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. Jocho Johnson

    You tell em Clinton

    September 23, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. Jocho Johnson

    Bill Clinton knows what a disaster Robmey would be and decided to support Obama because he's the better candidate

    September 23, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Mrs T.

    I agree with Mr. Clinton. Obama will win this election. The best thing that could happen is for the dems to be sucessful in taking power over both the house and the Senent. Only then will we be able to actually get something done as the GOP has already proven that they cant be trusted to play nicely in the sand box.

    I never thought I would ever be making a post such as this.

    September 23, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. Geordie

    I never cared about Clintons numerous affairs , that was between him and his wife to sort out.
    However , having your dalliances with an employe in the White House and then lie about it , not just to the American people but also under oath , is a different story.
    It shows lack of decency and character .
    I would have liked to see Hilary as President but now we see that she has failed in her given role as well.
    You need new leadership , another 4 years with Obama will send you over the cliff.

    September 23, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. matt

    Two (2) camps this election...[1] those that believe food, shelter, clothing, education and health are RIGHTS, and even though half that nation disagrees with them, the other half should PAY for THEIR entitlements. [2] those who know none of those things are NOT rights...under ANY constitution, in ANY nation on the planet...for a reason..otherwise we would all just sit around and let SOMEONE ELSE give us what we are ENTITLED to. We have have morphed into a spineless nation where everyone has rights and no one has responsibilities anymore.

    September 23, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. anoel2005

    Hey Bill Clinton,

    Admit it. The only reason you're stumping for Obama is because you want Hillary to have the backing of the Dem Party in 2016.

    After all, we all know that you and Hillary were the first Birthers.

    September 23, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. judy

    repos seem to forget the indiscretions of their own party members. Bill was a good president and I respect his ideas on the election. You can not compare the president to mittens. How do you trust some one that won't show his taxes and has no faith in thei country. But keeps his money overseas and finances chinese companys. Are you crazy.? Ryan complains about the affordable care act but sought a grant funded by same act to build medical facilitys in racine . Romney requeste more lea way on welfare to require people to work and the president gave it to the 5 states that requested it and then mitt turns around and says the president is not requiring people to work and just collect welfare. He slams 47% of Americans and that is ok? Are you crazy or just stupid. FORWARD 2012

    September 23, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. wm Scot

    The redistricting of our country has and will continue to cause the gridlock that is in congress ! Until people wake up and quit voting thier party and start voting for the right men and women we will continue to have this stalemate !

    September 23, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. john

    Problem is, Obama said on Univision that no one could change Washington from inside. I guess he was talking civil war or something, but if that is his mindset...He must have given up already.

    September 23, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. Ron B

    president Clinton and President Obama , both two term presidents will go down in history as great presidents

    September 23, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Ycnan

    Talking to the Iowa home town, sounds like Romney is really making people mad. Obama will win the debates and it will be over.

    September 23, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. migeli

    Obama 2012!

    September 23, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. Gimmeabreak!

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    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 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  14. Keep us all on our heels...

    What we all hope is learned from this election, is that the people of the United States are tired of do nothing congress. Guess what repubs... you could have won this election hands down.. but you have baffoons that you let take over your party.. called tea party obstructionist... yes, in the long run, they ruined your chances. You made deals and signed contracts that were against the best interest of the american people.

    September 23, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. W8a2nd

    one more thing, the Dem's will win by large margins in the House and Senate and that will enable Obama to finally enact legislation that benefits all Americans. Too hell with Romney and his corporate welfare cheats!

    September 23, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. sss

    @ Bill:

    LOL what are you smoking, we WILL show up to keep the racists, and rednecks out of DC

    September 23, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. BD70

    I just don't understand why some forget so quick. Obama has saved us from a great depression...but yet ....some want to forget how that almost happened. It wasn't Obama's fault but he is slowly fixing the damage. Why on earth would anyone want to go back and do it again?

    September 23, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. TNT

    Obama deserves a secong term and if that happens the Repubs. will have to work with him or they will be voted out.
    I hope people will vote and show the party of NO that we won't put up with anymore. Romney is to afraid to stand up to his own party and that is a huge problem. Romney and Ryan can't agree on what the other is saying. I want to move forward and not back to the arrogance of the republican party. I am or was a republican but they are arogant and think they don't have to listen to anyone. So yes, i hope Obama wins and I hope people will get out and vote. That is just about the only way anything will get done.

    September 23, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. Badboy

    Obama great, repubs bad...obstruction, Bush's fault, blah, blah, Romney's tax returns, Oblameo has a record, WAIT, let us not mention that....we still need Mitts tax returns, Bush fault, Obama the greatest

    September 23, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. Name keshalaws

    @ann what is wrong with communities mobilizing the elderly to the polls? This had absolutely nothing with Hillary losing 08 primary. Fact

    September 23, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. Name

    Maybe if they did away with class war rhetoric got all the lazy kids back to school instead of setting up hobo camps in every major square to complain and throw pity parties. The wealthier folks would be less defensive and more willing to work with both political parties.

    September 23, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. Catmandew

    Bill when are you gonna thank H W Bush for leaving you a GOOD ECONOMY!? That was the only reason you were able to get it done! 8 years of your policies and you left W BUSH a declining Economy! Now almost 4 years DEMS are still blaming anyone but themselves for their failed policies! Besides you are no longer POTUS !

    September 23, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Rod

    The best solution is to vote Republican out of office. Let Dems run thing for a couple years and then bring the Repubs back to t5o grind thing to a halt again>

    September 23, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  24. Pete

    Pres.Clinton knows after Novembers elections the republican logjam will be history and finally some light at the end of a politically gloomy tunnel will appear with Democrates passing some long awaited job and infastructure bills,then you'll see government in progress not regress since 2010!!

    September 23, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. Norma Vessels

    In order to get anything done for the American people, we need President Obama back in the White House for four more years .. and we need a majority of Democrats in the House and the Senate, and I don't mean by one or two .. I mean by a bunch! There are way too many Blue Dog Democrats who vote with the Republicans too many times .. therefore getting nothing done. Most people don't know who the Blue Dogs are, and neither do I, but one can go to Google and ask, and find out more about them. Are they better than a Republican .. yes, but ..... Please, for the sake of our country .. VOTE IN NOVEMBER!

    September 23, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
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