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. Marla

    I heard President Clinton's speech at the DNC and I heard the interview today.
    He speaks with clarity, intelligence and logic. Those are things that the GOP with their sound bites and talking points have lost the capacity to understand.
    I'm proud of our former Democratic Presidents for the good that they are doing in this world. President Carter made Habitat for Humanity well-known and well-respected.
    President Clinton is respected all over the world for his foundation's work and it's global outreach.
    He's a human being who made mistakes, but he has more than made up for them. His wife seems to have forgiven him, and she's the one who counts.
    All of those who are criticizing here are showing that they have small minds and empty hearts.

    September 23, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  2. Namemaximusgary

    It's nice to end the day with a good laugh. The re-election of Obummer will be a disaster for this country. We can't take 4 more years of this clown.

    September 23, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  3. Bob

    The Republicans only wish they had someone as articulate, popular, brilliant and practical as Bill Clinton. And this from a person who voted against him first time around. There answer: Newt Gingrich and his personal hypocracy and craziness. Clinton is a perfect example of someone who put the country first and worked out deals with the Republicans. They paid him back him back by impeaching him for an affair, even while their guy (Gingrich) was having an affair at the same time and abandoning his longtime wife when she needed him most. That is why Clinton is a now a beloved, wise statesman and Gingrich is the face of an angry, hypocritcal, self-centered party. For the conservatives, it is a good thing that we have a 22nd Amendment or they would have been working with Clinton for the first ten years of this century, too. Until the Republicans stop being held being hostage by the hateful, obstructionists who currently control the party, they won't win the vote of independents like me. The reason that I am an independent is that I don't buy the lunacy fringe of either party. It is time for Republicans to stop obstructing and start doing their job. Their obstructionist strategy has failed. They will have to now take responsibility for obstructing rather than governing and putting themselves above the good of the country. Angry, negative attitudes always fail. Obama is going to be elected. And I hope the Republican party returns to the tradition of Charles Percy, John Danforth, Howard Baker, Jerry Ford, Ronald Reagan,and George Bush, Sr., so I can once again have a choice and our nation can once again experience shared progress and greatness. Until then, the independents are fed up with them and the fringe dominating the Republicans will get what they deserve.

    September 23, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    It will take another x years to fix the damage!

    September 23, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  5. Philip

    I think Clinton is right that an action forcing event could occur if Obama gets back in, because the Republicans will hopefully realize, that, "Hey, it looks like we have four more years of him, we better not do the old gridlock trick again or our party will just dry up completely". You'd think.. but you never know with them lately. They might just run the party right into the ground.

    September 23, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  6. ObaWendon

    If Romney and his clowns are elected we will move into a great depression the likes of one we have never seen. Plus that he will get us into a war with Iran and possibly China. He has proven he is completely out of touch with the average American and only says what will get him the votes at every venue he participates in. I loved his statement the other day "If I paid more taxes than I legally should then people wouldn't want me to be president would they?" But yet his tax return shows he didn't take all the deductions he legally could for his "giving to the church". Can you spell HYPROCRIT? The man flips and flops more than a fish out of water. Sad really!

    September 23, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  7. Name Bntruthful

    Bill Clinton helping his democratic friends. He is helping president Obama to win another 4yrs because he knows we can go forward and have time to clean the mess Republicans left. At least Clinton is helping out with his party. Where do you see president bush helping Romney! No Republican wants to mention bushes name because they afraid that if he gets close to Romney the American people will see that it is the same party that got us in this mess. Accept it! Clinton helping Obama. Where is George bush to help Romney is he still embarresed to come out and face what his party done to the American people. THAT IS WHY ROMNEY DOES NOT WANT TO GET CLOSE WITH GEORGE BUSH. Accept it if the shoe fits.

    September 24, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  8. dude from j town

    Wow a lot of Clinton bashers on here. If I remember right didn't Bill balance the budget and come out with a surplus. Just to have it tossed away when Bush came to office. Give President Obama another 4 years and he will do just like Bill did. The President has my vote. I can't wait till November.

