June 4th, 2012
09:11 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton, Obama pounce on GOP policies at fundraisers

(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama tag-teamed in their criticism of Republicans on Monday night, taking swipes at the GOP and its presidential nominee in a round of New York City fundraisers.

"What the other side is counting on is fear and frustration," Obama said to an audience of donors, arguing that Republicans are not offering any ideas of their own.

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"All they're offering is the same old ideas that didn't work then, and won't work now," he added.

His comments came at an event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, featuring a performance by musician Jon Bon Jovi. Tickets started at $2,500 for the 500 guests.

Saying he was more determined than he was in his 2008 presidential run, Obama faulted his Republican rivals for their economic policies, saying the party is too eager to throw "sand in the gears" in Congress and would "take us back to the exact same policies that got us into this mess in the first place."

Clinton's remarks earlier in the evening shared those sentiments. Speaking on the same stage, Clinton blasted Mitt Romney for pushing policies that favor large spending cuts over tax increases, saying the presumptive GOP nominee's plan harkens back to policies from President George W. Bush's administration - "except on steroids."

At a different fundraising event earlier in the night, Clinton took his comments further, saying a win for the Republican in November would be "calamitous for our country and the world."

Clinton's speech came just days after he sparked a backlash among Democrats for complimenting Romney's "sterling" private equity career.

On Friday, the former president said on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" that Romney "crosses the qualification threshold" with his background in business and public service as Massachusetts governor, comments that fell out of line with Democratic messaging.

But on Monday, Clinton said Romney and Republicans are pursuing an economic agenda that would lead the country to the conditions now faced by Europe.

"(Republicans') economic policy is austerity and unemployment now, and then a long-term budget that would explode the debt when the economy recovers so the interest rates would be so high, nobody would be able to do anything," Clinton said, according to pool notes from a print reporter in the room.

Obama, unlike Republicans, would promote job creation and long-term budget restraint, Clinton said.
"The politics is wrong on the Republican side, the economics are crazy," the former president added.

The event was held at the Manhattan home of Marc Lasry, billionaire founder of Avenue Capital Group, a hedge fund. Between 40 and 50 people attended, with tickets at $40,000 each, according to a campaign official.

Offering some praise for Obama, Clinton said the president "has good politics, he's got a good record, he's made the best of a very challenging situation" and "deserves to be re-elected."

Later in the evening, at the Waldorf, Clinton boosted his praise of Obama, saying: "It is essential to re-elect the president if we want this country to have the kind of future that our children and grandchildren deserve."

In his own remarks, Obama credited the former president with leading a strong economy in the '90s, arguing the country fared well under Clinton because he "understood what it takes for this economy."

"Nobody has a better grasp and understanding of the issues than this man," Obama said.

The president also weighed in on what he sees as a drastic change in the Republican Party over the years in terms of economic policy.

"They have run from a preference for market-based solutions to an absolutism when it comes to the marketplace. A belief that all regulations are bad. That government has no role to play," Obama said.

Later, the presidential pair made a third fundraising appearance in New York on Monday night. They attended a concert at The New Amsterdam Theater for an audience of 1,700 people.

While the president mostly repeated earlier comments from the night, he slipped up at one point, referring to Mitt Romney as "George Romney," Mitt's late father who served as Michigan governor and made a presidential bid in 1968.

"Wrong guy," Obama said to a laughing audience.

Among the guests slated to perform at the event were Neil Patrick Harris, Meagn Hilty, Cheyenne Jackson, James Earl Jones, Tony Kushner, Angela Lansbury, Patti LuPone, and Jeffrey Wright. Tickets for the event started at $250 per person.

Three contest winners and their guests were also in attendance at the gala and concert and were set to meet privately with Obama and Clinton.

Proceeds from Monday's events benefit the Obama Victory fund, a joint fundraising committee of Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Also see:

Poll: Romney's favorable rating jumps, but Obama still more popular

Romney backer offers soft Obama praise

Barrett on a presidential visit: Obama's busy

Filed under: 2012 • Bill Clinton • Fundraising • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. TeamChaos

    He is in so much trouble he has to have a former presidents help... grasping at straws the rats are on a sinking ship and this is a last ditch effort.

    June 5, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Even Bill Clinton has trouble lieing to the American people with a straight face when it comes to Obama. The truth sneaks out like it did in that interview. Bill Clinton threatens his own reputation by these actions. What he is doing is not in the best interest of himself, Hillary and the country. Obama played the race card on him and will throw him under the bus in a second if it means getting re-elected. Bill Clinton forgets he is dealing with a snake and needs to let the snake pedal his own snake oil to the American people.

