Clinton: Election will be 'action forcing event' for Washington
September 23rd, 2012
09:41 AM ET
10 years ago

Clinton: Election will be 'action forcing event' for Washington

(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton believes the presidential election will end a "logjam" in Washington, and usher in years of productivity.

In an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Clinton said there's a need for "an action forcing event."

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During his presidency, it came in the form of government shutdowns, after which "we began to work together and we had five good years working together," he said.

"We really haven't had an action forcing event like that. I believe the election will be that event. I expect the president to win. And I think if he does, after this happens, then you will see the logjam begin to break."

"I think it will strengthen the hand of, for example, Speaker (John) Boehner, who would make an agreement if the most right-wing of his caucus would let him. I think they will have to think about the consequences of not doing that. I think the same thing will happen in the Senate. I think you will see the gravitational forces of American politics pushing us toward an agreement on the budget and a number of other things."

While he expects Obama to win, Clinton cautioned that getting some of the president's key support constituencies to the polls could be a challenge.

In 2008, Obama "won an enormous victory among people under 30. But they are disproportionately likely now to be unemployed or stuck in part-time jobs, to be frustrated. I think for all kinds of reasons, they're unlikely to vote in large numbers for Governor Romney, but will they vote?"

The former president also took aim at controversial measures impacting advanced voting.

He called reduction of the advanced voting schedule in Florida "an arrow aimed straight at the heart of the African-American churches, who pull up the church buses on the Sunday before the election and take elderly people who have no cars or people who are disabled to the polls so they can vote." He also cited efforts to change early voting procedures in Ohio.

Officials in both states have denied partisan motives for the changes.

Clinton also weighed in on Obama's handling of Iran, amid call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the United States to draw a clear "red line" for Iran's nuclear program.

"I think the president's desire to keep his public options open is the correct course at this time. I think that when you say something in public, whatever it is, one of two things happens when the people call you on what you said. You've either got to do something about it and deal with, perhaps, unintended negative consequences, or you don't and people think you're weaker. Better to have them wonder what you're going to do and communicate privately in more explicit terms."

ALSO SEE: Clinton: '47 percent' comments put 'heavier burden' on Romney in debates

Watch Fareed Zakaria GPS Sundays at 10am and 1pm ET. For the latest from Fareed Zakaria GPS click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Bill Clinton • TV-Fareed Zakaria GPS
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. 200 TON HAMMER

    President Clinton thank you for streamlineing makeing common sense,i truely think that more then anything that
    the democrats will hold it together for 40 years the stockmarket will grow too 55,000 too 250,000 points there where 11,000,000
    jobs created in the clinton administration
    I see as many as 195,000,000 jobs been created in a democratic golden 40 years and more its up too all people and future generations too stay focus for all too have a fair shot

    September 23, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. vic , nashville ,tn

    We trust Bill Clinton more than Obama and Romney , Bill Clinton every word attract one vote for Obama
    After DNC convention battle ground states democrats more energized ,we seen the results in the polls

    September 23, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. TimeForCooperation

    We, as a country, desperately need cooperation and compromise from our politicians, instead of playing partisan politics along party lines.

    This isn't a fantasy football league...these are policies that impact the lives of all citizens of this great country!

    September 23, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. enuff

    As long as the t-party continues to hold congress hostage, there is no incentive for them to do anything for the majority of Americans. They are too scared they will lose their jobs if they don't tow the t-party line. I say they should lose their jobs if they don't start putting America first. (t-party deliberately misspelled).

    September 23, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. Gerald

    Something better happen soon. However is president, the clock is ticking and its almost midnight.

    September 23, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. tiz

    Obama doesn't deserve a second term.... sorry, Bill...

    September 23, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. Joe

    It's hard to believe that the political officials in both Pennsylvania and Florida are still claiming that their blatant voter suppression efforts are not voter suppression efforts. Stopping black churches from bussing people who have no cars to the polls on a Sunday after church has to be the most cynical racist vote suppression tactic since Jim Crow.

    September 23, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Yee Gads, where do I start. We have been compromising for the last 75 years, So far it has been a complete bust. If Obama is re-elected nothing of any consequesce will happen except the National Debt will increase. Bill Clinton thinks he is some type of Guru that people just eat up. Clnton sold a ton of Snake Oil. Clinton is still trying to shore up his Legacy. He is selling us more debt, nothing else. What we need is to get back to the Constutition. Something that has been corrupted completely out of whack these last 75 years.

