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. Catmandew

    Do any of you folks read the articles before commenting? Clinton is not Obama he has no control over this poor excuse of a President that doesnt deserve 4 more years!

    September 23, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. JMorcan

    "Usher in years of productivity." But not American productivity. We can expect the balance between China and the U.S. to tip ever farther in Asia's favor if current policies are continued.

    September 23, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. Siesta Beach

    I have no doubt that Mr. Clinton is right.....the President will win again. The rich people have had their day and now the middle class will be running this country. Romney's old man was a loser and so is his he. I think the Democrats will take over the house too. I will be voting straight Democrat ticket.

    September 23, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  4. Siesta Beach

    The Republicans attempted to Impeach President Clinton and they failed. So many of the "House Managers" were caught being perverts that they hid from the press.

    September 23, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. Siesta Beach

    Republicans are like Bush....all hat and no cattle. Barack will win easily.

    September 23, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. Carrie

    Is it Obama or Clinton running for office? It seems Obama is using Clinton to get him back into office. Bill – shut up!

    September 23, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Reality

    Politics is a bad investment

    September 23, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. gavin

    Siesta Beach. Sounds like a great place for Obama to retire. Clinton takes a siesta every afternoon. This guy was impeached. Why should anybody listen to him. Not exactly a great role model.

    September 23, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. Big Scotsman

    Congress and the two-party system have failed America. Why place so much value in Wall Street, big banks, and big insurance companies? Why enter into trade agreements that export millions of jobs abroad? There are other choices on November 6th. An ObaRom vote is a wasted vote.

    September 23, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  10. Gringo Bob

    6 years in the USMC ('58-'64), 5 years in the university, worked in and traveled to over 40 countries, today have lived for 72 years. I don't know everything, but you people who support Obama should stop making all your ugly comments and think about voting for a person (black, yellow, red, male, female, christian, muslem, right, left, educated or not) who offers as his best qualification is his ability to make a nice speach...please stop for a minute and think about why do you support him. I know it is popular to accept black persons, I always have against the wishes of my bigot father, and I am not against Obama because he is black. He just doesn't have the ability or the experience to hold the job. Please take a few minutes to study the facts. Most of you have the intelligence to make a reasonable decision and I feel certain that you will not waste your vote on Obama if you stop reacting to emotion and allow your reasoning abilities to examine the facts. Is there any other person who might become our president who has the support of the leader of Russia? Who can't spare the time to meet the leader of Isreal? Who appologizes and scrapes and bows to the foreign leaders who used to look to our country for strength and guidance? Many of the muslim countries where I have worked (including Iran and Egypt) are laughing about the election of Obama and saying that they will soon own this country. I am ashamed of this person who holds the position of the leader of the free world and any person who votes for him. My shame extends to my brother who voted for him against my wishes.
    Gringo Bob

    September 23, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  11. optimistmiser

    sorry Bill, You couldn't be more wrong.

    September 23, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. optimistmiser

    The nations financial mess has taken decades to create and will decades to resolve. No candidate will fix everything in the next 4 years. Even the candidates admit this.

    September 23, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  13. optimistmiser

    America must chose between big socialist govt that controls their lives or a smaller govt that the people control.

    September 23, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  14. Andreea

    Mister ex president, it is about time to keep silence.Take care of you, enjoy your life you did enough......It is not America what you took over anymore you were lucky.There are not money anymore people doesnt have money to pay taxes, not jobs, inflation.Actually America needs to revive the ECONOMY, to be strong again if is gone be possible.Democrats never create jobs just spending and spending.Between two bad we have to pick the best solution for America someone who knows about how to create money, jobs.

