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. blaster34

    This is total B-S, especially from a man who absolutely despises obama. If Clinton really believes this B-S then the entire debt will be resolved within two yrs. If obama is re-elected, at a minimum, the House will reject all of his massive spending proposals and gridlock will continue, as it should. Then obama can continue to rule by fiat

    September 23, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. Tom

    The only way change will happen is with a stronger leadership from the top and a major shift in the leadership and members of both House and Sentate. I lean Republican, but voted for Clinton,especially the second term, essentially because he was able to work on both sides of the isle, build concensus, and manage his own party's leadership in Congress. Reagan was also great at doing both. Pres. Obama hasn't been able to do either so far... and I don't see that giving a second chance will improve his performance.

    September 23, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. Corey

    He's right. President Romney will bring back that can-do hardworking American spirit!

    September 23, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. petena

    Bill should run in 2016. If the Republicans are true patriots why do they not want more people voting? Because they are exaclty what they are showing WHO THEY REALLY ARE.

    September 23, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Bill gaping wide and loud...

    Bill don't shout.....the American-people are not deaf...they can hear and feel that the country under Obama's adminitaration....ain't going anywhere.......Change is coming...!

    September 23, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Flint Rock

    Oh, gee!
    Billy C is still smarter
    Than you and me!

    September 23, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. Lardeau

    This man should go. He had his day. He's a Bubba and always will be. He disgraced the Oval Office acting there like a pervert. Cigars indeed !!!!!!!!!!

    September 23, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Randy

    Obama with a mandate. Yes please.

    It would help if the public could actually keep track of who does what in Washington so Republicans don't keep getting rewarded at the polls for intentionally hurting the country.

    September 23, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. blaster34

    You can always tell the narcissists, they won't go and can't go ligtly. They still think the country cannot survive without them. If CLinton and Carter are so obnoxious as to think they are the saving graces for this country, just think how bad obama will be once he's defeated. The arrogance of these politicians never ends

    September 23, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. edward

    I have always believed Bill Clinton was not only nuts but very corrupt. If you include the Lewinsky episode along with "Whitewater" and his refusal to serve his country in the military due to a scholarship and if you include an impeachment for lying to his voting public and his lack of support for Al Gore, his VP, how can you trust this man?

    September 23, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  11. Mike

    I don't see any sign that the Republican obstructionist doctrine will magically disappear WHEN the President is reelected (not even going to be close). Unfortunately for all of us... party loyalists will fight tooth and nail to protect what they view as a god-granted right for rich, white people to decide how the rest of us will live.

    The Republican party will lose this election... and then the human beings, individuals who represent the GOP in Congress will have a profound choice to make. Will I remain blindly loyal to a party that is actively standing in the way of the solutions we all desperately need? OR Will I break ties with a dangerously out of touch party in order to contribute my ideas to the discussion, my vote to the solution, and my loyalty to the People?

    You choose.

    September 23, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. JMorcan

    It was Bill Clinton who pushed for NAFTA and China's entry to the WTO, predicting that they would increase American exports. Of course, these measures only led to the destruction of American industries and jobs. He should be in prison for treason.

    September 23, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Essie

    I trusted what Bill Clinton speech laid out at the DNC Convention. He made us believe that a Pres. Obama 2nd term will be advantageous for the American people, and a Romney vote will be disastrous for us! ~As an independent voter, I will place my vote for OBAMA/BIDEN & all DEMS ticket! ....GO VOTE AMERICA! Yes we can do it again!! 🙂

    September 23, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  14. Steve

    I can't stand the Obamunists anymore. Just go away.

    September 23, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. JMorcan

    It was Bill Clinton who pushed for NAFTA and China's entry to the WTO, predicting that they would increase American exports. Of course, these measures only led to the destruction of American industries and jobs. He should be in prison.

    September 23, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. Tex71

    It is time for the ultraconservative extremists to stop trying to drag the USA back into the Dark Ages. What better time to witness this paradigm shift than at the renewal of the Mayan Calendar, in which the old cycle ends and the new one begins, right after the election and just before Pres. Obama's second term begins!

    September 23, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. craig

    While it's true that officials in both states have denied that voting changes are not aimed at specific voters, i.e. likely democratic voters, it is equally true that official in these states and other have admitted, usually in situations that were presumed to be private, that that is the EXACT PURPOSE of their actions. Let's provide both sides here, CNN. We all KNOW what the truth is, but then the Grand Obstructionist Party doesn't bother with the truth very often.

    September 23, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Larry

    I agree with Bill Clinton on this one – Obama needs 4 more years to clean up the mess and get us back on track. We can't afford to backslide with the republicans so Romney has to lose. Obama/Biden in 2012. Another democrat in 2016 and forever.

    September 23, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Obama winning a 2nd term will be like banging "a brick" on each side of the Republicans' heads in order for them to get it and if they don't, the Republican party as we know it will no longer exist. Only then, will this country move FORWARD.

    September 23, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  20. Sasha

    Clinton should have retired from politics a long time ago .
    If he is the reason , according to most of these comments here , that Obama should get another 4 years in the
    White House , I can only conclude that a lot of Americans are illiterate and stupid.
    Obama had the House and the Senate for the first two years and did nothing and please stop blaming everything on Bush , check the facts and you might learn that a lot of the decline got their start under the Clinton presidency.

    September 23, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Catmandew

    Can not believe the B/S on this story blog

    September 23, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Name

    The only way to break the logjam is to get rid of the logs doing the jamming. Dump the GOP from power

    September 23, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Amanda Wolf

    mIKE: many democrats will get elected in the cottails of President Obama 🙂 Why do you think the tea party leaders plan to start a huge millions new campaign? Instead of using those billions to pay the national deficit, they choose to throw away the money for false ads that I read most voters are bored of. I myself feel bored of seeing ryan, romney and bohener faces in the news ! See , propaganda reaches the point of SATURATION. The readers start to ignore it, fortunately 🙂

    September 23, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Saydie

    I have lost ALL respect for Bill Clinton. I supported him when he was President – through thick and thin, no matter what. But, I will NEVER, NEVER support him again OR Hillary NO MATTER what she ever runs for because of HIS SUPPORT for OBAMA. I thought Bill Clinton had principles, but clearly he DOES NOT. Everything he use to believe in and stood for, he has thrown out the window. He no longer cares what happens to our country. He only cares that his wife holds on to her job and that he can hold on to her coattails in politics. For me, you are now a NOBODY. You stink, BILL, garbage.

    September 23, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. Russell, NC ,

    Bill Clinton was impeached by the House for lying under oath. Now CNN, I'll bet you won't post this. Are you biased? You know that it is the truth.

    September 23, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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