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. ***AMERICAN***

    Like rats from a sinking ship. It is like the people jumping from the Titanic. interesting.

    April 18, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. FEDUP

    Love the title, Clinton friend Reich endoreses Obama? It is to infer something that was never there. He Endorsed Obama way back, why report it again with a twist?

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

    People, you can not void someone's endorsement that knew the Clintons more than two decades, Lets really get serious "REAL" democrats. We are angry and frustrated that who we want is not the popular one. Reality Obama has proven to be a great influence in the democratic party and not a negative one. Clintons own followers and may I point our former supports are getting tired of the way they are handling this election. See this through clear lenses and not a ruby colored ones and realize if this man has "such" a influence to break ties that go back decades. What kind of President would he be. This nation needs a President that will redevelopment relationships that has been marred and distanced by war and one-sided policy.

    Let give America a break and elect Obama in November.

    April 18, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. Anthony-Minneapolis,MN



    April 18, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. BR

    I don't understand why HRC supporters have to be so acrimonious. Say Obama get's the nomination (which looks like it's heading that way)...You would really want to: a) not vote or b) cast a vote for McCain, and continue the failed bush legacy? Please, please, be reasonable! I'm an Obama supporter, but would vote Hillary in a heartbeat if she gets the nom. I see a lot of comments from HRC supporters saying BO is a whiner..well really, the most whining I see is coming from the other side of the fence, and it's completely unfounded. Should Hillary loose the nomination, there is still an amazing choice in Obama. This is NOT the general election..the loosing candidates' supporters will still be winners! It's win/ win. I think it's wiser to put the animosity aside, and be a responsible voter. You joined the Democratic party for a reason...don't loose sight of the desired end result. Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, YES WE CAN! let's get together Dems!

    April 18, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. Jason in PA

    After 21 debates I believe I know where my vote is going! I'll take the one who answers questions most directly. The one who doesn't resort to mudslinging as a last ditch effort to make a bid for the presidency. Hilary is what's wrong with politics and if she would've spent as much time talking issues instead of trash talking she might still have a chance. Better for us she doesn't!

    April 18, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. Allen, Lubbock, TX

    What is wrong with you people. If your candidate is losing or recieves an endorsement you go of the deep in to denegrate the endorsement or the person! this is crazy! you all claim to want what's best in America, but you only want what you think is best. the system is in place for a reason and according to the system that the DNC has been using (WITH NO COMPLAINTS) for decades Obama is winning. now Clinton supporteers are saying it is not fair.

    this same system elected Clinton in 92 and 96 and it was fair then. Obama got 13 million votes, he can't be that bad if that many people agree with him and his ideas. he is not leading a cult, these voters believe in him, to dinegrate them is silly.

    To dinegrate hillary supporters only serves to push them further away. They love Hillary and want her to be nominee, she deserves our respect.

    Now having said that our enemy is not Obama or Clinton, its John McCain and if we don't come togather NOW, he will benefit and he will win. Is that worth it clinton supporters. You rather go through 4 years of another repub president, than elect a democrat with the same ideas as your candidate?

    even if she runs in 2012, her negatives from this election alone will doom her again! Its not kool-aid! people are inspired by obama and we are not asking you to love him, but we need your support to get to where DEMOCRATS need to be to win!! Let's stop the selfishness and pull together to defeat the conservatives!

    April 18, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. mitch from ark.

    i didn't think the clinton's had any friends.if even your friends won't vote for you ,then it seems like your only supporters are probably republicans,who are afraid to run against obama.

    April 18, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. bdiddy

    former secretary reich then concluded his comments by saying: "we welcome you, the lollipop guild, the lollipop guild, the lollipop guild, we welcome you, the lollipop guildddddd....we hope you enjoy your stay in munchin land!"

    consider me underwhelmed.

    April 18, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. k

    this is deep. i heard this guy actually went on a date with hilary before she met bill. if he is jumping ship, then god bless hilary...\

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

    Seems to me that my own party set themselves up way back when Howard Dean became DNC chairman. Dean was bumped out of the previous race because he looked foolish and ill-equipped. It probably wasn't a fair depiction of him but since that IS the image people have of him....why put him in charge of the DNC?

    April 18, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  12. Bitter Allen Hussein, Visalia CA

    It is amusing reading the whining of all the "bitter" Billary sock puppets on this blog. Face facts, Billary is circling the drain. The United States fought the British over the idea of a Royal Family some 232 years ago, therefore Billary would have to earn the White House, not have it handed to her.