    September 23, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. dsmidiman

    I think if people looked at what this country was like after 8yrs of Bill Clinton in the driver's seat compared to what this country looked like after 8 yrs of GWB in the driver's seat the question of whether Clinton was good for this country or not is obviously and absolutely YES!!, the fact that he had an affair is sad but has nothing to do with what he and his administration did for the people of this nation. All those hideous stories and references about cigars and stuff are just that "stories" told by very sick people as far as I'm concerned. As unfortunate as it is there are many people in politics that have extra marital affairs in both the Republican and Democratic Parties. Most of them never get caught. And the fact that Clinton lied about it is a no brainier too. There is not a man on this planet who being the President of a country would admit in public to having an affair. Not a Republican not a Democrat. 1. It's nobody's business but that man and his wife and the mistress. 2. Clinton was probably trying to save some humiliation for his wife and daughter because AGAIN it wasn't anybody else's business. In my opinion Karl Rove and all the hateful maniacs that helped him create this fiasco in the media and all those who spear headed the spending of MILLIONS of our tax dollars being spent investigating and tying up valuable resources to get Clinton Impeached for doing something many of their own people have done and gotten away with .... Rove and his lynch mob should ALL be sued for every dollar they blew!! I'm sick to death of the "holier than thou" hypocrites of this country calling the kettle black. Catholic Priest molest little kids for years!! And the worst thing they get is transferred to a different parish. It's insane the hypocrisy in the Republican Party.

    September 23, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. starks

    He was a great president. Get over it.

    September 23, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. Harry Baxter

    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 !!!!!!!!"

    Clinton was a better President with his pants around his ankles thaan the GOP has Produced in the last 50 years! (Yes, I mean the Gipper too. Check the record.)

    September 23, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  18. artraveler

    I can't believe so much hatred toward President Clinton! I though all you Republicans were all watching FAUX this morning and their lies. The country did very well under President Clinton and for whoever mentioned Whitewater, you need to get some facts. No one was ever convicted of anything related to Whitewater. It was a land deal that went wrong. Ask Trump how those happen since most big Republicans tend to leave a trail of them. Impeached?-what a load. An impeachment is equivalent to a prosecutor saying he wants to try someone. It implies that someone wants to build a case, in this case a married GOP Arkansas House member who was also playing around with his secretary while prosecvuting the president (look up Hutchison). Check your facts. It was an $80 million dollar waste by the GOP who don't ever want a Democrat in the White House. You can see the same arrogamnce by Isas in the House investigating everything just because he can. Never vote Republican for any office at any level-it just encourages them!

    September 23, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  19. Harry Baxter

    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.

    Impeached, but not convicted, and despite a nearly 100% of the GOP zealots voting for conviction. I have no doubt that if Romney is elected, he'll never be impeached, because there's no law against stupid.

    September 23, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  20. Jim Weix

    Yes, Obama will win. Mitt made sure of that with his 47 percent comments.

    September 23, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  21. Russ in Md.

    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."

    And if what you say happends, then may the United States Of America rest in pease. Long Live The UNITED STATES SOCIALIST REPUBLIC (USSR)

    September 23, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. PennyM

    There are many Americans that do not want a socialist USA. My father fought on Omaha Beach in WW11. My brother is a Vietnam veteran, my husband is a Vietnam era Marine and my nephew is a 1st Gulf War veteran. My family loves this country and honestly believe this President is ruining it. 10% of our people can not support 90%. For once use your head instead of your hearts.

    September 23, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. btlprod

    To break the "logjam" requires a President with Leadership ability. With a Republican Congress, President Clinton got things done. With a Democrat Congress Presidents Reagan, Bush and Bush got things done.

    President Obama couldn't even convince members of his own Party that his ideas were good ones, much less the people he said had to ride in the back.

    September 23, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  24. Tom in San Diego

    There will be two classes...
    The lower class
    The upper class
    another way of putting it: The Ruling Class and the Working Class...

    September 23, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  25. Jonquil

    Those of you hoping Bill Clinton would just go away, must be part of that short-attention-span, "I've already forgotten what I at for lunch" bunch, who don't see the value in listening to past Presidents offer their point of view, based on experience. I love hearing past Presidents weigh-in on the problems of the day. They have more time and freedom to explain why they made the choices they did; this is how we learn, as a Nation. I just wish President Bush would come out of hiding and talk about his experience, too. I wonder why he won't?

    September 23, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
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