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. David

    First of all, sir, the GOP is supposed to be fiscally conservative themselves but it goes to show you how the neo-con movement has taken it over so it no longer resembles itself anymore. Secondly, your party has held a majority in the Congress and has passed much of the legislation that is part of the current problem. Both parties share enormous blame in all of this. And the two party scam continues to prey upon the sheep.

    February 16, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. rob

    Here he goes again, telling half truths and re-writing history. Let history be the judge of both his and Bush's presidencies, that won't happen with anything close to truth and reality for decades.

    Clinton's won't be judged as good as we hear now and Bush's won;t be judged as badly as the MSM and the others like the Democrat party would have us believe now.

    February 16, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. sg

    Blah Blah Blah – Can't you find some children to burn? How's Monica doing? Threw her under the bus when you got caught. And I bet it was her fault – Right? You were an embarrassment as a prez. Now go away!

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


    February 16, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. jaye

    That the republicans even suggest Bill Clinton had anything to do with the faulty mortgage mess is hysterical.
    The republicans run our country through the ground. Period!
    And they want to make themselves look innocent knowing good and well they and their republican president aided and abetted this economic mess.
    The republicans are pathethic-and everybody knows it (except for their sheep).

    February 16, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. Independent

    What does Bill have to say about Pelosi's old memo telling the Dems in congress to "just say no" to everything Bush did? Obstructionist? Takes two to tango?

    Who cares what this perjuring doofus has to say. It was his administration that first deregulated banks, his administration that started propping up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and his administration that reduced interest rates so low that money was being given away and banks started lending to everyone with a heartbeat just to stay afloat.

    Fact is – there is bipartisan opposition to the porkulus bill, but only partisan support for it. Partisan politics is only being played out on the side of those who want to further indebt our country with 1 time handout payments and extremely wasteful spending for golf carts, global warming research, bird flu studies, and sod for the national mall.

    Go eat another Big Mac Bubba, you're not relevant anymore.

    February 16, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. A republican that will be voting Democrat in 2010

    I agree with Bill Clinton, the Republicians will continue to fight Obama and the current polices because they have no solution. However, as 2010 elections approach, they will try to get on board. It will be too little too late, because their opposition will already be in the books. A hungry, jobless individual has no party loyalty.

    I think 2010 will see more republicans voting for democrats than ever before. I hope that the stimulas plan works and generates the economy. I would much rather have a government that is trying to resolve the economy, than one that talks about what is being done wrong, without offering a real solution. They know that eight years of tax cuts did not work, yet that is all that I am hearing from them. Come up with a viable solution and I will listen.

    February 16, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  8. Kevin in Ohio

    Unified opposition...absolutely! This thing is NOT a stimulus package, its a Christmas present for every liberal out there that ca now flex their muscles. Don't ask Republicans to be like you, Mr.Clinton..... we stand by our principles...we don't go whichever way the wind blows like you did.

    February 16, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. Critical Thinker

    OK – Can someone provide one alternative idea from the republican party besides the trickle down/tax cut combo? Just one idea that was not applied and apparently failed? Providing tax cuts to the rich so they can spend more money on business lunches/dinners or resorts does NOTHING for those who do not work at restaurants or in the hotel industry. Why can't politicians accept the fact that just as times changes, so does the need for certain solutions? Tylenol may work for a headache but can't fix a broken leg. Tax cuts can't fix everything- it's not a partisan comment, it's reality.

    While you're at it, can you also explain how off-shoring helps decrease the unemployment rate? For example, how do you explain to a person that they need to forget their MBA and take a course at their local community college to pick up a trade (isn't this what McCain alluded to in his campaign?)?~TIA

    February 16, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. Nancy in TN

    I totally agree with Bill Clinton. He left office with a government surplus that the Republicans quickly spent and then kept accumulating debt while they allowed the culture of corporate greed to bankrupt the country. Now, the sour grapes Republicans say they have not been included in any bipartisan way-Excuse me but can John McCain explain what bi-partisan means to him. I'm sure that the Republicans treated every bill/issue that came their way in the past eight years as "bi-partisan". Yeah, Right ! Obama has made more overtures to the GOP in his first weeks in office than Bush/Cheney did during their term. As far as I'm concerned, and until proven otherwise by real dialogue and participation, the GOP definition of bipartisan is "or way or the highway". I think that Obama is doing exactly what he should be doing-extending a hand but as Bill Clinton said-it's a two way street!!!

    February 16, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Chris from NY

    CNN, You cut out my commentson Shocks the REp from Illinois but I will keep putting it up until some decides to run it.

