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. Katya

    Susan MO: You'd be a lot more credible if you could spell.

    April 18, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. OKAY

    You Hillary supporters seem to be rather "bitter". It's a wonder you support a candidate who is running a completely negative campaign... the apples don't fall to far from the tree.

    April 18, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. vic nashville,Tn

    Good Baby sitting CNN
    This news look like you are giving candy for your crying baby
    Good job
    Hillary 08 or Mc Cain 08

    April 18, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. E. Bertin

    Obama was right. Some of guys here are bitter. It is time to end primary race and let Obama face Mccain and put him where he merit to be ... with Bush club. Change si for now, not tomorrow. Obama 08 and 12. The whole wold is watching you guys ! Make history and Do the right thing: Vote Obama for real politics with respect and direct talk.

    April 18, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. moma for Obama

    thank you thank you thank you, Yes

    Mr. Reich you have put it as it is, that is the huge difference between them (well one), he is honest, no matter what the clinton and Rush and Ann Coulter say.............

    April 18, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. Pennsylvanian for Obama

    The worst thing Hillary did was turn Bill loose on the campaign trail. She should have just told him to stay home and watch it on TV. He puts his foot in his mouth every time he speaks. She had a fair chance of winning in the beginning of the primaries, but now she's making a mockery out of the Democratic Party.

    Obama is the one that can unite America again and make this country a better place for everyone.

    Don't forget to vote next Tuesday fellow PA residents!!
    Say YES to change!!
    --Obama 2008/12-–

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

    In other words, those who have EXPERIENCED true Hillary Clinton, vote for Barack Obama. Funny... I just thought that Bill Clinton just might be one of those people :)))

    April 18, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. Lee, SC

    Are the statements truly critical and inaccurate, or has Barack spoken truthfully of the realities rooted heavily within this nation? A truth to such an extent that these individuals find it easier to become defensive and upset, rather than accept the smallest possibilities of a stage towards enlightenment of one's true self. I believe Barack Obama has exposed the roots of this America, which have become reflective through outrage, hostility, and humility. To make a difference within America we all must tear away that outer layer, and introduce our inner selves; therefore, making apparent the lines of division, and discovering ways to eliminate them in hopes of creating a more united America.

    Lee Johnson
    Columbia SC

    April 18, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. Mike

    i love how both campaigns actively and aggressively pursue every single endoresement that they can think of. whether its personal, professional or otherwise. but as soon as obama picks up any mutually sought after endorsement, the clinton campaign and clinton supporters immediately brand that supporter, and his or her endorsement, meaningless.

    like how bill clinton was fuming over the 'betrayal' of bill richardson's obama endorsement while other clinton surrogates were marginalizing his support as 'meaningless.' really? meaningless? then why was everyone so upset that he chose who he thought would be the best president as opposed to simply falling into line behind his political puppet masters?

    at the beginning of this whole process, the clinton campaign's inevitablilty message was such that since she had the political infrastructure and the backing of so many of the superdelegates (who, incidentally, made up their minds long before the race had even taken shape out of perceived political opportunism or blind loyalty and certainly NOT based on a careful consideration of who would make the best nominee) it was not even worth it to challenge her. as soon as the tables have turned and obama has the lead – in such categories as fundraising, popular vote, pledged delegates, elected superdelegates, etc. etc. etc. – those categories are now deemed as meaningless as the support of anyone who pledges their support to obama as opposed to clinton.

    down with the 2 political dynastic families – its time to put an end to the sham democracy and actually elect someone different. and by different, i do not mean the geriatric grumpy senator from arizona.

    April 18, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Jot

    This campaign has been a good sign for the Clintons family. They can now sit down and learn how to choose friends. All these crooks who surrounded themselves to the Clintons when they needed help now they are running away to a man who showed his true colors yesterday when he brushed off senator Clinton in NC. There is no way the Americans will put a man who has that kind of Ghetto life sytle behavior to be our president. All the traitors will learn a lesson after November

    April 18, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. Wendy Perkins

    Just got a phone call from a belligerent Obama campaign worker for me to donate $1000 to Obama's campaign. Hillary starts with $25, a reasonable amount for an out of work female. Obama's volunteers will do him in expecting $1000 from ordinary Americans.