    September 23, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  9. Rush

    He's making too much sense...

    September 23, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  10. TJeff1776

    Bill and Hilliary Clinton have emerged as our foremost Statesmen in our time. They balance and calm. IF they didn't exist, we would have to invent'em.

    September 23, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. upwardquest

    Bill Clinton is right. President Obama WILL BE RE-ELECTED!

    September 23, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. Contrary Mary

    I am an old person and I love, love Bill Clinton!. He's the man! He talks the talk and walks the walk. What a pity he can run for President again. He is the best orator/speaker of all my time here on earth. He is thoughtful and kind to others and cares deeply about our country. God bless Bill Clinton! P.S. Love you as well, Hilary and I'm looking for you to come up to the plate and play some heavy ball in 2016. You can do it.

    September 23, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  13. Heezy

    It must be nice to be him...what he says is gold

    September 23, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  14. Marine1957

    More blather from Bill – who refuses to believe that he is no longer relevant in American politics. He needs to get a post-presidential life.

    September 23, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. Hotdog

    I think that it's awful that elected officials sign an oath with any one and fail to up hold the oath take they took to represent the people that voted for them. Our Government can not operate effectively without compromise. I hope that former President Bill Clinton's prediction comes into existence.

    September 23, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. Ann

    " the African-American churches, who pull up the church buses on the Sunday before the election and take elderly people who have no cars or people who are disabled to the polls so they can vote."

    And maybe that's why Hillary lost the 2008 primaries! Do you call 'escorting' people to the voting centers - 'right to vote'? Voting should remain a private decision. You want to exert your rights as citizen, you make an effort and find your own arrangements. Are they discussing voting in church now? are people told how to vote?

    September 23, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  17. Ancient Texan

    Enuff- Could it be that the TEA PARTY is the only group in Congress that is doing exactly what the voters told them to do? Look for a big increase in their numbers after the election.

    September 23, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Ancient Texan

    Bill has become a legend in his own mind since leaving office. When Monica's book comes out loaded with facts that have not been exposed before, his bubble may burst.

    September 23, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Larry IN Houston

    he's totally right on this one – it's more than a "log jam" it's like trying to get a camel into the eye of a needle, to get this congress off their duffs, since this is the most worthless congress ever, and I mean Ever. Right now, there's so many bills that is sitting on the congress's workpile, it's pathetic. Trouble is, I think ( in my opinion) ( and I hope I'm wrong on this) that Romney is going to come out as a winner. I mean , it will be a "squeaker" but he'll squeeze through, on november 6th, by the end of the day. 'Ol Mitch McConnell will have a grin plastered on his face for the rest of his life, as a matter of fact, he will take that grin to his grave. To be perfectly honest, IF Romney gets IN, then anybody, and I mean Anybody making less than 75K will struggle.
    Vote Democrat 2012 – ( for the "working" middle class)

    September 23, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. tony

    It's still going to be about not showing the pro-china job creation tax returns

    September 23, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. Larry IN Houston

    THANK YOU "Contrary Mary" & 200 TON HAMMER for Your Posts !!!! I whole heartedly AGREE !!!! contrary Mary – I know there's millions of people like you who think the same way as we do, I Just wish they would shout it out ! Vote Democrat – 2012 ( for us "working " middle class)

    September 23, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  22. Bayley0402

    I think that what Clinton says is very true but only if the republicans are left from the equation. This past four years the repubs have been the most obstructive group there has ever been.

    September 23, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  23. Melissa

    I honestly think Obama is going to win. Frankly, its better than Romney who has no clue what its like not to be rich. Obama isn't the greatest either but at least he knows what its like to be everyone else.

    Wish it would be possible to vote Clinton back in.

    September 23, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  24. Mickey

    I don't doubt Clinton's political prowess. He was my governor for 12 years, although he really didn't accomplish much.

    But I fail to see how an impeached felon can hold people in such a daze.

    September 23, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. ed vida

    Bill has a lot to lose. Hillary's 2016 nomination is almost a lock. He needs a very successful 2nd term from Obama or a very poor 1st term from Romney to get back into the WH. He can't root for Romney, so he deeply bowed to Obama. Love him or hate him as an ex-Pres, but anyone has to admit he's a grand salesman in politics, a poet in language and a magician in showmanship.

    September 23, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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