    Meanwhile, despite running the Democratic Party since 1992, Billary has been getting punked at her own game using her own rules. Now all she can do is throw mud. Funny thing is, the ones that know her best are now backing the other guy.

    April 18, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. solar

    Ouch! That's gotta hurt...

    April 18, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. Fabienne

    The Clinton say that people should vote their conscience, Here is one that just did. Now what???
    Obama 08!!!

    April 18, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. John J.

    Watch out. According to Edwards, Carville hasn't gotten his shots yet.

    April 18, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. Demhypocrisy

    Way to go insiders for disenfranchising the real democrats and creating apathy for the party. Amazing how elite dems, repubs & indeps voting in dem primaries and ignorant youth will thwart the Dem party yet again. The sheep are led to the wolves yet again. Because all the HRC supporters are dems, unlike most Obama supporters, and they would rather deal with MCCAIN than the Obama factor.

    April 18, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. Oleg, CA

    Cool, it is time to chose between loyalty to royal family (Bush or Clinton) and loyalty to the country. He should have mentioned Iraq war as well.

    Obama 2008

    April 18, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Thank you Robert Reich, thank you. For those decided and undecided democrats who may not know that much about Robert Reich, please do some research on him and you will fully understand why he knows Obama is the best for the nominee and president. Robert Reich has been "in touch" with America in his writings and speeches for many years.

    April 18, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. Dani

    Being that Obama and Clinton have little differences in their approaches to "fixing" things, I don't think this guy is sharing honestly his opinion on why he won't vote for Clinton. He is intimidated by women.

    April 18, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. Debate watcher

    Clinton has already hurt herself with her critical remarks about Obama to the people of PA.

    Another debate would be superfluous – we have become quite familiar with Clinton's debate style and Obama' s hopes for the country.

    Obama has gained my vote and many others as we get to know of his integrity and of Clinton's attack mode.

    It is good to see so many endorsements after the attacks. We have Clinton to thank for that.

    April 18, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. Patrick, St. Louis


    At what point will the overwhelming amount of supporters and superdelegates matter to you? Since Feb. 5, Obama has received 80 superdelegates to Clinton's 5, yet this is inconsequential in your eyes. At what point will you say "There's no way she can win." When Hillary drags the Primary well into May knowing she needs 75% of the vote in Oregon and Kentucky, will it matter then? How about when she is mathematically eliminated? Will it matter then?

    April 18, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  22. Connie

    Thank you, Mr. Reich! There's nothing more telling than a long-time friend of the Clintons endorsing Barack!

    OBAMA '08 and '12

    April 18, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  23. Reggie

    Instead of looking at it negatively some of your morons should take it as people who have known the Clintons since their college days are basically washing their hands of her and her gutter politics to endorse Obama, I mean cmon, do you need an etch n sketch to figure it out. HRC is cancer right now, and unless more of these Superdelegates don't distance themselves away from her, her potency to destroy will infect them as well.

    It speaks more about her character in general than it does about any Obama flaw. Any flaws Obama has the Republicans will find them and gladly point them out but what Hillary is doing is clearly trying to go down fighting as dirty as she needs to and she is gonna take the Democratic Party down with her if they let her. It's time to use common sense and jump off the HRC Titanic before she sinks everyone including new voters who were thrilled about getting into the political process who now only see the bloodsport that turned people off of it from the get go.

    So I guess Sam Nunn and David Boren officially endorsing Obama today also means nothing. What has to happen for people to get it? Will Vernon Jordan have to say enough is enough and endorse Obama for it to hit to heart with her? Will people in Arkansas have to formally turn their back to her and her brand of politics for it to sink in? Or does Pennsylvania have to be the one place to show her the exit door? She may win PA but she is not gonna win it by more than 10%, that much is guaranteed and she is not gonna earn enough delegates of anything to put a dent in Obama's lead cuz he is gonna annihillate her in Philadelphia Mr Nutter aside. Her gutter politics have turned her own consituents off. Like I said before, Clinton is sealing her own fate and Obama doesn't have to do anything but stay consistent and positive. She's already lost North Carolina and Indiana may be the stake that finally kills Dracula.

    April 18, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  24. Allen, Lubbock, TX

    moses hillary was supposed to win PA remember: i think she said a blow out. so, Obama and his supporters are expecting a lost. However, that won't cahnage the game. She still will be behind in EVERY MAJOR CATEGORY.


    April 18, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. Jason-NY

    It only takes a little contest called "Race to the Whitehouse" to find out who Hillary's friends really are...

    Hillary 08

    April 18, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
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