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. sherrie50

    There is nothing to LOYALTY anymore. How Sad. Even if you choose to vote for someone else, you should keep it silent. Since Obama is ahead, everyone is joining the bandwagon for appointments on his cabinets and other key positions. I hope none of this comes back to BITE.

    April 18, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. Kathy

    Reich is a smart but overly idealistic man. He projects the high ideals that he has onto others, who only espouse but do not live the ideals ex: Barack Obama
    Reich in his endorsement of Obama , has just exposed his extreme naivete regarding what people portray, and who they truly are.

    April 18, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. Bob Smith

    I can't vote for her because she voted to give W the authority to attack Iraq. She caved in to political pressure and endorsed the murder, missmanagement and mayhem that ensued. She is an insider who helped to destroy our country.

    April 18, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. Ray


    " I have to say some of the reaction from Obama's supporters has that arrogant, cult of personality quality to it, as if questioning Obama on these matters is simply beyond the bounds of decency. Take the Sun-Times" (gives examples)


    April 18, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. Sharon

    The country is in a turmoil right now because of Bush. We didn't listen when we were told to get out of the BUSHES. And we are still not listeneing when we are told that the CLINTON'S will do anything to win.

    Obama is our only hope for A NEW DAY. O

    April 18, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. Solomon

    Way to go Mr. Reich.

    April 18, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. fred

    Obama NO YOU CAN"T!!


    IF NOT McCain!!

    April 18, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Joe

    Who cares? He is not a superdelegate so it is meaningless. Richardson is a superdelegate.

    April 18, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Travis in Canada

    Some people are finding the reality that the Clintons will do anything to get back in the Whitehouse...take his advice and open your eyes to actually see who's taking the Columbian money and laughing at us...sorry Billary....you've wasted your supporters money...maybe in 8 years.....God you'll be 69....shame.

    April 18, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Detroit53

    Senator McCain,
    I salute your service, your toughness under the most trying circumstances, and acknowledge your qualifications as CINC. You are one Rep I could vote for if I could stomach the party of Rush Ann C K Rove et al. You're wrong on the war and you couldn't beat GWB when it counted. Hillary's just as tough and Barack will shake it up.

    April 18, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Sue in CT

    How can Hillary, as intelligent and "experienced" as she is, not see the writing on the White House wall? Or does she need new contact lenses?


    April 18, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Susan MO

    To all you Hillary Supporters out there...


    IT'S OVER, BABE....

    OBAMA 08

    April 18, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. sandy

    I have just decided that I am going to vote for Obama also. With all this player hating going on this guy must be doing something good. Every time I turn on to fox or Lou Dobbs, all I can hear is criticism against Obama and I know from experience people don't talk about you unless you are worth something. I have monitored this campaign season and all I can hear from the Clintons is criticism. This is really the man to beat and I am going to help make this historical event happen. He is going to be our next president. Why isn't the republicans worried about Hillary Clinton? that's because they don't feel threaten by her. This guy will beat John McCain. And Hillary is only worried because she knows he can beat her and John McCain and that he and not her will be the next president.

    April 18, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. ROLLY LA


    April 18, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. Baby Girl

    Bill catch Hillary before she do a 3:am call. People are voting for a change from the Clinton's trend.

    April 18, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. TF


    Yes we Can!!

    April 18, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. stacy

    how disappointing, no loyalty here from this man.

    April 18, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. Anne Marie nyc

    Big deal, it's obviously a cabinet play and not a policy distinction he's making which completely shreds any credibility. If anyone knows Hillary since law school like he does, he would never be so transparently grabbing for an inside post - I also dont recall him turning down a seat in Clinton's cabinet.

    I expect politicians to be craven but not so called academics.

    Give me Madeline Albright and Robert Rubin in Hillary's corner anyday! Also former Clinton cabinet members whose integrity and stature dwarf Reich–and no that was not a pun but a fact.

    April 18, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. Larry Thomas

    Very interesting ... It appears as though the people who are in a position to best know the Clintons are making 'choices of conscience to back Senator Obama'. That speaks more volumes than all of the campaign speeches, polls and rhetoric...

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

    Hillary should have ran, as a Democrat. Her and Bill were used, right from the start it seems. Now she needs to salvage whatever she can put together, and get the Hell out of there.. Don't help them anymore. Take what you can Girl, and Blow.. Let that ship SinK.. Don't go down with them...

    April 18, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. ree for hillary

    His going for Obama means nothing to me. I already made up my mine and I'm not changing it.

    I am going for experience not someone who just talks. Obama reminds me of Bush seven years ago. He was all talk and we all know what that got us. Obama will be more of the same. He is going to divide this country and not bring it together.

    April 18, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Jake, California

    Hillary needs to go away with her supporters, they don't make a lot of sense and they are making me shy and annoyed that we can have people like them in America after all the money we spend on education.

    So anyone that worked in the Clinton Administration should vote for Hillary. Is this how you understand the phrase 'freedom of choice'?
    Don't you know that America is a 'land of the free' and 'home of the brave'

    Nobody owes anything to the Clintons...In fact those who worked with the Clintons and are now supporting Barack are the ones that truely love America....not the Clintons...or their supportors.

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

    Endorsements come marching in hurrah hurrah
    The supers have already made up their mind, they are just trying to make it "easy" on Clinton, giving this thing a chance to wind down...they know more than they let on....

    April 18, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. Stop Hillary

    The reason behind the endorsement: People have enough of "Name Calling" from Hillary Clinton. Her negative campaign is helping the Neo-con. If she really cares about the progress for the country, she will stop the attack.

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

    Call I can say is........

    "YES WE CAN"!!!!!!!

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