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. Status QuO.

    NEWS FLASH for all the Obamaniacs who keep calling Hillary a liar. Obama is guilty of lying too. The only differnece is he has a teflon lie shield that surrounds him. People are blinded by whatever they like about him and they can't see him for what he really is. A politician. They are politicians, it's what they do. If you really believe he's that different you need to wake up. Too many pots and kettles calling each other black here.

    April 18, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. Brandy

    Thank you Rena.

    I agree that it appears that many people are resentful because of the skin color..this is the part that makes me sick. It is so obvious that Obama is a better candidate than Hillary. But, no matter what, he won't get the credit from some Americans because of his skin color, but people are afraid to admit it. They are to cowardly to admit that truth.

    Obama 08

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

    This is great. Here is a man of sound convictions, and has a monumental record of knowing America. If he can see thru Hillarys campaing of slash and burn, the Super Delegate are seeing the same. Thank you Mr. Reich, on you considered opinion!

    April 18, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. I supported HRC because of Bill

    Susan MO,

    Who are you rooting for? You seem to be talking from all sides of your mouth...
    Make it clear....Obama, Clinton or McSame?

    April 18, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Lake Hart - A Native American Writer

    Build it and they will come! One by one, they will come! Changes are great for the American Nation and people. We must evolve and embrace changes. We must be inclusive, this land is for all, a gift from our people to all of humanity, not just the chosen few and the entitled. Sincerely, Lake Hart, a Native American Writer.

    April 18, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. gerard morei

    Just another rat in Obama's ship, you all going to be sorry if Obama gets the nomination, but I'm sure you allready have a job with him, (in Illinois). Clowns!!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  7. Amy

    So many of their friends, former advisers, and ex-cabinet members overwhelmingly going against them speaks volumes about the Clintons! There must be so much more bad stuff that we don't know about them...

    April 18, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. Mr. Gravy

    Oh, and as far as James Carville is concerned. Well, here's a nobody who ran one campaign in 1992 and is still riding that for all it's worth. He's just nothing but a has-been. His wife has done more than he has. He's funny, at times, and mostly just plain annoying. His comments hang around as much as a fart in a strong wind.

    April 18, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. Alison Allentown, PA

    Why does everyone think 'Cling' and 'Bitter' are bad words. I'm bitter about Bush, this war, what its doing to our economy, the price of gas, and the jobs that are outsourced to other countries or to illegal immigrants. I've voted based on economic promises in the past and found that nothing ever seems to change. It makes me bitter everytime I think about it. So you know what I do, I cling to my core beliefs and vote based on issues I may have a better chance of affecting. Abortion is a religious issue. Gun ownership and how it is managed is a specific stongly held personal issue that I would much base my vote on then broad complicated economic problems that nobody can put their finger on or ever solve. The fact that Obama can speak to that means he does understand. If Hillary hasn't expirienced that, as she says, she isn't listening to us. Thank you Reich for ending your silence.

    April 18, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. get real

    If he has been critical of Hillary's campain since Iowa, why is this news now?

    CNN you disgust me. Obama has had a few more days of bad press. It looks like CNN is trying to smooth it over for Obama today.


    April 18, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. boer

    Who won last Tuesday debate. The ABC – own (!) Poll says:

    Sen. Barack Obama 45,602
    Sen. Hillary Clinton 17,155
    It was a tie 5,457


    April 18, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. vote for ?

    What are we recycling endorsements now? Old news.
    Nice try by Obama campaign.

    April 18, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. Linda

    Who really cares who endorses who? Politicians are looking for new jobs in the new administration. Right now it looks like it is going to be Obama so "Let's all jump on his band wagon." Clinton has been leading in INdiana by 16% points and in Kentucky by over 25 points.
    Let us all get our chance to cast our vote for President.

    April 18, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. Maria - Milwaukee

    Reich is an avowed Socialist, and his endorsement is one she does NOT need! His support of Osama speaks volumes!

    April 18, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  15. Timber

    Why are you not reporting this:

    From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
    Rep. Betty Sutton (OH-13) endorsed Clinton today, giving the New York senator one more superdelegate. Our superdelegate count now stands at Clinton 260, Obama 235. This also marks Clinton breaking even since Super Tuesday, Feb. 5. In mid-March Clinton had been at a net loss of seven delegates since Feb. 5. Obama has netted 65 delegates since Feb. 5.

    Only when Obama gets an endorsement does CNN report it! How is that for a double standard. Wake up folks, the media is trying to herd you towards Obama.

    April 18, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  16. South African Obama Supporter

    CNN – pse add my comments!

    I just cannot understand how african americans can back hrc when they finally have a 'black' candidate running to be the 44th president of the usa........ where is their sense of what is right? HRC will be just the same old politics as the bush/clinton/bush adminisrations........ as others have so correctly made the point, the clintons will do whatever it takes to win! why no more q's to the clintons about where they received their millions of usd? from the middle east? from shady deals? they are the masters of shady deals!!!!!!!!!!!! finally, she couldn't take care of her husband while she was in the whitehouse, how she gonna take care of the country? she'll fall asleep from exhaustion and miss the boat!

    April 18, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  17. jj

    and just where do you think Obama's crew got their ideas stupid. Remember the first 10 debates, he kept saying I agree with Senator Clinton. He didn't take questions when he gave speechs, because he didn't have answers. He gives good speechs and that's all. He can't answer questions without blaming someone else. Not good enough for me. Still sticks about his MENTOR of 20 years. Not comfortable with that yet. He needs to wait longer and everything gets cleared up before I'll vote for him.

    April 18, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  18. The Reich Stuff

    Robert Reich is well respected and is a grown-up. He is also a very intelligent man, and will stand up against dirty politics by supporting Obama.

    Thank you Secretary Reich, you made an excellent choice.

    Obama 08

    April 18, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  19. Tom, St. Paul

    Those who pay attention know that Reich's endorsement is one of the finer feathers in Obama's feather-laden cap!

    April 18, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  20. PDT

    Stop being haters; the Obama will win! Wake up people and smell the coffee!

    April 18, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  21. Terrence W from NC

    RJUDY – do you think by NOT buying water from them if YOU were in a desert is gonna hurt them? Hmmm? Think about that for a minute and get back to me.

    April 18, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. Gabriel

    HRC is so fake can't wait for this to be over.
    Obama 08 baby!!

    April 18, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. Sallie Mae

    Hooray for OBAMA! He is clearly the best candidate. ...& of course Hillary can stand the heat in the kitchen... the little devil!

    OBAMA '08

    April 18, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. carrie

    i wonder what atrocities the clintons committed during their stay in the white house ?
    i mean their friends dont even want them there?
    americans should heed this
    hillary clinton is unelectable.
    Obama 08,12

    April 18, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. Ro

    Hillary said she 'mis spoke' about sniper fire because she was 'tired'.....yet runs an ad about 'answering the phone at 3:00 am'.........think of what could happen if she 'mis spoke' then!!!! And she 'mis spoke' time and time again......
    Hillary needs to admit that it's over and let Obama focus on running against McCain.

    Obama is the only choice in 08

    April 18, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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