Obama, Bill Clinton campaign on economy

2012-04-30 12:00

McLean - Former US president Bill Clinton gave a rousing endorsement of fellow Democrat Barack Obama in his first 2012 campaign appearance with the president on Sunday night, and helped him raise more than $2m.

A white-haired and svelte Clinton, aged 65, pounded the podium and pointed at the crowd while addressing about 500 Obama supporters outside the Virginia home of his friend and Democratic adviser Terry McAuliffe.

"I think he's done a good job," he told the crowd in his signature raspy voice, warmly introducing the man who beat his wife, Hillary Clinton, to win the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination and then made her US secretary of state. "We are going the right direction under President Obama's leadership."

Clinton's support could be pivotal for Obama's efforts to raise money and to sell voters on his economic plans, which Republicans have denounced as fiscally reckless and rooted in populism instead of good business sense.

Clinton oversaw one of the most prosperous times in recent American history and managed to balance the federal budget, something Democrats are keen to remind voters before the 6 November election.

When he took the backyard podium, Obama, aged 50, noted Clinton's "remarkable" economic record in his two White House terms and referred frequently to the political powerhouse standing behind him, who stands to be a huge fundraising force in the final months of the presidential campaign.

Big budget deficits

"I didn't run for president simply to get back to where we were in 2007. I didn't run for president simply to restore the status quo before the financial crisis. I ran for president because we had lost our way since Bill Clinton was done being president," Obama said.

The state of the US economy is expected to be the pivotal issue for voters in November.

With unemployment still relatively high and growth showing signs of slowing, Obama is under pressure to defend his string of big budget deficits and prove the soundness of his proposals to keep spending on infrastructure, clean energy and education and to raise taxes on the very rich.

Neither Obama nor Clinton referred to George W Bush, the Republican who served two presidential terms in between their tenures, nor the presumptive Republican nominee for this year's White House race, Mitt Romney, by name in their outdoor remarks.

But Clinton said Obama's likely White House opponent this year wanted to revert to the policies that plunged the United States into crisis, but "on steroids, which will get you the same consequences as before, on steroids".

Clinton appl0auded Obama's efforts in healthcare, clean energy promotion and student loan reform, and argued that US employment levels were rebounding quickly from the financial and mortgage crises that took hold before Obama took office.

Making fun

"Look, the man's not Houdini, all he can do is beat the clock. He's beating the clock," he said, comparing the pace of US recovery to Japan's extended weakness after its own crisis. "The last thing you want to do is to turn around and embrace the policies that got us into trouble in the first place."

Fresh from the previous night's White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, where he took several digs at Romney, Obama was clearly in good humour at the Virginia event.

Turning to foreign policy, Obama said he and Hillary Clinton had "spent the last three and a half years cleaning up other folks' messes", and made fun of Romney's recent comment that Russia was the United States' "No 1 geopolitical foe".

"I'm suddenly thinking, 'What? Maybe I didn't check the calendar this morning. I didn't know we were back in 1975'," he said. The comment echoed vice-President Joe Biden's criticism last week of Romney as being stuck in a Cold War mindset.

Clinton had not appeared with Obama this election cycle. But last week the Obama campaign released a video of Clinton praising Obama for approving the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last May.

Tickets to Sunday's outdoor reception cost $1 000 and up, and Obama and Clinton later addressed a more exclusive dinner at McAuliffe's home for 80 people who paid $20 000 each.

The money went to a fund supporting Obama's re-election, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties.

  • Dylan Dario Sciarappa - 2012-04-30 14:50

    This is becoming a joke. The American people are starting to realize that the us system is a joke. They are starting to realize that it's the federal reserve along with big wall street banks that are bankrupting America!!! How can one not expect things to be corrupt when presidential campaigns are based on raising the most cash and when most of the the cash comes from the biggest corporate and banking interests. You can't tell me that the president is looking out for the interests of the people when his biggest donors are corrupt banking institutions. Give me a break. That's why Ron Paul who only accepts donations from the people, whose received more from us military soldiers than any other candidate barely gets a mention on mainstream media outlets!!! I think the America awakening is going to happen sooner rather than later that's why so many anti constitution legislation such as indefinite military detention act,the NDAA bill, the patriot act and cispa are being pushed through congress at an alarming rate!!!!

      Jaba - 2012-04-30 15:13

      Ron Paul got just as much of a media blackout as Gravel and even Kucinich. They're all radicals and have no place in the Presidency, but I heard Ron Paul mentioned in mainstream media a lot more than any other fringe candidate. Anyways Ron Paul wanted to get rid of the income tax and tried to explain it by pointing out that the US did fine without it until 1913. The American people started to realize Ron Paul is a joke, just like your Federal Reserve & banking conspiracy theories are just a sad joke. Obama will win again –for the simple reason that the Republicans could not get an appropriate leader to represent them.

      Dylan Dario Sciarappa - 2012-04-30 15:20

      U keep living in a bubble mate. The next financial crisis is around the corner. Ron Paul is hardly an extremist bud he wants to pull American forces out of needless wars that's why the soldiers on the ground support him. He wants to protect the freedoms of the Americans. He policies don't flip flop either like Romney who changes his views just to suit the people he is addressing. And how can main stream media ignore him if he has been a solid second to Romney the whole campaign. Just google Ron Paul and read about his policies before you call him extremist.

      Dylan Dario Sciarappa - 2012-04-30 15:22

      Besides ron Paul knows he won't win. The establishment won't allow it. He is making Americans look at the real issues which no one else has the balls to address

      Fred - 2012-04-30 15:27

      He just doesn't have the presence.

