February 16th, 2009
11:00 AM ET
11 years ago

Clinton: Political factors will force GOP to cooperate with Obama


Clinton told Roberts GOP critics of Obama were on “automatic”

(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton told CNN Monday President Obama can probably expect about a year of public support for his economic policies, and predicted that the economy would likely recover within two years or less.

“The public, I believe, will support him at least for a year in trying to work these things out,” he told American Morning’s John Roberts. “And he's been very straightforward in saying it might take as much as two years for the economy to really get in gear again. My instinct is it will happen a little quicker than that.”

Clinton tore into Republicans for their unified opposition to Obama’s stimulus legislation: “Those guys [Republicans] are on automatic... you punch a button, and they give you the answer they give you.”

Watch Clinton's criticism of the GOP

“Well, first of all, he has reached across [the aisle], and it takes two to tango,” he said. “I find it amazing that the Republicans who doubled the debt of the country in eight years and produced no new jobs doing it, gave us an economic record that was totally bereft of any productive result are now criticizing him for spending money. You know, I'm a fiscal conservative, I balanced the budget, I ran surpluses. If I were in his position today, I would be doing what he's doing.”

Clinton said political factors would eventually force some Republican lawmakers to support the president’s policies. “Here’s what I think will happen,” said Clinton. “I think that, as we go along, if the American people stick with him and if he begins to have good results, then I think more and more Republicans will cooperate with him because they will see that he's right or because he carried their states or for any number of reasons.”

The former president also defended his record against critics who said government requirements had led to a wave of risky mortgages, saying that community banks that specialized in these kind of loans as opposed to riskier securities were doing well.

Filed under: Bill Clinton
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Jon in CA

    "Forced to Cooperate".... just like Juanita Brodderick, Bill?

    February 16, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Sound_Mind

    These house Republicans are worried about ONE and ONLY ONE thing. They are afraid that support for this package will be used against them in next election and they will face a primary opponent. They don't care about the country or the people.

    The theme we hear that this is a spending bill and not a stimulus. Well, spending creates the demand for goods and services that companies will respond to deliver by promoting economic activities. The problem we are having now is not driven by our economy's ability to produce but our diminished ability to consume. Millions of people who lost their jobs have also lost their spending power. Those who still have jobs are afraid to loose theirs next and cutting expeditures. Companies seeing the declining demand are afraid to make new investments. Those who wants to make investment are not getting loans even the Fed has reduced the interest rate to virtually zero. It's the government who in situation like this can undertake projects that will create jobs, demand for goods & services which in turn will create more jobs. These jobs will generate income and when these income will be spent, it will create more jobs.

    In addition to creating jobs, the US govt can not walk away from all these millions of people and their children just saying "sorry, you are the unfortunate victim of the situation and hope somehow you will survive and don't look to us to do anything for you." A decent society has to give a hand to those who have lost their jobs, income, and livelihood. It's not true that these people like to live on welfare. There are hundreds of thousands of people are on unemployment now but never filed for unepmployment before in theri entire life. If the republican party is a party of millionaires ONLY and they will not have to stand in unemployment line even if lost jobs and hence they are not interested in these components of this bill, then they should say it loud and we will understant. This Bill helps people who need help, create jobs, invest in areas that will be the engine of our economic growth for decades to come when we come out of this situation.

    February 16, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. Maggie

    Obama's trying to get the political parties to work together.

    The Republicans are acting like spoiled kids on the playground. They raided the cookie jar and are now angry that they're hands are getting slapped even though they're the ones who did wrong.

    February 16, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. Lisa M

    I still think that deregulation of the banks and commodity markets is the major cause of the economic problems we now have.

    Now who decided that deregulation is a good thing?

    In a perfect world, perfect things work perfectly.

    This is not a perfect world.

    As for Bill, he did a lot of good things he did some really crappy things.

    I'd say 15 is about where he belongs- high middlin. George Bush is not the worst, but his actions should put him in the lower half of all presidents.

    February 16, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. Laverne

    Nobody knows the republicans tactics better than Bill Clinton. He had to put up with their mess for 8 years. I think President Obama would be wise to take counsel from Bill Clinton, at least when it comes to the White House. One thing Obama said on the campaign trail was that they (republicans) would not concede power easily. They are having a fit right about now, but at the end of the day they still LOSE! The American people are behind you Mr. President. Stay focused!

    February 16, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. Sharon Kitchen

    history will judge.
    bush/cheney wil probably have a criminal sentance.
    Clinton/Gore will be seen as leaving with a surplus in the bank.
    Obama with turning the country back around.

    February 16, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Steve, San Antonio

    Mr. Clinton has a very clear perspective on the political situation, much wiser than the Republican leadership. Clearly their credibility is zero, after running up a spectacular deficit and leaving two nasty unfininshed wars, while also crashing the economy! If they want to sulk in their corner, shame on them. We need all of us to pull together to repair the total disaster of Mr. Bush's years.

    February 16, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. chris

    Excellent anaylsis from the first "black" President 😉

    February 16, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. david

    "billin Clinton is the smartest guy i've ever known"?


    I think I see why this country is headed in the direction it is heading.

