at the University of California-Berkeley.

Reich called Obama's Social Security plan to lift the cap on payroll taxes above $98,000 "a progressive solution" and said Clinton's preference to form a commission to examine how to fix Social Security is "avoiding the issue, and it's irresponsible."

He also picked apart Clinton's health care plan: "HRC doesn’t indicate how she‚d enforce her mandate, and I can’t find enough money in HRC’s plan to help all those who won’t be able to afford to buy it."

Reich called the New York senator's recent attacks on Obama a "series of slurs."

"If she's worried her polls are dropping, this is not the way to build them back up."

The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Ross Lippincott; Davenport Iowa.

    Milton Dropkin, Boynton Beach, fl.

    Hey, milton; We don't have 35 years to wait for him to be groomed by Washington, we need him now!!
    Hence the term: FRESH START.

    December 4, 2007 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  2. mv

    True words from a man who knows her well. What else do you need to know?

    She can't be trusted and doesn't have the character to lead the United States.

    December 4, 2007 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  3. localjim, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl

    It seems Robert Reich proved exactly how i felt about Hillary this whole time. Oh and i do believe and trust this guy because he has worked for and knows the Clintons on both a personal and professional level far more than any of you bloggers out there. Anyone blogging wether he is doing rightly or wrongly by this need not reply. Ther is nothing you will ever blog that will convince me you know the clintons better than this guy.
    And i surely didnt need his opinion for me to realize Obama is a man that wants to lead this nation in open, realistic-thinking manner that we finally deserve to have for this country.
    Obama '08

    December 4, 2007 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  4. Bots, Seattle

    Face it, all you losers, neither Obama or Clinton has any experience or the stuff that makes a good leader! I can't figure why so much is made of experience, and these two are getting all the headlines. Sen. Biden has so much more experience at all levels and is the best qualified democratic candidate. But, if all these polls are any indicator, which I doubt very much, the democrat voters really don't give a rats ass about experience, they're just playing follow the leader and don't know what the hell they want. That's why there's so much more mud-slinging on the democratic side against one another than some good teamwork. What if Obama and Clinton were to drop out of the race? Sen. Biden still is the best qualified! Now that sounds like a good idea if the demos really want the White House back.

    December 4, 2007 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  5. Micahel Guinn, Ventura, CA

    As an Obama supporter who voted for and worked to elect Bill Clinton-TWICE-I really think that the situation we're in due to the absurdity of the current administration is one of ACT NOW.
    To say Obama has "two years in the Senate" and that's all is just wrong.
    The man has worked for people of this country for years and years now. Because this work wasn't all done in D.C. is NOT a NEGATIVE!– It's just the opposite.
    We can't afford another divisive, fear-driven administration! We must act NOW and a great start would be by electing Barack Obama.
    The republicans are licking their chops just waiting to tear into HRC- she's THEIR dream candidate! Unfortunately the Clinton-haters (of which I'm NOT one!)are already using their hate tactics to beat her.
    Folks, it's time for a CHANGE!- NOW!!
    Obama 08!

    December 4, 2007 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  6. Eryn, CA

    The only conviction Hillary has is her obsession with acquiring power at any cost. She is a fake, an elitist, a phony, an ex-Republican, poll-watching, opportunistic, pandering, career politician.

    If Democrats want to ensure a Republican victory in '08, all then need to do is nominate the most polarizing figure in American Politics.

    She won't get my vote in the primary.

    December 4, 2007 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  7. raquel, las vegas nv

    i will vote for anyone who will pursue universal health care/education

    December 4, 2007 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  8. Mark, New York, NY

    Where is HRC's experience? She couldn't even manage her own personal life, much less the US. And as a loyal Democrat? She stepped in front of the great Nita Lowey to grab the NY Senate seat! Folks, she is Geo. W. Bush in Democrat clothing, & another disaster for the USA. Let's get real!

    December 4, 2007 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  9. Tony P. Valrico, FL

    Maybe Mr Reich should pull his head out of his rear and understand that courage does not lend itself directly to leadeship and experience to lead this nation. There are tens of thousands of couragaus men and women in this nation in our armed forces does that mean they are more qualified than Hillary or Barrack? Barrack is inexperienced, lacks any true qualities of a leader and talks a lot but never says anything of substanance. I have not heard one plan of action for anything, and he absoultly clueless on national security and military issues. Has he ever even been to a military base in his life?

