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. Jack Walden

    Well, of course, Reich is a well educated guy and not an un-educated dropout incapable of a rationale thought.....

    April 18, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. CB in Florida

    Thanks Robert Reich for endorsing Senator Obama, the People's Choice for President. Hopefully more supporter's conscience won't let them be silent any longer and endorse Senator Obama. You heard Hillary say it loud; YES, YES, YES, Obama can win! We knew it all the time! OBAMA "08″

    April 18, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. Charles

    Based on the opinions of many of the Clinton supporters Barack Obama is going to have a hard time putting the Democratic party back. However no one can say he did not win the election fair and square. I have a question for Hilary Clinton supporters, if the superdelagates give it to someone who has significantly less pledged delagates, and less votes how can Hilary Clinton possible put back the coalition. Can you imagine what the Republicans will say, "The Clinton machine with their backroom dealing overturned the will of the democratic primary voter, is this who YOU want back in office, someone who doesn't respect the will of the voters". They fact of the matter is Clinton supporters in November will have to decide if they are democratic party members or simply personal cheerleaders.

    April 18, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. K. Adams, Pennsylvania

    . . .It is probably becoming a reality to the delegates that Hillary just can't win. She has lost the delegate count. Popular vote(her negativity
    rating is 68%), and number of states won. This simple mathmatics.
    It is time to face that reality.

    April 18, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. WH

    Actually Pam, I hope Carville tears him a new one.

    April 18, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. gary


    April 18, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. Real people for real man.

    guys what are you doing? you will make Bill criticize you and hate you for doing the right thing guys.
    everyone is joining Obama train wagon and they saw the hope of fututre on him and that doesn't drive well with Billary Clintons.

    Okay Mr. Dean you are right the supperdelegates should make their moves NOW. This is going out of hand Hillary can't make up for the pledgedelegates gap to win the nomination and her present situation at the moment is to destroy the party.

    She thinks it is a joke to do anything against a fellow Democrats. DNC have to put a stop into it and Howard Dean yourself have to endorse your candidate NOW.

    April 18, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. nate

    Of course he backed O – he actually dated Hillary – enough said!

    April 18, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. Sharon

    We didn't stay out of the Bushes when we were told to do so and see what we got. The highest Foreclosure rate in how many years, the highest unemployment rate, and so much more. Bitterness is an understatement.

    Yet again, we are being told that the Clintons will do anything to win. While the Clintons are racking up 800,000 for Free Trade Speeches,and their advisers are making deals with Columbia/Free Trade, people are losing their houses, having their care repossessed, are without Universal Health. Warning! Stay away from the Clinton's.

    Obama for A NEW DAY!!. Yes We Can. OBAMA '08

    April 18, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |



    April 18, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. Larry

    I have long been a fan of Robert Reich and I appreciate and respect his opinion. I wish he was a candidate.

    April 18, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. Obama all the way...

    Welcome aboard!!! It is gettin' mighty crowded on the Obama train!!!


    April 18, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. Diddy

    Good for you senator,,join the rest of the awakened and forward thinking people!!!!!!!

    Obama 08!!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. Tubby The Tuba from Texas

    It is good to see that the the intelligent are alive and well in America. Charlie and George sandbagged Obama at the debate the other night. That speaks volumes for those two men. The intelligent can see through the smoke they tried to raise. Dishonesty is immoral Charlie and George. I understand George's need to get back into the fold of the Clintons again, but do it some other way George.

    April 18, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. Derek in Seattle

    It's funny watching HRC supporters squirm. You have to give it to them for their optimism, but even if she dominates PA by an unprecedented landslide, it's over. HRC better start focusing on Governor of NY while she had a ounce of credibility...

    April 18, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. Vicki from Fl

    Yes We Can!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. bdiddy

    also, 2 messages for those who believe this race is "over" and hrc supporters should just "give it up."

    1. tuesday's results in pa which will be a 10 point + margin for hrc according to internal polls, will clearly indicate that this race is anything but over.

    2. should obama win the nomination, he's going to struggle mightly winning the general. i'm not voting for mccain, but i ain't casting a presidential vote for obama either. and i suspect, you'll see a lot of that as predicted by the polls, and vice-versa for obama supporters should hrc win the nomination.

    here's the thing, though: i'm 100% confident that hrc can win the nomination even without some percentage of disaffected obama supporters because hrc (1) has actually won the key democratic states necessary for any democrat to win the white house, (b) she has continued to dominate obama in support among registered democrats, and (c) related to point b, hrc isn't dependent on pulling off the vegas "trifecta" of pulling together cross-over independents (all historical data shows independents overwhelmingly vote republican), pulling together cross-over republicans (if they won't support a documented moderate like mccain, who will they support), and (c) getting registered democrat support on par with historical precedents.

    ...so if he wins, we lose, and we'll just strap this strap up do to this whole rodeo thing over again in 4 years...minus, of course, the freshman senator from illinois who's "can't win the general" tag will no longer be mere conjecture but irrefutable fact.

    "we hope you enjoy your stay in obama-land!"

    April 18, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. Marc, Tacoma Wash

    Will Hilliry say to her supporters about Reich like she said about those Southern White Boys " Screw em." I hope people remember what she said to Bill about the White People down South. This is the person you want in the White House hahahahaha.

    Obama 08

    April 18, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. Kareem from Hampton VA

    Things that have fickled me:

    1. How NONE of Obama's wins or endorsement mean anything! Wow!

    2. How the Hillary supporters say that Obama cant win against McCain that's why they are gonna vote for McCain in Nov! Irony?!

    3. How all of clinton's must wins becomes BOTH candidates must wins!

    4. How everyone on this ticker that calls for Fl and Mi to count comes from neither state!!

    5. Obama is buying the election and these are JUST the primaries!!

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

    I have a question for that loud mouth Carville. Is Reich another Judas?

    Go Obama...Yes we can!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. Cerebral

    Thought Reich was an intelligent man rather than puppy dog. Reich, I have also read the policy proposals they are completely different. One health care plan doesn't provide health care to all while the other does. Increasing payroll tax to shore up Social Security is not going to work.

    Then again I would not expected an ultra liberal conscious such as yours would have allowed you to do anything else. By the way an ultra liberal democrat has not won a general election and CNN is the only MSM that picked up this story.

    You must be guest analyst at CNN and I doubt CNN would post this anyway.

    April 18, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. gary


    April 18, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. mrllmc

    YIKES! Hill-liar-y is under more sniper fire...this time, from within!

    April 18, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. FEDUP

    That's okey, he just got endorsed by Hamas, which he declined Now add Louis Farracahn, which he also declined, Jerimiah Wright, and all he needs now is Al Qaeda, and Muqtada al-Sadr and that Iranian guy. That would just about cover the Muslim Islamic terriost network. Even though he has declined their support, don't you wonder why they do support him?

    April 18, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. dare to be honest

    what conscience?
    he just proved to be a whimp who is afraid of female leadership.
    ANY EIGHTH grader who put obama's resume next to clintons not to mention his many lies and huge overwieght baggage cant possibly come out with obama's name in their hand.

    if you were running a company and you had to choose from these two
    who would YOU choose.

    this has become a regular freak show.

    April 18, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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