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. Bill

    I see no enthusiasm from the average democrat on voting for Obama again. Lots of people will just stay home. That is Romney's advantage

    September 23, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. Johnny

    While I generally agree with President Clinton...I think Republucans will be even less cooperative in a second Obama term.

    September 23, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Are you kidding me?

    I certainly hope it is. We saw action and progress when the dems were in full control of the ship. They had a lot accomplished in comparison to the 2010 congress. As a republican I want our elected officials to work in food faith – not cryin to fox news when they do not get their way. I want to see a broom to take out the obstructionists.

    September 23, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. CBR

    Saw interview with Mr. Clinton on CBS this morning. He is not afraid to speak out and to seek out folks form both sides of the aisle. His role as a former president does give him access to many more people. Like Jimmy Carter before him he is using his status as an ex-president to get things done.

    September 23, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. Melissa

    Mickey, because anyone with a brain doesn't care that he slept with some woman in the oval office. He isn't a felon, he lied about sleeping with someone. Get over yourself. When Clinton left office, this country was in the black and paying off its bills. There was a massive economic expansion, and the lowest unemployment in 30 years. Bush successfully reversed that in less than a year.

    You need to learn from history, not ignore it just because it doesn't fit your ideals.

    September 23, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. Philip

    Bill understands politics and the BIG picture.

    I hope he takes sn active policy position in the next administration.

    September 23, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    If the 47%ers are chattering, as Ann Romney says, it must be annoying for the more worthy people. All that noise coming from the workers hovels might disturb "Those Who Must Be Obeyed" while they are about their more worthy persuits, like sending jobs overseas or closing factories and throwing more folks into the 47%.

    The gilded people can't even get away from the noise. Without 47%ers, there would be no one to cook, clean, maintain the gardens, polish the Mercedesand Rolls, provide massages or raise the children. Thank good ness there are private schools so the progeny of the worthier classes are shown that they are, indeed, much better than the lower classes by birthright

    September 23, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. JohnRJohnson

    Mickey –– Getting impeached doesn't make you a felon. The impeachment of Bill Clinton was a travesty and circus of hypocrisy. At the same time Republicans in Congress were going after Clinton's dalliance with Ms. Lewinsky, Henry Hyde and Newt Gingrich were both having full-blown affairs. Clinton should NEVER have been asked about his private affairs under oath, and he should have refused to answer Ken Starr's questions about them. Instead, he chose to play word-games and he paid for that. In any case, I would like you to name one president (other than Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush) who didn't have affairs of some kind.

    Clinton did plenty for Arkansas while governor, including lifting its educational system out of the 19th century.

    September 23, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. RudyG

    Bill; I'm starting to believe the ONLY reason you are stumping so hard for this man who you don't even like or agree with on most issues is that it will be much easier for Hillary to run for president after an Obama 2nd term than after a Romney 1st term!!

    September 23, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. DL

    If Republicans aren't defeated across the board we will have four years of gridlock and nothing. These people won't work with anybody so there just isn't any point in them being there, period. If Republicans win, they will attempt their tax breaks for the rich, gut the schools and social programs including medicare and ss, and are proposing 10 trillion in spending for military. That's 15 trillion Mitts adding to the debt before he even starts, so all these GOP'ers whining about spending, are following the Bush doctrine again, spending and refusing to pay the won't work folks.

    September 23, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. Jello

    I agree with the statements that there will be gridlock again if they don't vote out the non-action contenders. Enough of the Norquist loyalty - and do what is best for the people. Otherwise, people really need to vote their reps out....

    September 23, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Gimmeabreak!

    That "action forcing event" will be the Romney-Ryan election. There's just no way that anyone in that voting booth, who stops to think back for just 30 seconds, will possibly re-elect Obama. His magic is gone, the reality of his failure looms. Romney may not be "cool," but most of us don't care one iota about that - most of us are pretty sure Romney will ensure what we need most - JOBS and SPENDING CUTS. Other than that, we all can do very nicely without seeing a publicity-seeking narcissist invade our TV screen every night, the way Obama has! Geeze, I'm sick of seeing his "cool" lyin' mug!

    September 23, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. Carlin123

    90 million Americans DON'T VOTE. what does that say about our choice for president?

    September 23, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. Ed1

    The logjam was created by your parties overspending and no leadership.

    The people that were elected in 2010 was elected to stop all this out of control spending and failed polices remember your party had control of both houses for the first two years and all the could do was ram bill after bill down our throats the the majority of the voters didn't want and throw good money after bad.

    You seem to have left that part out I wonder why.

    Nothing but acting like Obama and playing the blame game for your President who still doesn't have a clue along with a lot of stupid people out there.

    September 23, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Dan

    Yea! Obama's done a great job(right). Clintons' so two faced he can see front and back at the same time. Talk about not caring about the country!