    December 4, 2007 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  10. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Mark, IL, you are right. Obama didn't creat anything, all of his political view is adopted from others. He adopted Health Care Plan from Hillary Clinton basically, he used mandates from Hillary's not long ago, he lied so many times. I doubt his patriotism because he didn't respect our flag and The Pledge of flag. No matter what, Americans will not vote Obama because he is naive, inexperenced, play the RACE also he is very a sausy fellow how could possibly he unites the Country, he already devided himself from experienced politicians. It will be the tragedy if people elect him.

    December 4, 2007 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  11. JB Boston MA

    Why is it that many of Bill Clinton's former employees are still fans of Bill, and yet despise Hillary?

    That has to say something. There are quite a few Bill Clinton employees who have come out against Hillary. Dick Morris to just name one more.

    December 4, 2007 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  12. JB Boston MA

    I love how people are so qick to credit Bill Clinton with the "economic propsperity" we experienced while he was in office. And yet, people aren't willing to give Bush credit for the surge working, or the housing boom etc. . . . I am np Bush fan, nor Bill CLinton fan, BUT COME ON! I am sure it was Bill who was creating the technology that inspired the dot coms. Talk to any economist, Bill does not deserve the credit for the economic boom. Anyone heard of a man named Greenspan!

    December 4, 2007 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  13. JB Boston MA

    Tom from NM-

    Thank you so much for clearing that up. I was in danger of believing Reich. I am glad you stepped up, cleared that stuff up, and let me know he is wrong.


    You hype Bill Clintons intelligence, and when you come across someone who disagrees with your candidate, you criticize their ( over?)intelligence. Bill and Reich had the same formal, and arguably the same informal education.


    December 4, 2007 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  14. Brandon, Tampa, FL

    Oh snap!

    December 4, 2007 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  15. Dalton, Detroit, MI

    Everyone know that the only conviction Hillary Clinton has is amassing power and prestige for herself. Hillary Clinton will assume whatever position she thinks will win her the presidency regardless of whether its something she believes in or not like giving Bush the power to take military action in Iran


    December 4, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. slickwilly

    That's what pollsters are for..

    December 4, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  17. betty hahira ga

    go hillary you can beat these others and go get us back on track again

    December 4, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  18. Mike, NYC, NY

    Hillary is sagging because of things like this. People were bound to find out the truth about her sooner or later. And she really stinks when she attacks. That's what people expect from her and it turns them off on her. We just do not need to continue the Bush/Clinton rule/regime/dynasty.

    December 4, 2007 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  19. Jose Card

    "She is a fake, an elitist, a phony, an ex-Republican, poll-watching, opportunistic, pandering, career politician."

    It doesn't matter if Hillary was a Republican as long as she is the most qualified candidate. She is far from it.

    Hillary has the most name recognition for what Bill had done positively and negatively, but we are electing our next president, not celebrity.

    December 4, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. AJ, IL

    WOW! Bill Clinton former secretary of labor really criticizing Hillary. Blind Hillary supporters take note! Hillary is the Mitt Romney of the Democratic Party without the resume.

    December 4, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. Bob, N Y

    When Bill Clinton lies, he tells us whoppers. He talks to us like a five year old boy talks to prying parents. As if he expects people to believe him with doubt, even when he tells a finger wagging lie.

    Hillary is much the same. She who would be president lies without the slightest notice. During her marriage to Bill, Hillary has become so immersed in lying in every form – infidelity, political and personal lies – that it has become second nature to her as well. Two lawyers who have sold their souls to political expediency in a faithless marriage represent the quintessence of dishonesty.

    The Clinton's time has pasted because Americans are tired of liars. Her nomination will only guarnatee another Republican president..

    December 4, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. John, Bloomington IL

    Great Article! Finally some truth that the Hillary fanatics don't want to hear. If HRC wins the Democratic nomination on the lies and smoke she's been sending out, the Republicans are set for at least 4 more years. She's the past. Let's move foward with fresh ideas and a new face and hope for our nation!

    December 4, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. Kenny, Tulsa, OK

    When will somebody finally realize that the one thing Hillary keeps insisting is Obama's weakness (inexperience)is actually the only redeeming quality of any candidate on either side of the aisle? Inexperience means that this man might still actually own his own soul as opposed to the 'experienced' politicians that sold their's out a long time ago. Experienced politicians are the ones who have gotten us where we are, now.

    December 4, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. Jessie, Westerville, OH

    I am one independent voter that will vote in my open primary for Obama.

    If he does not win
    I will vote Republican


    December 4, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. Bob, NY

    I can not bear the burden of another Clinton vote..

    December 4, 2007 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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