Bill Clinton Takes Back Some of His Obama Criticism

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Last night, Bill Clinton said that one his criticisms of Obama in a passage of his book, Back to Work--that Democrats didn't try enough to raise the debt ceiling before the crisis this past summer--was "wrong." At an event in New York, Politico's John F. Harris reported that the former president took back a criticism after he got a note from Gene Sperling, an Obama economic adviser, that Democrats tried to raise the limit but were just thwarted by Sen. Mitch McConnell:

Sperling, Clinton recounted, assured him that, "Oh, we tried." The Democrats’ efforts, according to Clinton’s account of what Sperling told him, were thwarted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), who threatened to filibuster the entire package if an increase in the debt limit was included. Clinton said he incorrectly believed that Senate rules would not have allowed a filibuster of this type of fiscal measure.

"I was wrong—see that didn’t hurt too bad," Clinton told the audience.

Which is what Obama's theoretical meddling older brother would say. Kidding aside, when the book was released the passage (and others) were used in headlines to show that Clinton was criticizing the President. At the time, The New York Times noted that the president expressed "incredulity" that Democrats couldn't raise the debt ceiling and The Associated Press similarly wrote Clinton "appears mystified still as to why Obama allowed such a perilous showdown."

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