Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

College Journalists Interview Bill Clinton

By Scott Butterworth
Addressing a group of college journalists Sunday in New Orleans, former president Bill Clinton said that Sen. Barack Obama has twisted his wife's experience "as a change maker" into "a disability for being elected."

"It is almost impossible to find any Democrat who has accomplished more in less time in the Senate -- and with Republicans -- on both domestic and foreign policy issues, and military issues" than Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, her husband said.

Bill Clinton blamed Obama for a campaign that argues, he said, "If you were part of making good things happen in the '90s and stopping bad things from happening in this decade ... then you are part of a culture of conflict and you are so yesterday. The only way we can have a good president is to make a completely new beginning."

Young voters "have a right to say that, but don't pretend you're not saying that," Clinton added, waving an index finger at the college newspaper reporters as he spoke. College-age voters have gone overwhelmingly for Obama over Hillary Clinton thus far.

Bill Clinton's question-and-answer session with four reporters was taped for national broadcast on mtvU, a network distributed to 750 college campuses, as the first installment of a new "Editorial Board" series. MtvU made a transcript available and posted video clips online Sunday night.

Clinton took issue with the suggestion that Obama has rejected special-interest money in his campaign, pointing to the Illinois senator's political action committee, funded in part by lobbyists.

"He was the only one who kept his PAC. Then in the beginning he spends 40 percent of the PAC money -- 43 percent to be exact -- on Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina politicians. And those states constitute 3.7 percent of America's population. ... [H]e also admitted that his political action committee consulted with his campaign on how to spread the money out. So, therefore, it is not true that he has run a campaign without any special-interest money influencing the presidential campaign," Clinton said.

Asked how his wife's support among African Americans could plummet so dramatically from the levels he received in his campaigns, Clinton responded, "Iowa happened. The minute it became possible that [Obama] could be the nominee; he was going to win the lion's share of the African American vote. And I think that I never begrudged it."

He rejected the notion that his comments about Obama in South Carolina contributed to the decline, saying, "Contrary to the myth, I went through South Carolina and never said a bad word about Senator Obama. Not one."

Asked about whether voters have decided that past drug use -- such as Obama's admission that he tried cocaine as a young man -- will not disqualify a presidential candidate, Clinton replied, "It was also an issue when President Bush ran for the first time, because he didn't answer the cocaine question, right? ... I think the voters rendered a verdict ... that what you did when you were really young is not going to bar you from serving as president."

Clinton complimented Bush for his effort toward battling AIDS and malaria in Africa, noting that the programs "also had a dramatic impact on the standing of America in that part of the world. ... [E]ven though a lot of the countries in Southern Africa with high AIDS rates and high malaria rates are predominately Muslim and may not agree with our policy in Iraq, they still like us because they think America cares whether they live or die," Clinton said.

But he blistered the Bush administration for squandering the economy it inherited for his administration: "In the '90s we had 22.9 million new jobs. In this decade, 5 million. In the '90s we had almost 8 million work their way ... from poverty, up into the middle class. ... In this decade, 5 million falling from the middle class into poverty. It should have been the Republicans' dream."

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 17, 2008; 8:45 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Paulson Warns of Limits to Propping Up Economy
Next: Clinton Says Iraq Surge Hasn't Accomplished Goals


I'll bet Slick's giving Autographs to the Coed Journalists Personally and Privately! ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | March 17, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I hope these young journalists were able to distinguish between fact and fiction. If not we'll continue down the road of the gullable and biased "main stream media".

Posted by: LTCSTAN | March 17, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

If the Clinton's tax returns are so important for transparency and all that, then why don't the Obamas release their returns pre-2006. They released one year's return, but now they are holier than thou. Sounds like the same old political gamesmanship. What happened to the new politics?

Posted by: citi407 | March 17, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse


Do you also think that Michelle Obama is "confusing" the issues by actively campaigning on her husband's behalf? I'd like to see if you are being consistent.

Posted by: JakeD | March 17, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Question for the Clintons:

Why are they fighting to not release their records (tax returns, White House records, list of big donors to their foundation)?


Scandals that they might lead to...

The Clinton foundation received recently a $31.3 million donation after Bill expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader's, undercuting both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan's poor human rights:


In january 2008, the Clintons received $20 million from business deals with Dubai in the Middle East:


Shortly after beeing pardonned by President Clinton, fugitive financier Marc Rich had his ex-wife giving $400 000 to the Clintons library foundation:


Next question:

Are the Clintons really thinking that they can get away with this?


