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. Latina Voter

    Everyone in the policitic arena is a longtime friend of the former president. Who cares.

    Go Hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. Midge from Ohio

    Hmmmmm, I don't have the slightest idea who this guy is.

    April 18, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. Bertha Vanation

    I could respect what Reich did were it not for the timing. Had he waited until the primaries were over I could accept that he was simply following his conscience. But to do it now when it hurts Hillary the most makes him in my eyes a Judas.

    April 18, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. KIRBY

    PEOPLE OF PA, if you take time to listen to OBAMA u'll know he's the best person for the job, CLINTON isn't bad either but she didn;t show me that she can take decisions when the day will come, we need to be united as americans, plz let's end these issues and vote for OBAMA.

    we can if we listen

    April 18, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Philip

    This man is in deep trouble; they will call him a traitor. The Clintons think anybody who served in Bill's administration owes them, there are several superdelegates who are struggling with their conscience. They know the right candidate is Obama but for some reason are struggling to come out.

    Now she is making news of Obama's complaint about the lines of questioning during Wednesday's debate. Who was the first to complain about debate questions? Now she understands that if you want to go to the White House you have to face tougher questions at a debate. What a hypocricy! Everybody knows Barack Obama was not complaining of "tougher questions" as Hillary did some few weeks ago; the complain is about the relevance of those question to the american people.

    April 18, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. Sam in Washington, DC

    I think Hillary will make a great state leader. Hillary for Governor of New York.

    April 18, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. Vince - Phoenix

    known the Clintons since "college"...

    man..... that's "GOTTA" HURT !!!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. John

    HRC is done, put a stake in her. Good BYE Barack is the man, with the plan. And 100 millon people can't be wrong. Down with Bush, step aside HRC. Lets roll over McBush JR. Obama 08

    April 18, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. Andy Dunwoody

    I have noticed most people that are NOT for Obama denote his RACE! WOW, America wake up to the inter demons, we all know there are people that use race as there monitor for every facet of their life, this is still very, very SAD. Vote on the issues I have lost my job because of downsizing If he can help with NEW ideas God help him. I see why the secret service gave him security from DAY ONE!

    April 18, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  10. dusty

    Barack Obama has the strength of characrter and ideas to make an excellent president. Hillary Clinton has big name recognition thanks to her husband. I don't think that gives her any sort of experience or edge on anyone running, much less someone who is intelligent, thoughtful, and caring.
    If all people can find to fault the man with is that some of the people in his live have made mistakes, then he is hardly an elitist. Or, if so, than aren't we all? I have members in my own family I am not proud of and wouldn't want to be held responsible for some of their decisions. Still, I would not disown or stop caring for them, or trying to work together with them to get something good accomplished.

    April 18, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. Sara from Arizona

    Good!!! OBAMA 08', NO MORE CLINTONS!!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. lin

    Better for Hillary to remember all the judas in her party. It's funny how loyalty doesn't belong to democrats, which is why they will keep on loosing, Imagine why would he think Obama is better after wed. debate is a mystery unless Sorros has made him an offer he coudn't refuse, that's very possible. The 90's were the best years in the history of the USA why would you turn your back on the Clintons. United we stand belongs to republicans and divided we fall belongs to the dems. that's why they are bound to loose. Time for a third party just to weed out the hipocrites. or loose with Obama and his nutty supporters.

    April 18, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. TK

    I thought America is a free country. Are HRC supporters saying "you must vote for the wife because you worked with Bill" I don't get it. I like Bill Clinton, but I'm votting Obama. This is the kind of mentality that's turning people off. I respect Reich for his choice and making that choice based on who has the better policy for the nation. I, like Reich, think the Office is much bigger than friendship.

    April 18, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. tidho

    People use traitor as if he's endorsing a Republican, lol. When Clinton finally does drop out I hope all her supports can regain some perspective.

    This endorsement was pretty harsh. He noted specific policy issues that he thinks Obama has a better case around. That's something most endorsers haven't been doing.

    April 18, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. AmyVK

    What is it, exactly, that makes the Clinton camp and supporters cling to the belief that the nomination is her God-given right, given that Obama has won the popular vote, more states and more delegates, more people view him as trustworthy, and he is ahead in the polls?

    The honesty, clarity, intelligence, focus and eloquence Obama brings to this election is refreshing. It is in stark contrast to the games that Hillary plays. Some of our best former political leaders are those with some of the least formal "Washington experience", and some of the most disasterous administrations have significant experience. Washington experience does not translate into a good presidency.

