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. RuthieM

    If America votes Hillary Clinton in Office based on her so-called 'experience' chants, it will go down in American History as one of the best sales ever! Because that is exactly what it would be - she has sold the American people the greatest lie!

    December 4, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Janet, Fairfax, VA

    Conviction? You want "conviction" from a Clinton? NOT GONNA HAPPEN!! These two would sell their mothers for vote. Perhaps, I'm too hard on the Clintons...they do have ONE get into the WH with whatever it takes...lies, attacks, promises (to be broken). The first poll that shows them losing favor, they will change course.

    December 5, 2007 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  3. Bob New York


    I see two camps here the Hillary Lovers and Haters. I spend hours reading these blogs and found two very definitive lines.
    HRC Supporters say, Obama can't win and if you don't vote for Hillary we turn the white house over to Republicans.

    Obama Supporters say it's time for a clean slate and that we have had enough of deception.

    Polls wane and wax, though as time comes closer to the primary HRC slips and she changes her style fast. From saying she would not attack democrats to attacking them was 4 days.
    For quite a while polls have shown
    in a Election Obama would win against all comers, while Hillary would lose.

    Hillary claims to have all this experience, until it is bad then someone else is to blame (Ie. Bill took responsibility for her failed health plan)

    HRC claims that she is the only one capable of "taking on the right wing machine and wining for 15 years"
    yet she also says that she can get things done with the very same republicans that she can "fight".

    HRC's health care plan is all or nothing again which defeated it the first time. It is MANDATORY for every American.
    While Obama's is easing the health care plan into existence which appears to be much more sensible and palatable to all.

    Staunch republicans want Hillary to win the primary, because they know she can not win. Half of the democrats will not vote for her, most independents will not and no republicans will ever vote for her.

    If elected she will be a gridlocked president because she has fought with republicans for so long. She is now showing that she will attack any democrat who threatens or disagrees with her. We will then have a fully republican Senate and Congress as we did after Bill Clinton was in office, she will be voted out and you will have a Republican president again. In short history will repeat itself.

    It is telling that head democrats like Reich and republicans like Rove are pulling for Obama or more to the point against Hillary.

    December 5, 2007 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  4. annienyc

    The irony is that for her to include a mandate in her plan means she's got a very serious conviction, because that's not going to be popular. And she HAS had conviction to stand up for families since I remember her in 1991 when Bill ran she was all about health care. I'm from NY and she hasn't strayed from that. So, I can say that I think she is definitely committed in that area. She has made so many speeches on women's rights, and was always big on children welfare, so, Reich knows that, it was a bit of a stretch for him to say no conviction. But her stand on women and children and families I think is so part of her, that he omitted that. Just my 2 cents.

    December 15, 2007 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
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