December 3rd, 2013
02:18 PM ET
9 years ago

Clinton defends calling on Obama to keep his word

(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday defended his controversial comments in which he said early last month that President Barack Obama "should honor" his promise to Americans that if they liked their health insurance plans, they'd be able to keep them under the Affordable Care Act.

"I was trying to be supportive of it," Clinton said, referring to the law better known as Obamacare in an interview with CNN Español Anchor/Senior Correspondent Juan Carlos López.

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"I don't think you can find anybody in America who has worked harder for (Obama's) re-election or supported this bill or went out of his way to explain the bill to the American people more than I did," Clinton continued.

When selling the health care bill and then running for re-election, Obama told Americans that they could keep their health insurance plans if they liked them. However, he didn't make clear that that rule only applied to plans purchased before the bill became law in 2010.

After millions of people began receiving cancellation notices because of Obamacare regulations, the President apologized in an interview on November 7, pledging his administration would find a way to fix it.

Less than a week later, Clinton made a comment that many interpreted as criticism of Obama's handling of the situation.

"I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the President should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they've got," the former President said during an interview with the website

Clinton did, however, spend much of the interview defending the 2010 health care overhaul.

Some speculated Clinton made those comments to help distance his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, from the Obama administration as she possibly prepares for a presidential run.

Asked Tuesday by López if politics was involved in his comments, the former President forcefully said "no."

Defending his remarks, he said he only spoke about the topic once "the President himself spoke."

"And it was obvious to me, listening to him, that he wanted the American people to feel that he had kept his commitment, and that they didn't understand that he, in fact, did grandfather in–that is, protect–all the policies that were in existence on the day he signed the health care bill. That was done," he said.

"I've got a lot at stake here personally," he added. "And the work I have done for health care and the work I've tried to support and the support I've tried to give the President - and Hillary does, too.  We've been working on this health care thing for 20 years."

But Clinton said the "biggest problem" with Obamacare was the botched rollout of on October 1. The President and the administration now say the website has improved and works smoothly for a vast majority of users.

"If the website is working and everybody can see what their options are, then in most states, most people will have a good option which will be the same or less costly than the one they had before that will cover the same or more conditions," he said. "So I think it will be all right."

Clinton was a big figure in Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, serving as a prime time speaker at the Democratic National Convention, and defending the health care law both before and after Obama started his second term.

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Obamacare • President Obama
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. current state of the union

    Donna, see last election results, 3 for 3 in Virginia, you fools really believe your going to be here after next election, just dont get it do, you people are sick if your do nothing but lie party, liberals agenda ruining our country. Have you thought that maybe reducing.g the tax rate, and starving the government for money might be the problem, your goo ideology flys in direct contrast to what experts say will work, ever since the top tax rate started dropping, so has the standard of living, and your just not smart enough to think for yourselves, so you repeat what they say, and they love you for it, like a deer walking up to your blind, priceless. You make it easy for them, ever considered fact checking issues that you feel important? Why check facts when the gop will tell you what to say, they prey on your hate and your not smart enough to care, nice!

    December 3, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. current state of the union

    I.mean really Donna, really polls? Like Romney in a landslide, or how about facts, lime your out of Virginia, and more to come, hate and lies dont work with educated people, they look at what your proposing, a 1.8% top tax rate, a budget with no real numbers, you sure are gullible, have you ever even checked what was in the budget proposal? I bet not, sooo much easier to just bloviate, and spew nonsense that not even the gop believes, but knows your stupid enough to eat it up, absolute fools

    December 3, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. Dead Bear

    @ Tommy G and Donna
    The two of you are so sad and pathetic that it is almost funny... Tommy claims the GOP will be trotting out a "young, vibrant" candidate to oppose Hillary in 2016. I guess he believes looks will be all that matters come next presidential election. Well Tommy, I hope your candidate is astonishingly beautiful in order to overcome the handicap of how retarded he/she is... Donna, on the other hand, cites polling data from a year prior to the next election cycle. But according to another recent poll, the GOP/Tea party wasn't doing so well either. In fact, their approval ratings were in the single-digits. Now I know Donna is not a genius (I've read plenty of her other posts and they're completely devoid of any rational thought), but I'm assuming she's smart enough to count higher than 10 (especially when she's bare-foot or wearing sandals). 9 is a smaller number than 40, Donna. Please do not use only the polls you agree with as they're anecdotal evidence, at best.

    December 3, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine


    Obama is a complete moron! He sold you a bill of goods and you bought it! The Liberal's have been selling you a bill of goods for the last 100 years! When are you going to wise up! In a few years they will be gone but you will be left with the bill. Over 17 Trillion now, and growing. You want your cake and eat it too. Good luck with that.
    Yes, and there is not a damn thing you can do about it, is there? Best you go back to salt mines now. By the way, its so easy to get you to do anything: I was the one who told you that all liberal things started 100 years ago and you used to say 80 years. The simple are so easy to influence.....

    December 3, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Donna

    current state of the union
    Donna, see last election results, 3 for 3 in Virginia,

    Virginia is bloated with huge numbers of federal workers and the Democrats BARELY won there, after polling showed them ahead by double digits. Everyone agreed that had the election been held two weeks later, they would not have won. Do you think the rest of the country is bloated with federal workers like Virginia? No, they are not.

    Sorry, I'll take the votes of the tens of millions of Americans that Obamacare has damaged. Obamacare is the disatser that just keeps on giving. Every new day brings another Obamacare disaster story. So much so that they are now tryin gto get Obama's name off it and are trying to "rebrand" the disaster of a law. How pathetic is THAT?!! Obama's and the Democrat's "signaturer ACHIEVEMENT" and they want to run away from it as much as they can! How pathetic is THAT?!!

    2014 will not be kind to the Democrats, just as 2010 was not kind to them.

    December 3, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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