    Go Obama!

    April 18, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. Penn State

    The more the media and Obama supporters push Obama down our throats, the more us Clinton supporters are willing to vote for McCain in the fall. Remember Obamabots, Obama only has half of the support of the democratic party. The other half is going to Clinton. If she does not get the nomination, then we will show you exactly how we feel about your Obama.

    April 18, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. Victor from Colorado

    For all those Hillary supporters out there... This is the guy whose economic policies produced the prosperity of the Clinton years that Hillary is now taking credit for. If he is backing Obama, Hillary has no more basis to claim she is better. Her "experience" and "economic acumen" have just jumped ship... Maybe she can cackle a little louder now ???

    April 18, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. fred

    you guys crying about this guy going for obama wake up and smell the roses. you guy dont rember the clintons and how they put nafta on us. thats one of the reasons penn. ,mich,ohio.,ind., ill. have lost jobs. she is two face ,she tells you what you want to hear an does something else.

    April 18, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. Mr. Gravy

    My, my. I always thought there was one Judas, and one Judas only 😉

    April 18, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. Frazier

    Stop your banter Susan, Its time you Clintonistas to join the Wining Campaign! say it with loud Susan (YES WE CAN). And tell some of your friends to knock that dirt off your shoulder too.

    Obama Baby 08

    April 18, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |

    cry me a river......

    Clintonaddicts need to wake up from their cold sweats. Hillary is an addiction that leads to destruction. Its sad that out of all the great women in our country the best we could do for a real legit shot, was Billary?
    & to Bill, shame on you for calling any one young or old, who does not VOTE for your wife that you betrayed, dumb or not smart!!!!!!

    Obama has won us over! “Whether we’re from red states or blue states, we feel in our gut the lack of honesty, rigor, and common sense in our policy debates, and dislike what appears to be a continuous menu of false or cramped choices.” (Men, Women, Young, Old, rich, poor, Latinos, Blacks & Whites, Asians & Native Americans, Straight, Gay, Democrats, Republicans and Independents) Hence-“we sense-correctly-that the nation’s most significant challenges are being ignored, and that if we don’t change course SOON, we may be the first generation in a very longtime that leaves behind a weaker and more fractures America than the one we inherited.”- Barack 🙂 Obama

    April 18, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  22. B of A

    one has to think...Why is it that some of the people who worked directly with, and know the Clinton's the best are jumping ship? You can maybe call one or two a traitor or opportunist, but there has been a steady stream of former Clinton democrats that have supported Obama.

    I'm not sayin....I'm just sayin.

    I'm an Obama supporter, but I will ABSOLUTELY vote for Clinton if she were to eek out the nomination. A vote for McCain is a vote against your own self interests as Americans. Though admirable in his service to this country, why is no one calling him on pandering the the conservative agenda as he decided to run for president? I used to to like the guy, he just seems quite disingenuous to me.

    April 18, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. Lynx Owen

    How is it that Hillary lied to the American people about being shot at.
    Listen to how vivid her stories were of it. It wasn't a mistake it was a complete fabrication.

    The republicans will trot out Mccains war hero pictures and videos and say:
    "The CLINTONS lie about being shot at to impress you, I don,t have to lie about it." It is an insult to every American who has ever been and today is in "Harms Way" for her to lie about it for political gain.

    She owes the country and every dead soldier an apology and the true explanation of why she did it. Of course she does not have that kind of courage. Does She?
    Why isn't the liberal media more outraged?

    April 18, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. kyari G

    That those who have worked more closely with the Clintons are the ones that are endorsing Obama tells a lot about Obama's preparadeness, capability and electability, for the office of the President of the United States against Hilary's

    April 18, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. Alfredo

    He is such a sucker.

    How come CNN always published and makeing it a headline everytime Obama receives support or recommendation. But if Hilalry receives recommendation and support like this, it is not a headline.

    The media was and is always really unfair to Hillary.

    Obama is the most irresponsibvle and most degrading candidate I've seen.

    Obama mocked the Pennsylvannians and all American. Wake up America!!!! As demeaning as Obama so goes Wright and Rezco.

    These supprters doe not think anymore that is same as every elections since Bush won the white house. I think this is happenning again. Shame on you.

    April 18, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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