      Fred - 2012-04-30 15:31


      Dylan Dario Sciarappa - 2012-04-30 15:35

      Maybe if he got exposure in the corporate media he would have more presence. He has been in the running the whole time if you look at the polls but he is either marginalized or just flat ignored. Come on this fact just can't be argued!!!

      Jaba - 2012-04-30 15:45

      On foreign policy, Ron Paul wants to bring home all the US troops and shut down bases thus end US influence. This cannot happen. There hasn't been another world war since the US expanded and put bases all over the globe. Foreigners love him because of this, “ending American influence”. Why else would they like him so much? The world hates the US, but the US also keeps the world in check when you think about it. The US’s real allies like the ones in the region of North Korea and Iran need the US now more than ever. Ron Paul wants to withdraw ALL troops... Not just the ones in the Middle East. He wanted to break agreements the US has with other countries (like Japan and S. Korea) to maintain military presence in the area. The US can't break standing agreements to save some money while telling their allies to go F themselves. The last time the US weren’t all around the world, WW2 broke out and Nazi Germany and Japan steam rolled peoples everywhere. And during the Cold War only the US could have truly stood up against the USSR (communism). America must be involved in some way. USA will continue to dominate world affairs for years to come. The last time the US tried this isolationist approach it caused (indirectly) the great depression and the Second World War. The US is at a point where they have no choice but to be the leaders of the free world and everything that that involves; this makes Ron Paul redundant at this time.

      Dylan Dario Sciarappa - 2012-04-30 16:10

      So Ron Paul wants to end wars, and there maybe agreements, so let's just expand the wars like obama and the other candidates want to do ie bomb Iran which will have disastrous consequences for the world as a whole and may in fact bring about ww3 forget the fact that the us simply cannot afford these wars with there 15,6 trillion dollar debt And for you to say that people are happy to have us military bases in there countries think again mate. Some of my family live in Italy and the us wants to expand a base they have near my families village there have been mass protests in that village because they simply do not trust the us. The us used to be a force for good but no longer I'm afraid. The military industrial complex and banking sectors and other corporate entities wield to much influence in Washington through all the lobbying ( ie bribery) that goes on. How can it not become corrupted!!!! Below is a quote from president Eisenhower when he left office. "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together" Kennedy came after Eisenhower, he had listened to the warning and wanted to end the federal reserve and cut military spending. We all know what happened to him. Coincidence? I think not.

      Jaba - 2012-04-30 16:47

      The farewell speech… yes I know it well… however, January the 17th 1961 is not the 30th of April 2012. I apologise if I don’t agree with your conspiracy theories of Kennedy’s death either. But I am not going to apologise for supporting freedom and democracy. The US is involved in many smaller wars to give you and your family (even the ones in Europe) the freedoms of democracy (by keeping earth in check – no one step out of line) – i.e. free speech, the vote, freedom of religion etc that the ‘free world enjoys (and some like you take for granted) They say better the devil you know. Well think of a world without the US; Communist South Africa without your freedom to write on News24 for one. For it was the Americans and the west whose pressure ended Apartheid – not the violence that the USSR pushed for while it was training ANC operatives. Madiba chose peace not war thank God. Some of the Arab world is still influenced by Russia today – do you like what you see in Syria? The “threat” to attack Iran is just that - A threat… and it worked well! The Iranian Mad Mullahs & Ayatollahs already stated that nuclear weapons are “un-Islamic” as a means to quietly change direction, running with their tail between their legs. The Strait of Hormuz are safe and with it all the Gulf States from Kuwait, UAE, Oman etc (and even the US’s second best-friend) have all let out a sigh of relief – for another big war has been averted by… a threat.

      Denny - 2012-04-30 16:53

      The isolationism sometimes cited as a factor in the Great Depression was economic isolationism. (Besides stricter immigration controls, they employed very restrictive trade barriers with other countries). I think all the candidates want to remain part of the international trading community (suicidal not to) but they differ on the extent at which they believe the world should be policed. For South Africans - it is possibly beneficial to have the US as a world police. They keep order, they are a devil we know and any screw ups they make and anger they cause will be directed at them (and not us). For their own sake, I believe the extraordinary cost it involves and the dangers it involves makes it not worth the effort. They are now saddled with national debt greater than their GDP which is just horrifying. Obama is running a 10% or so yearly deficit and his 10 year plan is meaningless as it extends past when he could realistically be held accountable for the economy anyway. Instead he talks about "Buffet taxes" which wouldn't make a dent in the deficit. Political pandering if ever I saw it. Romney helped close the state deficit during his time as Governor of Massachusetts but he also looks like he will struggle to make the hard calls. I believe the US is heading into some really tough times. I hope I'm wrong.

      Denny - 2012-04-30 17:03

      @Jaba - the fed/banking shenanigans are a joke? Yeah, sounds like crackpot conspiracy to me too. I totally trust without question anything which can create with a click of a button that which I must constantly work for.

      Dylan Dario Sciarappa - 2012-04-30 17:21

      Until people realize that privately owned central banking is at the root of the worlds problems such as being faced in Europe and the us the world will continue on the current decline we see playing out in front of us! The masses are however waking up to the fact thats why we see popular uprisings such as occupy wall street and mass demonstrations across Europe such as Spain Greece Romania etc.

      Dylan Dario Sciarappa - 2012-04-30 17:26

      @ jaba you keep on believing the politicians who have been found out lying time and time again. They say 'everything is going to be fine we are recovering' Here's an interesting read on Obamas lies and what he said he would do and what he has actually done. These are facts which can all be verified.

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