    June 5, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. Wake up people

    Please believe President Obama is NOT the desperate one, that would be Mittens, who knows that most are NOT voting for him but against President Obama. Past Presidents campaign all the time.....speaking of where's shrub?? In hiding, hoping people forget the screwing he gave the country.

    OBAMA 2012!

    June 5, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. Malory Archer

    TeamChaos, because no other President in all of America's history has EVER had a former President act as a cheerleader, right? President Obama is the FIRST President in America's 213 year history to EVER do that, right. When I'm finished laughing at you, I'll pity you. But I have to finish laughing first!

    June 5, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. samieb51

    Clinton - I remember in the 90's how the GOP hated him! My boss listened to Rush religiously and despised Clinton. However, every Friday afternoon he met with his broker to go over all his weekly winnings, I mean earnings. When Clinton came in office the Dow was around 2500-3000 and when he left it was over 8,000. Bush took it up to 14K but alas, when he left office it was at 7800 points. We remember that don't we? I frequently wondered how my old boss liked Bush since he lost his shirt on him. Since he wsa Repulican, I'm sure he loved him!! And longed for those good old Clinton days when the goose hung high.

    June 5, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    In 2010 some criticized President Obama for following through on the Healthcare Legislation, arguing that he should be focusing on the economy instead. A year ago when President Obama met with Israeli and Palestine Prime Ministers in Washington and talked about why this may be the last chance in a very long time to broker a peace accord, CNN's David Gergen argued that he thought the President should be focusing on jobs instead! However, I wonder WHY the critics aren't criticizing the President for spending half of his tenure on Iraq and his entire tenure on Afghan? You know that illegitimate Iraqi war the GOP are responsible for and that abandoned and prolonged Afghan war? Yea, precisely!

    So if we're going to rightfully judge, evaluate and scrutinize President Obama's handling of the economy, shouldn't the American people also take into consideration that the President inherited the economic crisis from the GOP? Two, shouldn't the American people take into consideration that the President is not in a position to focus on the economy 100% because 50% of his agenda involved dealing with two deadly and costly wars the GOP left undone? Third, Shouldn't the American people also take into consideration that laws don't become laws unil both chambers of congress get with the program? Fourth, shouldn't the American people also take into consideration that domestic progress has been affected significantly by a rightwing leadership who said from day one that they wanted the President and the country to fail?

    Let's face it, real Americans will remember this come election day and President Obama will be easily re-elected. Obama/Biden 2012 by a landslide!

    June 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. thats funny right there

    obama is the lesser of the two evils, plus if the party of no, I mean the gop would spend more time working with the democrats, instead of underminding everything they try this country might be a little bit better off.

    June 5, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    Reversed Class Warfare is when the rich gets tax breaks and the middle class and the poor have to make sacrifices and carry the load while very important social programs are cut and employees are forced to accept early retirements, furlough days without pay, are denied promotions and deprieved of pay raises they've earned or having to contribute a portion of their salaries to their pensions because states have voluntarily put themselves in a dilemma of balancing their budgets on the backs of the middle class and the poor as they lost revenue when they refused to tax businesses and the rich. Let's face it, the middle class and the poor has made painful sacrifices and done their part but the rich is yet to plain their part! Hey, that is called REVERSED CLASS WARFARE!

    June 5, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Malory Archer
    TeamChaos, because no other President in all of America's history has EVER had a former President act as a cheerleader, right? President Obama is the FIRST President in America's 213 year history to EVER do that, right. When I'm finished laughing at you, I'll pity you. But I have to finish laughing first!
    So you should have absolutely no trouble in naming them.... Let's hear them. I'll even settle for one or two. Good luck.

    June 5, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    At his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama introduced the 447 billion American Jobs Act, designed to put Americans back to work and boost the economy right away. This bill called for an extension of the current payroll tax cut, an extension of jobless benefits, new tax credit for businesses that hire long-term unemployed, funding for infrastructure jobs and additional money to help save and create jobs for teachers and first responders such as firefighters. However, the GOP immediately opposed a measure that would have funded this bill through a 5.6% surtax on annual incomes over $1 million, accusing the Obama administration of "class warfare." Well, forcing the middle class and the poor to pick up the tab for a crisis the wealthy created is called REVERSED CLASS WARFARE.

    And what is so sad about the GOP's opposition to this jobs bill is that independent economists have pointed out that this bill would have added 1.9 million jobs and boost gross domestic product by 2 percentage points! SHAHE SHAME SHEME on the GOP and the Te Party!

    June 5, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Here's the grand hypocrisy about "trckle down economics" that no one seems able to see.

    1. Trickle Down Theory says job creators will use their wealth to create middle class jobs, and spread their wealth.
    2. Conservatives justify their demands for lower taxes because it is their money, and they want to keep it.

