Bill Clinton says Romney qualified to run, but Obama better

WASHINGTON Thu May 31, 2012 10:54pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) talks with former U.S. President Bill Clinton (L) and his wife, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton (C) during the funeral services for U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston, Massachusetts August 29, 2009. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) talks with former U.S. President Bill Clinton (L) and his wife, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton (C) during the funeral services for U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston, Massachusetts August 29, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former President Bill Clinton believes a candidate with Republican Mitt Romney's business success and political background is qualified for the White House, but he said Democratic President Barack Obama would be a better choice for the country.

"There is no question that in terms of getting up and going to the office and basically performing the essential functions of the office, a man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold," Clinton said of Romney in an interview with CNN on Thursday.

"But they have dramatically different proposals, and it's my opinion, anyway, that the Obama proposals and the Obama record is far better for the American economy and most Americans than those that Governor Romney has laid out," Clinton said of his fellow Democrat. "That's what the election ought to be about."

Romney clinched the Republican nomination this week with a primary win in Texas although the race has been over for weeks as his remaining party rivals had suspended their campaigns.

Clinton also said broadly demonizing private equity politically as Democrats have done to Romney was wrong if restructuring underperforming businesses was necessary to save them and make them more productive.

"When you try, like anything else you try, you don't always succeed," Clinton said. "I don't think that we ought to get into the position where we say this is bad work. This is good work."

The real issues, the former two-term president said, are Romney's proposals and Obama's record and his plans for a second term.

"How do these things stack up against each other. That's the most relevant," he said.

Clinton has refused to follow an Obama campaign strategy of using Romney's former company, Bain Capital, as a weapon in the campaign. Democrats have attempted to portray Romney as a corporate raider who is out of touch with ordinary Americans.

Job creation is a central theme of what is expected to be a close general election in November.

(Reporting by John Crawley; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Comments (16)
maneless wrote:
I like Bill Clinton. I voted for Hillary over Obama because at the time Hillary had more experience. I did not vote for Obama because I was annoyed with him since at the time he was elected I did not think he had enough experience for the job and I felt that he shouldn’t have run for President at the time he ran for office. Guess what, all of that is behind us now and President Obama is doing an excellent job considering the mess he was handed.

I disagree with Bill Clinton. He thinks Romney’s business experience is helpful for America but I think that a lot of Mitt Romney’s success has been the result of causing other people to lose their jobs. Hey Bill, have you noticed that we have a jobs problem right now and the jobs problem we have is not an overabundance of jobs but rather a shortage of jobs? That means that right now we need people who have a mindset of jobs-creation not jobs-ending. Romney made his money getting people out of work but we need people in office who will get people back to work. Obama has been trying to do exactly that by pushing a jobs bill to do much needed infrastructure work but the republicans are blocking Obama’s efforts because Obama wants to pay for it by increasing taxes on the rich. Romney also wants to prevent tax increases on the rich. Romney doesn’t get it. The rich need to start paying more in taxes. The rich are getting too sweet of a deal right now and Obama’s right. We should reduce spending and increase taxes on the rich and do a big jobs bill of much needed infrastructure work that will solve our country’s infrastructure problems and put a few million people back to work. Yea.

May 31, 2012 12:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
RoaringFish wrote:
Romney made as mess of running Massachusetts, with below average jobs growth, below average economy, falling average income, and rising costs. So below average he didn’t dare run for a second term.

How does that record qualify him to run a country?

Jun 01, 2012 6:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Truth_Teller wrote:
Bill took office when policies put in place by Bush Sr. were just starting to work. Then rather than throttle the tech bubble, he rode it for all it was worth. Neither of these smooth talking attorneys know the first thing about what makes an economy go.

Jun 01, 2012 8:31am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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