    It seems like CNN can no longer afford investigative reporters. I am still waiting to hear someone from CNN say that the Republican proposal during the discussion of the bill that just passed was 2.5trillion dollars in tax cuts. For John McCain and this guy to claim with a straight face generational theft after he supported such a measure is not only hypocritical, it's outright stupidity. After they gave away 1.3 trillion dollars in tax cuts in 2001 and then advocate for another 2.5 trillion in another tax cuts is armed robbery in disguise.

    February 16, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Judy Fraser

    The more the Republicans chatter on, the more ridiculous they sound. I haven't heard one viable solution to the mess were in except tax cuts. I think they are totally out of touch with mainstream America.

    February 16, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Kevin in Ohio

    Dutch in Hampton Roads...Clinton did NOT give us a surplus. It would have been far from it if the Republicans had not worked so hard to defeat Hilary-Care in '93. Only when the Republicans got control of Congress was there any fiscal responsibilty whatsoever..... and that is the rerason for the surplus back then, not Cinton. Clinton was a master politician however, and has all of you snowed that it was him.

    February 16, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. rob

    He's been in office less than a month and they already say he's starting off badly, that is beyond me. It takes money to create jobs and correct everything, hence the word stimulus. Even pork spending is necessary, getting projects going will put people back to work. My God, quit thinking about your 6 figure wallet and vote so the person who's trying to figure out how to feed the kids can get some work.

    February 16, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. boered1

    I HATE agreeing with this philandering lying man but in this case he is CORRECT. Political pressure will drive the republicans to support more and more of Obama's policies IF the stimulus starts to have effect in the next six to nine months and if the liar hilalry can be kept from saying anything too stupid while in the far east. All that being said right now the Republicans HAVE to speak out against Presidnet Obama, they cannot define themselves any differently and still be a major player. If he is wrong they win next election cycle if he is right they can claim they strood by their beliefs consistancy in adversity etc. They can then find "new" core beliefs and tout those, admit they made a mistake but then take some credit (they did add tax cuts to the bill) for the stimulus, and finally complain about President Obama being a socialist and that they will ensure "freedom" is restored to companies.

    February 16, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Moody

    Bill Clinton telling it like it is. Its nice to have a intelligent person like that in the White House again. Its going to take a few years but we will rise from the ashes of the republicans once again.

    February 16, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. Cleaning up after W

    Bubba at his best. Welcome back to the winning team, Bill.

    February 16, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. daleesp

    Great commentary by President Clinton.

    Bush and some of the bush league Republican followers (not all Republicans fall into this category) are sad and will do anything to ruin our country. Many of them run around with flags draped over their shoulders and cry and whine about anything not Republican. Too bad...you can always leave if you don't like American!

    February 16, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. russell from baltimore


    February 16, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. Christine

    Yup, Dems lie nothing done....Reps lie all hell brakes loose.

    February 16, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. Willy Brown

    Dream on Slick Willy!

    February 16, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. yuri

    For an impartial observer, Clinton's arguement about the GOPs knee jerk response to the stimulus plan would seem, quite likely, a plausible one, because a lot of points seem to corroborate that.

    Now, that Bush the "W" has been ranked 36th overall by the historians' early verdict, the GOP virtually has no case in point. Recent Bush's economic and foreign policies received sound beating to the worst ranking, the GOP will do well not to be sullen and a bit more thoughtful and pensive.

    February 16, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. Maggie

    What about you. Bush only inherited the mess you made out of things. The liberals, gay, homosexuals supported you big time. the reason they dislike Bush is because he was straight and did not stand for all the filth you stand for and although he hated war, he did not run from it like some people I know. Some people was so afraid they ran from the draft. Bush was confronted by so many warmongers terrorist throwin bg bombs into the picture he did not get much chance to straighten our your massive debt nor would the USA have had the money then nor do we now. Yes the debt increased but already our national debt has increaed astronomical under Obama and he has not been in in office a good month yet. Can you imagine what our next president will inherit?

    February 16, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. southerncousin

    Kinda reminds you of when Dems (Moveon.org) balked at the surge and Bush hung tough. If we had listened to Dems it would have been very bad. Clinton was the worst disaster ever to hit this country. A guy who never had an honest job and still doesn't. Kinda reminds me of our current president. What a self serving hack.

    February 16, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. Between PUMA and Operation Chaos!

    I don't think the GOP will ever work with Obama. This is why I think they will end up breaking up into 2 and perhaps 3 new parties. At this point you have the Governors agains Congress, Rush againt Moderates, Steele acting silly, and nobody trust them to do what they say. Add what Bush has done with spending and growing government I bet the conservative wing of the GOP trys to start their own party. What say you PUMA?

    February 16, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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