April 18th, 2008
07:10 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton friend Reich backs Obama


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/18/art.reich.gi.jpg caption="Reich is a former Clinton administration member."](CNN) - Robert Reich, a former Clinton cabinet member and longtime friend of the former president, has formally endorsed Barack Obama's White House bid, saying Friday that "my conscience won't let me be silent any longer."

"Although Hillary Clinton has offered solid and sensible policy proposals, Obama's strike me as even more so," Reich wrote on his blog. He served as the Secretary of Labor from 1993-1997 and is currently a professor at UC Berkeley.

"His plans for reforming Social Security and health care have a better chance of succeeding," Reich continued. "His approaches to the housing crisis and the failures of our financial markets are sounder than hers. His ideas for improving our public schools and confronting the problems of poverty and inequality are more coherent and compelling. He has put forward the more enlightened foreign policy and the more thoughtful plan for controlling global warming."

Reich, whose relationship with the Clintons dates back to their law school days at Yale, has long been a critic of the New York senator's White House bid. Shortly before the Iowa caucuses in January, he wrote that voters would have a choice "between someone who talks the talk, and somebody who's walked the walk."

"I don’t get it," he wrote then. "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."

Reich also criticized Bill Clinton earlier in the year over the former president's sharp attacks on Obama in South Carolina.

“Bill Clinton’s ill-tempered and ill-founded attacks on Barack Obama are doing no credit to the former president, his legacy, or his wife’s campaign," he wrote in January. "Nor are they helping the Democratic Party."

Asked to respond to Reich's endorsement, Clinton spokesman Mo Eleithee said, "Didn't he endorse him last year?"

Reich is the latest former Clinton administration official to announce his support for Barack Obama. Last month, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who held several positions under Bill Clinton, also came out in support of the Illinois senator. Clinton supporter and James Carville later called that as an "act of betrayal." Carville is a CNN political analyst.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (486 Responses)
  1. Eli

    Whos calling them FRIENDS, not the Clintons its the media, just because I went to school with someone or worked for someone does not make us close friends. He has never been a friend or he would not be saying these things, he would at least keep his mouth shut. He is someone that they know not a FRIEND. If he was talking about her before the Iowa primary he is just a regular guy that has his own thoughts.

    April 18, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. Anne Marie nyc

    To Larry Thomas – I agree and pay attention to insider endorsements but I think its important to look more closely. The fact is most of Obama's senior staff have worked for Clinton - all that tells me is; at best Clinton hired well and gave many great training that Obama now calls upon –at worst, it is Clinton's "B" team that now work for Obama – whereas the "A" team of Albright and Rubin stick with Hillary–nobody can argue that our intl and economic policies were far superior under Clinton and these 2 advisors who now strongly support Hillary. I would rather have the original real deal Clinton team than the JV player advised by former (and possibly secondary/lower level or disgruntled?)advisors to the real deal.

    April 18, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Newman

    To quote Kelso from That 70s show..."Ultimate Burn!!!" Ouch Hillary, you got the smack-down again, from another one of your pals! I'd be worried about your daughter Chelsea now, bet she is thinking about endorsing Obama too, since she is fed up with the lies and treachery from her own family. Come on Chelsea, endorse Obama, you can do it! Welcome aboard, Robert Reich!

    April 18, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. E. C., Houston, Texas

    Reich is NO FRIEND. Obama is totally unqualified to be President, and Reich should know better than to endorse him.

    April 18, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. alice2

    Another PLUS for OBAMA. Great. Finally it looks like the right person will be in the White House. BARACK OBAMA, CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN.

    April 18, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. Ana in L.A.

    These people are trying to look out for only themselves. They are thinking, mistakenly, that Obama will win and that there could be alot of political benefit and clout in it for themselves. When Obama starts falling apart and whining about having to debate against McCain– there's going to be ALOT of people feeling really stupid.

    To quote your puppeteer: "It's just silly season in politics, folks..."

    Obama's a hypocritical, back-stabbing rookie and he CAN'T debate!!

    April 18, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. MIKE

    Way to go Robert.
    To Sara Jane from MO: Please explain how he and Richardson are traitors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Does that mean that anyone who does not agree with you is a traitor????????????????????????????????????
    The last I heard we are free to back and vote for whomever we want. For example – I back and vwll vote for Obama – a person who is for change and progress. Am I a traitor???
    You back a person who has proven these past months she is a liar, a negative campaigner and someone who wouldn't know the truth if it hit her in the face. Does that make you a traitor in my eyes – no – just a stupid person.

    April 18, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. Jeff

    Like the rest of American, Reich got tired of watching Hillary tear apart the Democratic party. In the end, either Hillary or Obama will need to go up against McCain and that will not be easy. Instead of watching Hillary getting us fighting one another, why can't we come together as a national party and put our faith behind Obama.

    It is the weak and losing individual that must try to smear the leader in order to get back in the race. If Hillary was able to win on her platform, her merits, and her honesty, she would be leading this nomination race instead of being well back.

    Wake up Hillary supporters, lets have some unity here as our real opponent is John McCain, not each other.

    April 18, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. John, Las Vegas, NV

    Time to start playing taps over the grave of the Clinton dynasty. She's done

    April 18, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. Lynx Owen

    It is silly to say you hate Hillary when the truth is anyone who listened to her intimate detailed recollections of being under Sniper fire and then see the videos that show it was the opposite event just would never trust her. How could you honor a person with a vote who just lied boldly to America.

    How could such detailed recollections be a MIstake? It was a LIE and an insult to every American who HAS been Under Fire.

    April 18, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. who cares

    CNN TICKER: BREAKING NEWS: Mikey from Life cereal endorses Obama, even though he "hates everything", CNN experts say this is a "sure sign Obama will be our next President"...more on AC360

    April 18, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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