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. Patriot

    Can't the Clinton campaign simply say "congratulations to Senator Obama?"

    Ditto with all the other numerous other members of Bill Clinton's administration who have endorsed Obama...

    Ditto with Obama's 100 plus daily newspaper endorsements (including every major paper in Pennsylvania)...

    Ditto with his convincing primary wictories in crucial swing states like Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota among many others...

    Ditto with the fact that over 1 million Americans have donated money to the Obama campaign, with the average amount being less than $100...

    April 18, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. SK

    Wise man.........

    April 18, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. Madison , PA

    Hillary , this is what you get for your negative tricks... Watch up... You might stay ALONE... I was with you... but not anymore..

    April 18, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. Now for Obama

    Wow! Is this a slap in Hillary's face or what!

    Her own people don't even trust her! DO NOT PICK THIS LADY FOR YOUR VP OBAMA!

    April 18, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Catherine


    April 18, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Daley Dunham

    Bravo, Dr. Reich. Thank you for being a leader.

    April 18, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. CW in DC

    Oh my!! Not another Clinton long time friend. Will he be called Judas too?!

    I think we're going to need more cars added to the Obama train, we're running out of room!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. Kristina, Seattle

    Another Judas!!

    (It should be noted that "Judas" these days, applies to anyone with brain enough not to fall for Clint-Rovian smear tactics, a love of the country that extends beyond petty political loyalties, and a healthy dose of common sense.)

    Obama '08

    April 18, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. Michelle

    Good move.

    April 18, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. Low

    Good for you Rob, It seem every week another delegate is moving in the right direction. To the Clinton supporters, how is it that Hillary is the best candidate, when all of her buddies are voting for Barack?

    April 18, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Gail

    They all have to be hypnotized. I just can't believe everyone is jumping on the cocky, arrogant bandwagon.

    April 18, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Michael

    Is this an endorsement?

    April 18, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Becky in Indiana



    April 18, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. Ben

    Thank you Reich.

    You did a good thing for America today.

    Hillary... How long are you willing to attack your party's nominee? Are you a Democrat? Will you support the Democratic nominee? Or will you do the bidding of a vast, right-wing conspiracy???

    April 18, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. Honest Abe

    There we go again! Another Clinton Ex-administration personnel endorsing Obama! The writing is on the wall and we don't need the POPE to read it. It says "Billary, shut up and quit already"!

    April 18, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. Matt

    Susan, You all need to get it through your heads. Clinton can not and will not win. Start supporting a winner.

    April 18, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. Chuck in Oregon

    I wonder what kind of flack Mr Reich is going to get from the Clinton camp on his endorsement of Obama. Will it be Judas, Traitor or will he be shrugged of as being insignificant? Either way this is another clear example of what past Clinton supporters think of the Clinton camp today.

    April 18, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. dAnnE

    Please don't start with the traitor/dilsloyalty comments...lets's have a real discussion on why he is supporting Obama. Friendship doesn't equate favortism.

    April 18, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. GREGG LA


    April 18, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. Sam

    Smart man. Listen their has to something when President Bill Clinton former staff members are endorsing Obama.

    April 18, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |

    It's really bad when people have to be worried about announcing who they are supporting. Everyone is free to support the candidate of their choice. Remember when people tried to make us feel "unpatriotic" when we opposed the war in Iraq? I sure do.

    April 18, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. Angus McDugan

    Come on people. When you see long time friends of the Clintons leaving them in the dirt, it should tell you something about the Clintons. I just hope Chelsea does not pick up the baton in a few years. I have had enough of the Clintons.

    April 18, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  23. David Ferdinand, Brooklyn New York

    We welcome Clinton supporters....
    It is enevitable...
    let us unite and put 8 long years of pain behind us.
    Obama welcomes you and so does his supporters
    It won't be easy, but will be worth it
    We are all Americans, and in God We Trust

    April 18, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. Tom , Flagstaff, AZ

    Reich is an honorable man, who is placing loyalty to country above loyalty to the past.

    April 18, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. Kristina

    Fyi: He teaches at UC Berkeley.

    April 18, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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