    September 23, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. DC Observer

    This is political nonsense and double talk - The action forcing event is the election of a President that moves the country to a balanced budget amendment which would force the US government to only soend what they have - and to restrict the country's debt to a percentage of GDP - the only candidate with this plan is Mitt Romney.

    Obama is clever and speaks eloquently and convincingly to the naieve and ill informaed, but Obama's plan is simply for wealth redistribution in a socialisting government -– this is what he has constantly proposed and advocated –cleverly hiding it and cloaking it in words like "fair share" "ba;anced approach" and so forth. Obama is not creating jobs or growing the country, he is merely trying to take from the wealthy and redistribute to the needy - this cannot work and will not work.

    The solutions is very simple - live within your means and grow jobs. Obama has failed miseraBLY ON THAT FRONT

    September 23, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. DC Observer

    Everyone in DC knows that Bill Clinton still believes Obama is a complete fake and "fairy tale. But, Bill wants Obama to win so that Hillary can run in 2016 and would not have to run against a Republican incumbent. That the only reasson Bill has been so vocal and public during this campaign - you do not see any other President out there do you? The reason – Ex presidents do not do this sort of thing

    September 23, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Indy

    With nothing to loose Obama will not take any more crap from Republicans that want to keep the economy hostage and things will get done in a second term

    September 23, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Jules

    The Republicans need to be defeated across the board so they move back away from the far right so we see some decent candidates come out of that group. The only GOP candidate I could have thought about voting for was John Huntsman and then I would have had to hear a lot more from him. The rest, including Romney, the weakest group of candidates ever.

    September 23, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Melissa, you're narrow minded. The expansion wasn't all to Clinton's credit, but he did do a great job with the surplus funds given to him with an expanding economy. The main fall of the economy was due to banking and investment regulations enacted during the Clinton presidency, and the recession was predicted at that time. The second major contributor to the recession was Democrats Frank and Dodd's "everyone should own a home" policy.

    Most people forget the economy was contracting when Bush took office, because he mentioned it once and then went on to do his job and didn't blame Clinton for 3 1/2 years. The economy goes in cycles and always will. During the Bush presidency we were attacked and no one could have responded better than he did at the time. Going into Iraq is another matter, not a wise decision.

    Bush was perfect in what he did and neither is Obama. But work with and understand the facts before assuming you know and understand a complex matter.

    September 23, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. NameGuest

    Obama's spending plan does not work. What part about going bankrupt don't you understand? As for gutting the schools, dems have already done that. Did u know only 15 percent of Chicago 4th graders are proficient in reading? If we continue to let government take over basic services we will never get out of the hole and get sucked into a vortex of mediocrity and weakness. Clinton is totally trying to position for hillary but will take the whole country down in their quest for power.

    September 23, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. Puddin

    I believe Hillary Clinton has a mind of her own. She has said she will be out of politics after one term as Secretary of State, and I take her at her word. It is a "woman's privilege to change her mind," and I believe if she does that and does run in 2016, it will be her decsion and not her hustand's. The word is (even from Republicans) that she has done a great job as Secty. of State and is well-respected by both parties. My thinking is, after she gets a good rest for awhile, she will be working with women in poorer countries to help them make a living for themselves. I wish her the best in whatever she decides.

    September 23, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Namemetron

    More lies from the DNC. Can't trust them.

    September 23, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. Larry of Massachusetts

    The only way for this country to get back on track is for the election of a President that moves the country to a balanced budget amendment which would force the US government to only spend what they have – and to restrict the country's debt to a percentage of GDP – the only candidate with this plan is Mitt Romney.
    Obama is clever and speaks eloquently and convincingly to the naive and ill informed, but Obama's plan is simply for wealth redistribution in a socialistic government -– this is what he has constantly proposed and advocated –cleverly hiding it and cloaking it in words like "fair share" or "balanced approach" or “the wealth paying their fair share” and so forth. Obama is not creating jobs or growing the country, he is merely trying to take from the wealthy and redistribute to the needy – this cannot work and will not work because the country is not growing with new jobs and higher GDP. Obama’s plan will put the nation into a terrible Depression that would last for decades and ruin the lives of countless millions and leave our children in debt and living as paupers.
    The solutions are very simple – the government must live within its means and the nation must grow jobs. Obama has failed miserably on both these fronts.

    September 23, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  25. Kr55

    Republican's said their only goal in the last couple years was to deny Obama a 2nd term. If he gets the 2nd term, they no longer can have that goal and will actually have to do real work again. If Romney wins, I see, at the least constant filibustering in the senate by the dems because the Republicans will have get the precedent that obstructionism is a good strategy to get the guy you want into the white house.

    September 23, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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