    February 16, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Matt

    Why should the GOP cooperate with Obama is they think he is wrong? This stimulus is so huge, that if it fails (which if very easily could), then the GOP will want to be as far from this thing as possible. If this things fails, it will be nothing short of catastrophic for the U.S. economy.

    February 16, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. Karl

    Republicans whine about Obama not being "bipartisan." That's their own fault. They don't know the meaning of compromise. They see the world in black and white. To republicans bipartisan means doing everything their way. We've already had more than enough of that. Go stick your heads in your pillows and cry, Bonner and McCain and the rest. America has already voted.

    February 16, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. nel e bell

    Based upon Pres. Clintons experience, with a similar national economic problems, it gives me a less anxious feeling knowing that he is watching the Obama stimulis (debt ) package. I still would have perferred that Hillary be the President, however thats not the way the media outlets, students and the Left of center of the Democratic Party were driving the bus. I still have no problem saying that if it were not for the Clinton strategy, I would not have gotten a great job after the Bush 41, admin. of downsizings. Love ya Bill

    February 16, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. Elenadia from New york

    Like him or hate him, Bill Clinton still has outstanding political instincts. It was his personal foibles that did him so much harm.

    February 16, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. Be Ameri_cans ... Not Republi_cans

    The GOP proclaimed that it was the party of finacial responsibility.

    8 years of George Bush following 8 years of Bill Clinton gives an ENTIRE GENERATION factual proof of that lie. A large group of adults experienced that 1st hand and they will not soon forget.

    Right now, people are tired of the finger pointing just at a time where the Republicans can't afford to be see as obstructionists, fingerpointers hoping that the President of the United States fails. And yet, the GOP works hard to re-enforce that image every chance it gets.

    If the GOP can beat Obama on intellectual ideas, they've got a shot. If they continue to whine and cry, stomp their feet and try to take the football and go home so that nobody else can play, Americans will crucify them.

    February 16, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. Tylenol666

    8 Years of Failed GOP Policies is why we are all here,, I just have one question for all republicans,, whats your Denial Medication that you take!!! your Party got us in this mess in the first place,, I here Mars is Hiring please Move!!!!

    February 16, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. lotta muni

    Clinton is a sharp cookie. For all of his failings, I voted for him twice and he still ranks as my favorite President in my lifetime, above even JFK (who actually rates very low on my list) He should've been our 1st male first lady.

    February 16, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Jonas

    BILL misses the attention he used to get . He wanted his wife to be
    President, she was rejected by American people. Then Hillary wanted
    to become VP. OBAMA said NO. She finally settled for SOS. These are
    people who wanted OBAMA to lose in the general Election. Tey don't care about the country. All about the CLINTONs !!!!!

    February 16, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. jaye

    The GOP is imploding from the inside out.
    Their fearless leader Limbaugh, and their vast array of talking head nitwits, have pushed the GOP to the outer limits, or better still, the twilight zone.
    Their banding together to obstruct everything President Obama does is making them look pathethic, and, their going on news shows saying how Obama has already failed is completely laughable.
    The GOP is now the SAP.

    February 16, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. Amazing

    Finally, someone with a true observation. This country is in trouble. The fighting needs to stop. Only together can we re-build our country.
    I am truly apalled by the republicans. You would think they would provide help instead of opposition, since they made this mess. But, no they want point fingers, tear down ideas without giving any.

    February 16, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. Charlize

    Clinton: The best economy/respect abroad/per capita well-being in recent history. Bush/Republicans: The worst years in every respect: made the US and the whole world much poorer and unsafe, and raised hate among countries. NO BRAINER: Who should people listen to?

    February 16, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. Chris from STL

    Bill ... you are so funny. I liked when you said ... "You punch a button .... the repubs say the same thing ..." It is so true.

    I heard McCain and a bunch of republicans and their talk show loonies say "generational theft" over and over while talking about the bill ....

    February 16, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. chuck


    February 16, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. Me

    Why do Democrats think surpluses are a good thing? Taking people's money away from them and out of the economy is good why?

    And how is it Bill Clinton, who left W with a recession to pull out of, think he can lecture anybody on the economy? Especially when W pulled it out after Clinton recession, 9/11, and Katrina all sucker punched the economy. People blaming tax cuts for the credit crisis are completely ignorant of how the economy works.

    February 16, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. Franky

    Geez, for crying out loud, who cares about the GOP! I don't care about them. President Bush had already done their work, and quite frankly, I just don't wanna pick on them anymore. President Bush is one of the worst GOP presidents ever, he had a chance to be a legend and guess what? He failed!!! He failed for his pride and most importantly, for the future. He already predicted the future...

    GOP don't have to cooperate. As a matter of fact, I dare them not to. My boy is still gonna holla at them BUT don't blame it on him if the Dems don't wanna hold their bottle...

    February 16, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. Harry, GA

    Bill, you are the one who got us into recession when you left office. These democrats will say we had surplus and they are wrong. You should not think that Republicans wil move away from their fiscal responsibility. You could not do much in your presidency because you were under the watch of Republicans. Whatever was odne at that time, we have to thank Republicans. Not you. Also this time you do not follow Jimmy Carter. You need to remain in the oblivion. Keep your mouth shut. We do not need your advise.

    February 16, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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