Yes, we are doing this right now. The money is been used to buy support in the establishment of the DNC, and to buy enough time to not have to release these records before the nomination and the general election. That's the power of money.

Posted by: Logan6 | March 17, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

LOL!-The possible future:

" We have an urgent matter and we need to talk to President Clinton.

No, Hillary, President CLINTON!" ;~)

Slick, in through the BACK Door! :-(

Posted by: rat-the | March 17, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Whether one likes it or not, the controversy surrounding the incendiary statements by Senator Obama's longtime spiritual mentor, the Reverend Wright, will affect the presidential race--if not during the remaining primaries, certainly in fall, if Barack Obama becomes the nominee.
Senator Obama's condemnation of his former pastor's statements does not erase the tapes. They will be the most effective ammunition that Republicans could hope for in a presidential race.
See also,

Posted by: bn1123 | March 17, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

++When you start out by putting yourself on a pedestal++

Do you mean like when Hillary was on George Stephenaopalis's (sp?) show and said that the Primary season would be over by February 5th? You are right. When it became clear that Hillary thought she was so superior and would have the nomination sewed up after just a couple contests she DID only have one direction to go. And she has been going lowere and lowere in the vote and delegate counts since!!

Posted by: dyork | March 17, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Who the hell is Scott Butterworth and how did he manage to slip through the editorial mandate for high school level sneering in all reporting on the Clinton campaign?

We demand this post be updated with the appropriate simpering juvenile parentheticals and double entendres immediately!
This will not stand!

Posted by: zukermand | March 17, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

A brief reminder here to the dedicated Obama supporters: Unlike Barack Obama, neither Bill or Hillary Clinton has ever presented themselves as the crusading "one we've been waiting for," in the footsteps of George W. Bush, Neval Patrick, or Eliot Spitzer, just to name a few.

When you start out by putting yourself on a pedestal, claiming to be morally superior to average mortals, you've no place to go but down - even the scripture warns of such self-righteous hubris.

Posted by: ichief | March 17, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Well, as we can see, just like his wife, Bill will say and do just about anything to get back in the White House.

The man is a liar. Period. He was impeached for it.

So thanks for the stump speech on your, er, your wife's campiagn to reclaim the throne.

Posted by: selfsycophant | March 17, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

FINALLY, the Obama fluff is beng recognized as what it is: touchy-feely, good vibes - but no substance. And if truth be continued to be told, Obama would make an even worse Vice-President than he would President. Obama's biggest force factor is his personality and charisma, which would be wasted as a V-P. Maybe in a few years, he'll have the experience to be a good president - but not now. Hillary has both experience AND charisma, and the only way the democrats will be able to beat the republicans in November is if the Obama supporters don't get too sullen and surly to not vote for Hillary.

Posted by: skulldugger7 | March 17, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Well, what makes america more and more isolated from rest of the world is the ignorance of its politicians about the very obvious and simple facts of the surrounding world.I don't know how an oxford graduated president who governed U.S for eight years,even don't know that the southern africa constitutes from five countries(Botsowana,Lesotho,Namibia,South Africa and Swaziland )and of course they are not predominantley muslim.If the next U.S president would be as illetrate as the Messrs Clinton and Bush then unfortunately our planet wouldent be much safer than now specially in middle east and even as you may agree with me in America.No dount america needs a NEW DEAL in its foreign policy, the one which should be based on mutual respect with non-american world (hear I actually mean non-Western world)and not based on the quantity of nuclear war heads.

With love

Reza from Tehran

Posted by: ajaxman200 | March 17, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

"It is almost impossible to find any Democrat who has accomplished more in less time in the Senate -- and with Republicans -- on both domestic and foreign policy issues, and military issues" than Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, her husband said.

Why is Bill Clinton allowed to continually say that he has, select one, "Done the most", "Accomplished more", "Been the most", etc. etc. etc. without anyone calling him on it? It would take a large book to document every time Bill or Hillary have stated as fact that they are "more", and the easily available facts to refute the claims. And yet they are allowed to lie over and over again. Hillary's Senate records has already been reviewed and there is NO SANE WAY to back Bill's statement. Will we see any Democrat in Congress step up and compare their record against Hillarys?

Posted by: dyork | March 17, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"...stopping bad things from happening in this decade..."

Like the Iraq war?
Or like the damage to the Democratic Party today?

She can stop a bad thing from happening immediately, if she steps down, she'll improve the chances for the Democratic candidate in November.

Posted by: old_europe | March 17, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

It's time for the canddiates to stop all the pettiness and start talking about the issues. The war is entring its 6th year and deteriorating rapidly -- while our own economy is melting down:

'Five years after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, many Iraqis still lack access to basic health care, sanitation and clean water, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday.