    September 24, 2012 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  9. Brian

    President Obama will win BIG!

    First off, Romney will lose, because he's running on failed BUSH policies. Secondly, Romney is a very weak candidate with very little credibility when it comes to policy positions.

    I think the american people are starting to realize that 35 years of "tricke down" policies leave less than crumbs for everyone below the super wealthy.

    And, that we see so many GOP controlled states enacting all these voter supression "voter I.D." laws is evidence that the Republicans are very insecure about their own merits, and the their chances of winning on the real, pertinent issues of the day. Only a party that is insecure, that feels already defeated will enact voter supression laws under the guise of fighting "voter fraud." BUSH in fact, ordered an extensive federal investigation into voter fraud in the U.S. and the resulting conclusion was that voter fraud was essentially non-existant in the U.S. Certainly not even remotely rising to the level that would outweight the voter disenfranchisement of so many voters. The republicans are looking desperate and defeated. How ironic, that the GOP, the party that loves to act as though they're the only party hat loves this country and democracy, are actually being anit democratic with all these anit voting laws.

    The GOP will pay a nasty price come November. Pres. Obama will win with at least 350 electoral votes.

    Go Pres. Obama : 2012!

    September 24, 2012 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  10. Name John Adams

    Romney is just not one of us, we the struggling Americans. He knows nothing about our issues cuz he never been through these and dad always said "Son, never ever vote for the rich guy, he will never work for you cuz you are not his kind".

    September 24, 2012 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  11. Sue

    In response to Sasha. The Republicans admitted that their first priority was to make sure that Obama failed. Yes, they put him before the welfare of our country. Romney said on 60 minutes, that Obama blames the Republicans. He said that the first 2 years was a majority of Democrats, and "that he could do whatever the heck he wanted to". I guess he thinks that Obama was to fix in 2 years, (beause after that time, the Republicans got their seats back and blocked anything that he tried to do) a mess that took Bush and the Republicans 8 years to get us into. GET REAL! What is he SUPERBAMA? When we choose a President, we also choose a Congress. When a President fails, so does Congress. Too bad it's not run like a business. When you go against your boss, you get fired. Maybe these KIDS in Congess would step up to the plate and work together with each other, instead of against each other to get the job done to turn this Country around. By the way, if you really think that Obama has done nothing, you might want to do your homework. And when Romney wants to give everyone, including the rich, tax cuts, I wonder who'going to yell the loudest when their tax deductions go out the door. (home, child care, earned income credit, etc) because the money to pay back the debt has to come from somewhere. It's pretty sad when your home state doesn't support you because you failed them too. Go in and read what the people of Massachusetts have to say about Romney. I rest my case.

    September 24, 2012 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  12. Brhino

    Bill Clinton knows about the old "logjam".

    September 24, 2012 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  13. Name

    After all clinton said against obama he now likes him. Very strange. Obama is very bad for our country becausee he is not a true american.

    September 24, 2012 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  14. Nicholas White

    I cannot believe the posting on this board. How moronic to keep bringing up Lewinsky. The witch hunt over that and Whitewater only served to make Republican's feel better. It didn't help the country and took a big slice out of a very successful presidency. Heck, even Mitt Romney points to the success of Clinton's presidency. That's what always happens to successful people in this country, people can't wait to tear them down. Clinton has some of the wisest policy prescriptions of anyone alive; he can and is trying to help this country come out of the biggest ditch we've been in since the Great Depression. It is a ditch that like it or not W. put us in. The worst you can really say about Obama is that he hasn't gotten it out as fast as people would like. It took FDR 12 years and a World War. Obama has not even had a full four!

    September 24, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  15. dave

    I will vote for the first time at 31 years of age to insure that Romney does not make it into office Obama has this country headed in the right direction and any who thinks that Romney is good for america is brain washed by propaganda being shoved down their throat by media pigs

    September 24, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
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