    Those two concepts are mutually exclusive. A Scrooge is not a benevolent, job creator.

    June 5, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Marcus

    Have you guys realized that some of those who wants to bash the POTUS and his policies while quoting cherrypicked data or just plain old lies from the GOP use pen-names with words like 'Truth' or 'Real' or the likes?
    As if it gave them one ounce of credibility more...
    Fact: Yes there was a 'prosperity' for a while during the GWB terms... then the bubble on which this 'prosperity' was based burst and millions lost their jobs, Dow Jones went to circa 6K to 7K and 'suddenly' the Congress realized that THEY HAD NEVER PUT THE TWO WARS (Iraq and Afghanistan) on the books!
    Obama is doing his best to bring back the jobs (please don't talk about the 'bills' the GOP put on the table claiming that they are job-creating ones), Dow Jones has been almost back to its pre-Crisis levels and one war is over and the other is going... going... gone (soon) and BOTH are finally accounted and registered in the books (which added TRILLIONS, that GWB managed to ignore but not erase, to the debt)!

    June 5, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. SMJ

    This Republican is voting for President Obama...AGAIN!

    June 5, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. Bren

    Go and look at the new Gallup poll that was just released. Romney leads among middle and higher income voters (all voters who make $35,000 or more). Obama only leads among low-income voters!! And, soon, even some of these lower income voters will begin to see the light. I am quite sure there are many in the lower-income brackets would rather have jobs, then welfare and foodstamps!!

    June 5, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. Malory Archer

    BendOver, Papa smirk (the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue's daddy) & deadeye dick (the real president from January 2001 – January 2009) come instantly to mind. They're not be on the campaign trail as much as President Clinton because of health issues, but if that were not the case, they'd be right there. You're just jealous because the one physically healthy former repug president is unable to shill due to the fact that too many Americans are still reeling from the damage he did.

    June 5, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. Sue

    The new Gallup poll that was just released today shows that Romney is leading Obama with voters from all income brackets ($35,000 and higher) and with all white voters from all income brackets. Obama only leads over Romney with the lower income brackets and minority voters. However, if Romney and the superpacs keep running ads in all of the swing states about the "real" Obama and what his policies have done to our economy/country--even some of these voters will begin to wake up. The majority of voters want independence, jobs, self worth, and the ability to succeed-not welfare and foodstamps!!

    June 5, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Bob

    Remember when the Democrats pulled back on a legitimate war to invade another country...without allocating funds to pay for it? Remember when they lowered our credit rating, just to make the administration fail? Remember them "waterboarding" POW's and denying that it was torture....voting for cost of living raises for themselves, while cutting COLA for middle class workers? Yeah, me neither.

    June 5, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney never tells the whole truth about anything. His recent ad regarding Hispanic unemployment rate is very inaccurate because he's including Hispanics who have left the country. Please Hispanics, make him tell the truth about you as a people because he also feels you don't pay taxes and that's a big lie.

    June 5, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. Sue

    Bob: You must not have seen all of the information about Obama's drone attacks in the Middle East. It seems that the drones are killing anyone/everyone in site, if they are over 14 years old and in known terrorist areas-even if there is no "proof" that they are terrorists or helping the terrorists (in other words, kids as well). This is an "inconvenient truth" that the MSM, including CNN, is trying to keep a *whisper* "secret". Go and do some research on this....It is unbelievable that the MSM is giving Obama a free pass on this!! I guess that in the eyes of the Obama-supporting MSM--any/all killing is okay, as long as Obama is giving the authorization to do so.

    June 5, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. Sue

    Obama has Clinton campaigning for him because......If you look at the new Gallup poll that was released today, Romney has the majority of support of white voters in ALL income brackets, including lower income brackets. It seems that white voters do not like Obama's continuous playing of the "race" card in regard to all issues. And, if you look at the same Gallup poll-again it is showing that the Independents are going for Romney not Obama by at "least" 8 points!! Therefore, Obama is using Clinton to try to win back some of the white voters and Independents--which will not happen!! These voters realize that it is Obama who is running and will be elected, not Clinton!!

    June 5, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. Nuihc

    I read a lot of posts saying Obama inherited the economic crisis from Bush. Something that makes me go hmmmmmmm....The economy was doing great, DOW up to 1400, housing prices up, gas prices, well more tolerable than they are now, until the democrats took over the congressional purse strings in 2007, then this "recession" started. DOW plummeting, gas prices through the roof, house prices dropping off a cliff. Soooo, explain how Obama inherited the economic crisis from Bush again? Looks to me like Obama's own party did it to him.

    June 5, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
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