    April 18, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. Charlotte

    Oh stop complaining Hillary supporters!! You know Hillary gets caught up in her lies because she's repeating "what somebody told her"! She never does any research and her campaign members are dishonest as well. This is who you want to represent the democrats in November?! Bill said "Obama was crying and complaining"! Wasn't that what Hillary was doing – with the fake tears to get peity votes! WAKE UP you Clinton democrats!

    I think NOT!

    GO OBAMA 08'

    April 18, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. Marc, Tacoma Wash

    Hang it up liar. Your days on the campaign are finished.

    April 18, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. Blease Carson

    Mr. Reich is right Barrack Obama is the better cannidate over all and has a better plan for presidency than Sen.Clinton. He is also right on the fact that Bill Clintons comments are disgraceful and unnecesary.

    April 18, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. deana

    Hey James Carville,
    Once you foul out the game you can't just jump back in for the last 3 minutes!
    I guess Senators Nunn and Boren and former Clinton Labor Secretary Reich are all Judases. If that is so the J. Carville is a "goner"!!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. sam

    Doesnt it seem that most Hillary supporters, or just plain Obama Critics, always seem to be complaining, admit it, he is better at presenting him self than she is, period. I dont see many Obama supporters complaing about him being dowm in PA, we are people that move forward an role with the punches. So please stop trying to destroy a man that has the support of most of the nation. Most half smart people would agree with Reich, and anyone with half a brain would take his opinion as being valid. OBAMA 08

    April 18, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. Brandon

    You will see a lot more of this as the pressure is increased to have these folks make a decision. Please Hillary supporters, support your party and the policies of the Democratic Party. This is not a popularity contest, this is our country's future. Even we our favorite team loses, we still support the victor.

    April 18, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. Jim Bacon

    CNN is as bad as ABC – This should be the lead story, the architect of the Clinton economic boom backing Obama rather than the McCain campaign's rebuttal of Obama's speech. Come on guys – you are supposed to be the serious news outfit

    April 18, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. John in PA

    So whenever something bad happens to Obama like doing terrible in a debate, CNN just posts a bunch of endorsements to show their favor of Obama. Of course theres no mention of how Obamas national lead has shrank by 8 points since after his terrible debate performance. CNN wont post this since it is Pro-Clinton/
    Hillary 08

    April 18, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Peter of Oregon

    I have never seen Hillary Clinton wear an American Flag lapel pin. She is therefore clearly unpatriotic, and I will not vote for who on those grounds!

    April 18, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |




    April 18, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. Terrence W from NC

    Hillary spporters, lend an ear.. Let rap a bit. Okay, here we have a recent trend of Hillary's friends who are going over to Obama. Granted, we voters know our politics to some extent, however EVERY SINGLE TIME a man/woman takes into account the backlash he/she's gonna receive for going to Obama's side, you have to admit : THEY MUST KNOW SOMETHING THAT WE DON'T. It's not always just about supporting someone cause they are your friend, cause they are a woman or black. It takes great courage to do what many of these guys are doing. they know people are going to hammer them, but they are lookin to what the country will benefit from. I'm an OBAMA supporter, but I long favored the CLINTONS until this campaign.

    My point is: not everyone is a traitor or Judas or stupid. Maybe we just see something that you guys also see but don't want to. Understand their policies are similar, but they is something extra OBAMA has that struck me. - the ability to bridge gaps. Hillary hasn't yet demostrated that. That's why I support OBAMA.

    April 18, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. TNeal

    What's up that some of the folks who are/were very close to Hillary now supporting another candidate (Obama)? Let's see, could it be they know something we don't. Apparently somethings her supporters don't know. Get a clue!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  24. College graduate- aka "Elitist"

    "jt April 18th, 2008 2:50 pm ET

    Onather loser that want to be in the news. It is beginning like the Paris Hilton, the more losers on his side the more media attention he got.

    Hillary 08!!!"

    Clinton supporters are so dumb they can't even write a simple blog post at a 4th grade level.

    People with brains vote Democrat, and smart Democrats vote Obama.

    April 18, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. NY Girl

    Yet another who has seen the light. Keep those endorsements coming Barack!

    Obama '08

    April 18, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20