* Clinton says rivals should be judged on their records,
* Clinton says wrong to broadly criticize private equity
WASHINGTON May 31 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
"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)