The humanitarian situation in Iraq is among the most critical in the world, the Red Cross said, noting that the current conflict has worsened the impact of previous wars and years of international sanctions that caused severe hardship in the country.

Iraqi hospitals lack qualified staff and basic drugs, and facilities are not properly maintained, the Red Cross said.

Public hospitals provide 30,000 beds, less than half of the 80,000 needed. Few Iraqis can afford to seek help in private clinics where consultations cost US$2-US$7 (euro1.30-euro4.50) because the average daily wage in the country is less than US$5 (euro3.20).

The Red Cross said Iraqi officials estimate that more than 2,200 doctors and nurses have been killed and more than 250 kidnapped since 2003. Of the 34,000 doctors registered in 1990, at least 20,000 have left the country.

ICRC's head of operations for the region said there was a general trend of abducting and killing professionals. "The medical staff has been particularly targeted," Beatrice Megevand Roggo said.

The neutral body said water supplies have also deteriorated over the past year, causing shortages and forcing millions to rely on poor-quality supplies.'

Posted by: drindl | March 17, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I respectuly disagree with theforme president - concerning his wife and ALL Clintionista posting on this and oth blogs. Mrslinton is disliked by half of America an by ALL REPUBICANS. Therefore how can any intelligent person rationally state she's presidential material?"
Talk mongst yourselves...Discuss.

Posted by: LAGCII | March 17, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton will be Bill Clinton. For Bill Clinton to chatise Obama on taking PAC money is a "fairy tale". This is the problem with having an ex-President like Bill Clinton campaign so hard for his wife. When Bill speaks, many Americans will listen and believe what he says. Why would a former President lie? Right?

Bill Clinton knows that Hillary has gotten most of her money presidential campaign funds from special interest/lobbyist folks. Since no one challenges Bill on his statements until it is too late, the truth about Bill's statements has less impact.

This is issue of special interest money will haunt the Hillary Clinton campaign when the Peter Paul Case comes to trial in September or October of this year.

Obama in 08!

Posted by: ajtiger92 | March 17, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

So it's Obama's fault Hilary hasn't been able to showcase her talents as a "change maker"? I think they might want to look at their own campaign to find the problem. I'm also not sure about any of these "accomplishments". Is he talking about the war? She comes off as complicit and duplicate and that's why she's losing. The bonus for republicans is watching Bill ruin is legacy.

Posted by: buddah1970 | March 17, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama is in competition with Hilary Clinton - not Bill Clinton. Bill is confusing that issue by actively lobbying on her behalf. I think her candidacy is diminishing with Bill's forceful lobbying. It is also diminishing her chance to be asked for a VP because Bill's presence in White House even as a spouse will attract al the media attention from the President.

On the other hand if Hillary wants to elect Bill to be a president again - that is unconstitutional.

Posted by: mike | March 17, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton accusing someone else of spinning the facts during a campaign? Whodathunk?

Posted by: thebobbob | March 17, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Boston Globe reported recent exit poles in Mississippi, Texas and Ohio show Hillary receiving 250,000 protest votes from Republicans. It is not your wife's experience real or otherwise that is a disability to being elected. In spite of substantial Republican votes for Hillary she is loosing. To be nice people like Obama more than Hillary and McCain combined, you have to understand that.

Posted by: dmscontractor | March 17, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

1. What southern african states are "predominantly muslim" and have a "high AIDS rate"?

2."they still like us". Who gave him the notion that muslims hated america? It is america's policies in ME specifically in terms of its bias toward Israel that complicate everything in our relationship with America.

I thought Bill Clinton had much more intelligence than he was showing here.

Posted by: omarb | March 17, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, finger wagging works really well with college students. Keep that up, Bill!

Posted by: pennycentury | March 17, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Did any of the student reporters ask Bill Clinton whether he thought it would be difficult for his wife to win a general election given the fact that she was found to have lied under oath during the TravelGate investigations? Because I'm always surprised that the media lets a candidate who claims to be completely vetted and squeaky clean get away with sweeping this episode under the rug. I know it's ancient history to some people, but come on -- lying under oath?

Posted by: fjfjdvdv | March 17, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Hillary's Internet Stats have been improving greatly the last days. See;

Hillary vs. Barack:
The Google Factor...

Will her husband actively hitting the campaign trail again help or hurt her- that is the question. (He sure is spot on with the economy bit though, that is for sure.)

Posted by: davidmwe | March 17, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company