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. mama for obama

    thank you Sandy you are correct about the right and also about Clinton attacks on Obama. They do so becuase they fear him, they know that the people are behind him and they also know this is a good man, they know he is not doing this for personal reasons but for the people,
    clinton, rush limbaugh, mccain, and ann coulter, lou dobbs, hendy and the rest of individuals who make a living of teaching hate , intolerance, lies, manipulation, division and all the human toxic stuff, are but that toxic...and our country and our children, us and our future deserve a chance and deserve better than what we have been receiving...............no more ..time has come for a big turn and good start, even if it is difficult................. yes we the american people we all can, and we will overcome and have a good president............

    Obama 08

    April 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Andrew Nelson

    I remember this guy on the Colbert Report when asked around Easter that he'd prefer the chocolate bunny over the vanilla chick. I'm pretty sure that was a prelude to this.

    April 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Yalivee

    Obama, I have been aboard your train even before your announced that you were running for president! And I love ya, "Yes, we can"!

    April 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Dave in Atlanta

    Did you hear that? Obama's solutions for social security strike him as more sensible. A lot of Clinton supporters charge that Obama doesn't offer solutions. He does. Check his website.

    April 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Who cares

    One more washed up politician bucking for a cabinet post job.

    April 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Lou

    No, Reich isn't a traitor. These guys take this seriously, know the candidates better than we do, and support based on what they think is best for the country. It's time to wrap this thing up and they know it.

    April 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. John Smith

    Can "Sarajane from PA" and other Hillary supporters honestly tell me how any American would want to return an "Impeached Family and President" back to the White House?

    I have and will always be a great admirer of the Clintons. But I love my nation above all that the Clintons would ever offer– good economy–?

    Integrity + strong moral values –> Solutions that are blessed for a nation.

    I do not think Hillary meets the above profile!

    April 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. FactCheck

    How creepy is it that the 2008 Clinton supporters are beginning to sound more and more like the 2004 Bush supporters.

    April 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |

    These are people that know Senator Clinton and her Husband better than 99% of us that are leaving comments on all the news websites. This has to tell you something if they are not supporting Senator Clinton.

    I trust the judgement of these folks and they are people that have been involved in politics for awhile now. They know something that we don't know.

    OBAMA 08

    April 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. Omentum

    Hillary supporters

    Like Bill Richardson,
    This is somebody who knew Hillary for decades

    GET A CLUE !!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. dave

    Robert Reich is highly respected.

    April 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. AZM

    It's good to see so many democrats finally seeing the Clintons for what they are... The Republicans have known this for 15 years... a little slow coming around but glad to see you've done it.

    Down with the Royal Family!

    April 18, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  13. james

    Traitor? Why, because after thoughtful and careful deliberation he felt that Obama was a better choice. That's treasonous? Are those Hillary supports who are spouting this nonsense REALLY that dense? I understand your feelings being hurt, but come on...try to cut back on your hateful hyperbole. It isn't going to help your candidate to behave like a spoiled child everytime someone from BILL Clinton's administration backs Obama.

    April 18, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. Content


    The fat lady keeps singing but Bill and Hill must be deaf.


    April 18, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. Mary

    Obama is phony, wake up American.

    April 18, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  16. Lois, California

    This is what I'm talking about. We already knew Reich was an Obama supporter. This Clinton supporter will not vote for Obama in November if Hillary is Not on the ticket. The way Hillary has been portrayed in the media and all over the internet, will doom Mr. Obama. I guarentee that.

    April 18, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. Chidozie Nwafor

    More men of goodwill are waiting to join the Obama express train.Welcom on board Reich.

    April 18, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. Jack - Miami

    As a McCain supporter – this is amusing. Those that support HRC say Reichis a judas and that Obama is a liar. Those that support Obama – welcome him with open arms. Says something about the two campaigns.

    BTW – while all of the HRC crew is throwing stones – note this – just because the Paul vs. Clinton case doesn't come up until after the next set of primaries – it will be more than fodder for McCain to sink your political machine in the Fall.....that is....if you manage to STEAL the nomination from Obama. Paul vs. Clinton – it is twisted and doesn't look good for the Clintons.
    Sorry – CNN – know you don't want to investigate the Paul vs. Clinton case until after you have won HRC the nomination. Sorry for jumping the gun.

    Mc Cain 08

    April 18, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. OUR USA!


    April 18, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. LM, TX

    Obama is a good man, person, and will be fair to all people. I am so proud of him. God Bless Obama.

    April 18, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Trotfox

    Hillary supporters are hilarious. "He's just jumping on the bandwagon now because Obama has taken the lead and he is angling for a cabinet post!! Besides, he basically endorsed him a year ago so this isn't really news!!"

    Anything contradictory there??

    April 18, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. wwf

    Don't need them? Where did I hear that before? Oh! Now I remember. Hillary telling Bill to screw them when talking about southern white voters who did not sit on command. You don't need them. Bring back any memories? Seems to be the phrase of the Clinton followers as well. I am a typical white baby boomer who is leanning more and more towards Obama.

    April 18, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. Sad, sad, sad

    As an Independent who voted Republican the last two elections...and third party candidate for multiple local elections....I used to hear the rhetoric from the Democrats...and wonder what type of punch they were drinking from.

    No matter the endorsement, no matter the well thought out and articulated argument, no matter the facts.....................................................................Clinton Fanatics are the worst and most insatiable. I will personally vote for any Democrat that wins the nomination this year.

    I prefer Obama, but I can vote for Hilary. I can't vote for a Republican candidate beating the war drum on Iran already, who admits ignorance on the Economy, and then suggests that it has shown great growth over the last 7 1/2 years.

    But you friggen Clinton Fanatics are making it really hard for me to take your party at all seriously.

    April 18, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. rob

    The most important thing is to end the Bush era and policies. Clinton people unite behind our nominee as I am sure he would if she won the nomination. It was hers to win and her campaign's arrogance lost her a 30 point national lead. It is not her time. The first woman president will be an inspirational leader who doesn't have a husband who was perceived as an advantage who turned out to be an albatros.

    April 18, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. PA Voter 2008

    Geez...how much money are these schmucks being paid to try and drive out the best candidate - Hillary? Obama is a ticking time bomb of unknowns, and the slanted media coverage is all too happy to please their right-wing ownership by shoving him down everyone's throats.

    This is not a threat, it is a fact. I WILL NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA NO WAY NO HOW. I will write Hillary in if she is not the nominee. I'm sick of a bunch of racists and misogynists trying to push this empty suit. Excuse my bitter @$$ now...I'm going home to cling to my guns, religion and antipathy.

    April 18, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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