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. Kris from AZ

    Now this speaks volumes when another former Clinton aid is backing Obama. There is a reason for this. Friendship has little to do with a person who believes somthing to be right. UNITE 2008

    April 18, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. i love how every HRC supporter

    that doesnt support her is either a "traitor" or "doesnt matter"

    please, this is someone who served in bills cabinet and knows the clintons for YEARS! yet he endorses obama....that means a lot, and he isnt the 1st HRC friend to support Obama

    they know whats up

    April 18, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. Jim B

    I heard that Bill Clinton is thinking of endorsing Barack before Tuesday.

    April 18, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. Sandy in OK

    Obama makes one comment about people being bitter–and some are, including me–and everyone starts screaming. Hillary LIES BLATANTLY and REPEATEDLY–and nobody's upset????? Does this make sense?


    I would FAR rather have someone in the White House who doesn't LIE–I've had enough LIES from Bush to last me forever!!!


    April 18, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    you are quiet adept at tricking the public into reading what you want us to see and believe first on your ticker....on the home page you entitle the link as "obaba, 'recklessly dishonest'." Then when viewers click on the site, up pops a positive story on Obaba, the endorsement of Reich! A reader has to scroll down to get to the McCain story on "recklessly dishonest." This is an interesting way for CNN to continue its unbashedly, yet never admitted, commitment to Senator Obama. CNN has pursued this course of endorsement since even before the South Carolina campaign.

    For decades I have enjoyed and trusted CNN. But your credibility has taken a nose dive in the past weeks. You say "keeping them honest." Someone(s) now, regrettably, need to keep you honest.

    And, no, I am not a Senator Clinton supporter. I am a regisitered Republican since I first voted. But I have voted Democratic for the past 16 years for president.

    April 18, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. William Jones

    The respect and intelligence that Dr. Reich bring to the Obama camp is certainly a real blessing...Dr. Reich carries an insight and candor that crosses all parties and values....

    April 18, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. John

    He has worked and known the Clintons for over 30 years, but would rather vote for someone else. Hillary supporters have known her for less but they will jump in front of a bullet for her...What does this tell you?

    April 18, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Scott C

    You are guarenteed to see people call him a traitor...

    As if people shouldn't decide for themselves who to back, they should back the person they owe favors to. Isn't this the kind of politics both candidates say they want to get rid of. You scratch my back i'll scratch yours.

    He is free to back who he wants... and I think the head of the DoL in times of economic bliss is going to do good things for Obama.

    Clinton is toast.

    April 18, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. jason

    Robin-oma will take from the white and give to the black!! If elect this elitist liar will give us even more problems.

    April 18, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. Anna

    I believe one strong reason that supers and others don't come out endorsing Obama is because of the fear factor.
    What will the Clintons do to me?
    Will my career be over?
    What kind of nasty stuff will they say about me?
    This is really scary mob style politics that we are seeing by the Clintons.
    The mean spirited things that they and their surrogates say about those that endorse Obama is the most compelling reason for me to not vote for Hillary. This is not President material.

    April 18, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  11. Col.Grinder

    "and is currently a professor at Brandeis University."
    This is a lie. There is a big difference between a speeker and a professor. Get you rederic correct Mr. Reich.

    Obama has done nothing for this country.
    Find something he has done and compare that with the Clintons and you will see he talks the talk but she walks the walk.

    We gotta have change Obama screams at every turn.

    No, Mr. Obama, we need a doer not a talker.

    April 18, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. Joseph, NY, NY

    Reich is jealous, are we sure he’s a long time friend or long time enemy pretending to be a friend.

    April 18, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. DEE in fla

    Keep them Comingg

    Isnt this like 5 or 6 in one day

    Lets go OBAMA

    OBAMA 08

    April 18, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  14. Kimberly in Texas

    Quote – "Obama also presents the best chance of creating a new politics in which citizens become active participants rather than cynical spectators."

    Let's take back our government from the politics of distractions!

    Obama 2008

    April 18, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. PENN4OBAMA!!!

    Thank you Robert, for having the "testicular fortitude" to back Sen. Obama with some moral conviction and resolve.

    Obama all the way!!!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. Peter of Oregon

    Hillary Clinton is too dishonest to be President of the United Sates, and now America knows it.

    Obama '08

    April 18, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. Tim B, KS

    I enjoy reading these comments. Not because they shed light on anything new in regards to politics, but because they all have awful grammar. I think that it is humorous to see the education levels of people who are following the elections.

    April 18, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. craig

    This guy has known them since Yale... think about it. Maybe this guy knows some thing you don't.

    April 18, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. idahosa, Canada

    James Carville aka E.T. should be bleeding through his eyes now. i don't expect hillary to say anything about the importance of the endorsement because she is losing. am sure she will disown Pennsylvania when she loses there also. its always been her trade mark.

    thanks Reich for the support. am happy you made the right decision!!!

    Obama '08

    April 18, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  20. joyce

    to sarah jane in pa
    get a life. you know president obama will be your president to so be good you may have a proublem for him to solve some day. and he will forgive your comments and help you that is how he is and i guess i can forgive you to. how many republicans in this blog acting like a dem? plenty i bet. trying to keep a sour note going get ove it

    April 18, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  21. Vicki in Houston

    Thank you, Mr. Reich!

    Obama is the only one who can bring us together – and get his and Hillary's good ideas IMPLEMENTED – by bringing best minds together from all perspectives.

    I'm on board – and I'm excited.

    America WILL be respected and part of the World community again.

    April 18, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  22. Amy, NY

    Talkin about undecided voters, What does this tell you? A lot of the superdelegates do not want to pronounce themselves because of their close ties with the Clinton. But as soon as this race is over, you'll see people like Al Gore align themselves with Obama simply because they know, in this defining moment of our history, partisanship won't do.

    We need to stand united in order to face the country's main challenges and I'm afraid taking us back to the 90s, with the same old people back in the white House just won't do.
    People need to take a serious look at these endorsements and you will see why some people "take the risk" to endorse Obama. Casey is the perfect example. His endorsement is one of conviction because not only wasn't he courted but his decision came when Obama was 11 points behind! kerry chose to endorse Obama instead of Edwards although they were both running mates! Richardson chose Obama although he served in the Clinton's administration! What does that say?
    THe world already sees Clinton as someone who openly lied about her trip to Bosnia. She already lost her credibility, how do you expect her to restore our image of authentic leader? What if Clinton was president 6 years ago? SHe would have voted for the war and she would have given this country the same legacy as Bush. So if you care for this country, think again.

    April 18, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. dbacchus

    2 "moses" – As a Left Liberal to a freaking right-wing nut: do yourself a favor, go vote McShame. We really DO NOT need losers like you in our party.

    April 18, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. California Girl

    Don't give up Hillary! It ain't over yet.

    April 18, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. Kel from Bham, AL

    "This means nothing! He doesn't know what he's talking about and Hillary will win!"
    ^ Did I get it right, Clinton supporters?

    It's time to unify. Dean has put pressure on the superdels to reveal their endorsements now, and the train is obviously moving in Obama's favor.

    Obama's our man! Go "O"! Obama 08!

    April 18, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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