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)

    With 4 yrs under his belt, Obama is the best candidate to lead this nation. Notice something? We haven't been attacked by the East because if his vast knowledge of foreign policy. If u r not a millionaire or billionaire, vote for Obama. Romney knows how to take over companies, rub elbows with the rich, and pay as little as possible in taxes. A president must represent everyone. Please vote for Obama:)

    September 23, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. Ed1

    It's great to be offered a ride so you can vote the problem is that you are hounded to vote for a Democrat or Obama in this case I know I was on one of the buses in 2008 will never happen.

    All I was told was vote Obama for President and then vote straight Democrat for everything else. Didn't tell them how I voted they might not bring me back home.

    September 23, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. Name Amyjake

    Why does the republican party act like it has no poor members? They like to pretend that it's only minorities and democrats that are poor and on welfare. I work in healthcare and majority of those I encounter who are on Medicaid are white folks who by their anti democratic utterances are most likely republican fox news viewers. I think its just aspirational wishful thinking that makes these folks vote against their interest

    September 23, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. NameBubba

    If Clinton really believes that then he's getting soft in the head. But it is probably just another way to say "the 1st term was a failure but we'll do better next time, O.K.?"

    September 23, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  5. 1608

    Siesta: if this happens we win, but only if the dems don't trust the pubs.

    September 23, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. lcleejr

    had republican led congress done something to help our country move forward instead of protecting the wealthy and some big businesses some of them would not be kicked to the curb in the november election. hopefully romney only gets to visit president obama in the white house after the election.

    September 23, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. Namejason

    Democrats all the way,republicans are only for the rich, its time for us little people to shine,obama obama all the way!!!!!!!

    September 23, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  8. Frank

    People of the United States of America and the World,
    As someone who has served in the United States Military and in the Aerospace/Defense Industry for over 45 years,
    I view President Clinton as someone who is lacking in Character,Morals Honesty along with to be blunt a Weasel.
    I see President Clintons input as nothing more than Smoke and what I like to call FOG BALLS thrown at the American Public.Clinton is pumped up by the Liberal Media as being a political GURU, I strongly disagree!

    September 23, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. Mink

    He had his chance the first go round.

    September 23, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. Lou50

    apparently there are more people voting to live and working to vote. sort of like cutting steaks off a cow and wondering why it dies. Well you wont have to wait much longer as the workers are tired of the free loaders!

    September 23, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |

    Once we oust the current crop of socialists out of the WH and Senate we will indeed see an uptick in productivity...November can't get here soon's the poseur's trip to WI working out? Any other allegedly blue states on the itinerary? And could someone tell me if they've closed on the Hawaiin estate yet? and done....

    September 23, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |

    WOW! People are so jealous & cruel! ....Well, HATERS, President Obama is one of the best presidents we've had! He has gone thru so much, and still come out fighting & smiling! ~Mr. President, there are some very decent people that does not hate you, and can clearly see how you have brought America back from Titanicking! You have my vote and millions upon millions more will be voting you back in...OBAMA 2012-2016!!!!

    September 23, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  13. Steve

    We smell unconditional victory. The tea party will be flushed down the toilet of history, and it will be remembered only as an esoteric answer to a Jeopardy question for a couple of years, and after that no one will care or remember.
    Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, will win the presidency in sixteen, and Bill will have his third term. Have a nice nice day.

    September 23, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  14. ja

    if it don't America need to to recall all of the GOP Obstructionist, America could be on a greater recovery to date, be it not for backwards policy of the so-called tea party, and GOP

    September 23, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  15. David

    I am relieved to see that the vast majority of Americans see how destructive a Romney Ryam administration would be. I am thankful to Clinton for clearly articulating the enormous and numerous sccomplishments of President Obama. He will get relected and go down in history alongside great presidents like FDR and LBJ. Obama Biden 2012. The race is over. Forward we march.

    September 23, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  16. CitizenJP

    What will be a real action starter in Washington is if the President not only wins but wins with a landslide like never before. Now, that will get Washington that has clinged to serve only the top 2% going. This congress has been extremely callous about:
    – unemployment, has threated many times not to even extend the benefits.
    – has killed the serious Jobs bill presented by the President that would have created serious infrastucture improvement among others and employed 100s of thousands of people.
    – seriously threatens to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which has extended health care to millions of people, extended childrens age to be covered under parents, and gotten rid of pre-existing condition clause.

    and many more things that directly benefit the middle class and poor.

    September 23, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  17. Indyswimmer66

    I wish Bill could run again! I'd take that economy in a heartbeat!

    September 23, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  18. Gary in Tampa

    Bill Clinton- without a doubt, the best POTUS in my 49 years.

    September 23, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  19. Zwei Stein

    I've been an Independent my entire adult life. I've voted both ways. For the individual. This time, I'll be voting for the individual AND the party. Because the Republican party has betrayed us...the American People! If you haven't noticed it, then you must be deaf, dumb or both!

    September 23, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  20. xfiler93

    yeah, we need a President to NOT talk to world leaders, instead fund raising, going to JAY Z and Beyonce parties and appearing on Letterman and NOT knowing we are $16 trillion in debt. Yeah, give me another 4 years of THAT!!

    September 23, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  21. PTNY

    President Clinton,

    Mitt Romney and his campaign have learned too late that...

    You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

    Abraham Lincoln "47%" will go down in history!

    September 23, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  22. Charles Conteh

    This election will be a historic test of the intelligence of the American people. Obama is a transcendental figure, a profound intellectual, a balanced thinker, a prudent administrator, a charismatic personality, an inspiration to our generation, a conduit for the restoration of America`s leadership in the worlld, an embodiment of integrity, compassion and effectiveness, and a man in touch with the dreams, aspirations, challenges and triumphs of the American people. Romney has none of these qualities. I trust that the intelligence of the American people will allow them to see the stark differences between these two men.

    September 23, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  23. Name Ptsand

    It's already over, Obama will win and the Repub haters will grind and Nash teeth, and actually we may be witnessing the long slow death of the Republican Party.

    September 23, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  24. teej

    I'd say. Either we will watch as the Republicans are no longer able to hold our economy hostage (four years is four years too long), or we will see Democrats compromising because it's in the best interest of the people.

    September 23, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  25. KingArthur

    This election will determine the future of our country.
    1.Romney wins – the t-party extreme agenda will kill the middle class to get more money to the wealthy.
    2.Obama wins- we send a message to Repugs to do what's right for ALL America and not only for WEALTHY Americans.

    This election "IS ABOUT GREED, STUPID"!

    September 23, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
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