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. MP-Pennsylvania

    Susan, MO

    Please don't speak for us. We are not hurt by Obama's words. He actually told the truth. We are bitter and we will be bitter if your candidate steal the nomination.

    A middle age woman from Pennsylvania

    April 18, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. moses

    Reich is a known Extreme Left Liberal. His endorsement is meaningless, and he has no impact. Go Pennsylvania and give iIllary the BIG-MO to bring back this country into PROSPERITY.

    April 18, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. Maxine

    Remember these people have been around the Clintons for a LONG TIME. They know how they work and what they are
    made of. I appreciate his honesty.

    April 18, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. Matthew, Philadelphia, PA

    Not a superdelegate. Who cares?

    April 18, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. Deanna

    Thank you for comparing the two and making a decision based on the real issues!!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Raw Politics

    Way to go obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. B

    Reading Hillary's spokesperson(s) responses to each new SD defection has become the highlights of my days. "Didn't he endorse him last year"?..Is that the best response they could come up with? If anything, that response shows the non-informed, willy-nilly nature of HRC's campaign..and potential future administration. The "close race" claim has pretty much become a way to soften the repeated blows to HRC's campaign. Any seasoned boxer would have long since stayed on the canvas...The Super's are now making their choice clear, OBAMA 2008!

    April 18, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. Alex H

    I've said it from the beginning, nationalized health care is the best for our country but it's not possible, not in one step. You want to go from completely privatized coverage to completely nationalized coverage, you're either lying or you're stupid. You do it in phases or steps and progress towards it, ween out of privatized coverage. It's just as stupid as thinking we can cut our military out of Iraq immediately, you just can't do it. I'm glad someone like Reich has come out and said it.

    April 18, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. mongoose1

    Kind of amazing to see this when you read how he's slammed Hillary in his blog.

    April 18, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Jonathan


    April 18, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Maggie

    People like you should never have friends. You do not know how to be loyal but I suppose you don't know any better. I hope when Hillary wins you don't try to congratulate her because if I was her I would spit in your face. That's all people like you deserve to get. I would imagine you would do the same thing to your mother. Backstabber!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hillary, you do not need people like him or Richardson because you are going to win anyway.

    April 18, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. P

    you obama supporters are so funny: you spew some of the worst hatred I've ever seen to Hillary and her circle but rejoice when someone leave her circle and switches to obama...also, have you ever considered they might just be opportunists who woul jump from obama's ship as soon as things get a little hairy?...is this really something to be happy about? where is the Change?

    April 18, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. Santiago

    More power to the Obama campaign, lets keep the endorsements coming, we must work hard to get Barack elected

    April 18, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. Vince Los Angeles, CA

    Susan MO April 18th, 2008 2:49 pm ET

    This does not matter.

    Obama has already hurt himself with his critical remarks to the people of Pennsylvania.

    Susan...sadly...this comment from you is HIGHLY misinformed and incorrect.....as a matter of fact...it sounds extremely BITTER.....

    Please don't support another Bush term......please support Barack Obama.

    April 18, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. scbrown81



    IN THE 33 PARAGRAPH http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-070325obama-youth-story,1,7937142,full.story



    April 18, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. R

    his health care will be "successful" because he's NOT going to cover everyone

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

    He may not be a Super D, but OUCH...That's gotta hurt!!!!

    OBAMA 2008!!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  18. dbacchus

    While a few insane clintomaniacs are surely welcome to "start their own party", I am positive that all the true Democracts, who don't wont another 4 years of McSame, will support the democratic nominee – Barack Obama. We will win in November!

    April 18, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. Salim, Silver Spring MD

    Thank you for joining the wining team...


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

    To those that rush to say : this does not matter – Yes it does.

    He says he decided to do this based on Obama's honesty, better planned direction for the country, and his ability to bring left and right together. What about that makes him a lesser cannidate? Look past your personal bias and just admit to the fact that even though he is new to the scene – Obama is still the stronger force for the job he is about to undertake.

    We are about to enter a new great era for America, and Robert Reich can see the writing on the wall. It's about time.

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

    I agree with: voters would have a choice "between someone who talks the talk, and somebody who's walked the walk." There's no question Osama can "talk the talk", but that's as far as it goes. I'm afraid that's all you're going to get...just talk. The first real questions were asked of Obama by Charlie during the latest debate, and Barack came unglued. This man will not make a good president, and this country is in no shape to give him a full term of on the job training.

    April 18, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. judging by the first few hillary comments, her supporters can't spell

    The remedial hillary supporters need to give up now. She's lost.

    April 18, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. Apaul

    God forbid a person put the well being of this nation before friendship huh Karen?

    April 18, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Mary - PA

    Wow, Clinton supporters, why is everyone who supports Obama irrelevant or a traitor? Sour grapes maybe? You know, I've seen this alot, Hillary supporters are every bit as miserable as she is. I've seen some that are not but for the most part they are.

    YES WE CAN!!!!!

    Obama '08!

    April 18, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. moses

    Next Tuesday, Obama and his team will be huddling with the Left Liberal side of the DEM party crying their heart out. Reich will be among them.

    April 18, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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