It turns out that the president’s recent meal with Republican senators wasn't the only dinner party he's held this month with famous folks in Washington.
The president and the First Lady dined at the White House with former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week, the White House confirmed Friday.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest characterized the March 1 get-together as a “private dinner” but declined to offer further details about what was discussed.
While Obama’s former presidential rival Hillary Clinton has been taking time out of the spotlight after her departure from Foggy Bottom, former president Bill Clinton made headlines this morning with an op-ed advocating for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage act, which he signed in 1996.
The dinner was first reported by POLITICO.
This story was originally published on Fri Mar 8, 2013 1:18 PM EST
"Booming," "sky-high," and "formidable" are just a sampling of the adjectives often used to describe Hillary Clinton's popularity, as DC pundits speculate about her perceived ambitions for 2016.
Pool / Getty Images
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton attend a dinner for Kennedy honorees on Dec. 1, 2012 in Washington, D.C.
It's correct that Clinton (bested only by her husband Bill) enjoys the second highest approval rating of the public figures we asked about in our most recent NBC/WSJ poll. With a 58% positive / 28% negative split overall (and 100 percent name recognition), she has the kind of numbers that most political figures experience only in daydreams.
And it's also worth noting that neither she nor her husband are strangers to the political doldrums. In April 2008, as her prospects for a primary comeback waned, she had a net negative overall approval rating. When Bill Clinton left the presidency, after his controversial pardon of Marc Rich, just 34 percent of Americans viewed him positively.
But as both have seen their numbers rebound to their current highs, are the Clintons' stores of political goodwill -- built up by a couple that has largely stayed above the political fray since the end of the 2008 election -- resilient enough to bolster another run for the presidency by Hillary?
Here's a look at where both Clintons stand right now with some of the groups that make up a campaign-building coalition.
(As with all deep dives into cross-tabs, insert caveat here that the margin of error for these subgroups is by definition higher than the poll's overall MOE of +/- 3.10%.)
Hillary Clinton enjoys a 70 percent approval rating among women. Almost seven-in-ten Hispanic respondents and and 87 percent of African-Americans also said they view her positively.
While she is hardly beloved by the party she once derided for its penchant for "right wing conspiracy," her marks with Republicans are better than the current president's. A quarter of Republicans in the NBC/WSJ survey gave her positive ratings, while 52 percent of independents said the same. (Compare that to 10 percent of GOP respondents and 45 percent of indies for Obama.)
Other than being slightly underwater among white men, she has net positive ratings among almost every key constituency, with notable strength among suburban women (+44 points), blue collar workers (+24 points) and retirees (+18 points).
And then there's Bill.
The former president, who once stood at the brink of impeachment, has nearly regained the popularity he enjoyed at his first inauguration in 1993. Just a quarter of the poll's respondents said they view Bill Clinton negatively. His numbers with Republicans and independents are comparable to his wife's, but his overall popularity is buoyed by strength among white men, who view him positively by a margin of more than 30 points.
Both Clintons are also unsurprisingly strong with the Democratic base -- a data point that's notable only in light of the blistering attacks both launched on Barack Obama during the 2007-2008 primary battle. Disapproval for either barely registers among respondents who classified themselves as liberals or core Democrats.
None of this is to say that the daily volleys of a possible campaign wouldn't create some cracks in the Clintonian armor; Hillary Clinton's approval rating dropped by 10 points in the two bruising months after the Iowa caucuses in 2008, for example.
CONCORD, N.H. – Riding Saturday night’s momentum from their first appearance at a rally together, President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton took to the small Granite State capital to make their case for the former’s second term.
Introducing the president, Clinton reminded the crowd how good New Hampshire had been to him when he first ran for president, leaving unsaid that the state also voted for his wife Hillary in the 2008 Democratic primary.
“Twenty years and nine months ago, New Hampshire began the chance for me to become president,” Clinton told the 14,000 people gathered in a park near the statehouse here.
But, he added, he was much more enthusiastic about campaigning for Obama now than he was for himself.
“Maybe because I have done this work. Maybe because I know how hard it is,” he said.
"Twenty years and nine months ago, New Hampshire began the chance for me to become president," former President Bill Clinton told 14,000 gathered in Concord before introducing President Barack Obama. Clinton said he was more enthusiastic for Obama than he was for himself.
And Clinton also played the role of aggressive surrogate for the more reserved president, reviving the “Romnesia” attack line that Obama had deployed in the weeks leading up to the tone-changing Hurricane Sandy.
“As President Obama has told us there’s this great public health epidemic, this virus, sweeping across America causing a condition known as Romnesia,” Clinton said, “and the virus is so rampant that anybody’s vulnerable to gettin’ a little of it.”
For his part, Obama sought to draw a parallel between Clinton’s economic policies, popular around the country in retrospect, and his own.
“Just as we did when Bill Clinton was president, we gotta ask the wealthiest to pay a little bit more so we can reduce the deficit and still invest in the things we need to grow,” he said.
And Obama also gave an unusually detailed plug for some of the state’s down-ballot candidates, a nod to the Democrats’ fight to regain the House, as well as add more governors to the party roster.
“If you want to break the gridlock in Congress, you’ll vote for leaders who feel the same way whether they’re Democrats or Republicans or independents – folks like John Lynch, folks like Jeanne Shaheen, you’ll vote for candidates like Annie Custer, Carol Shea-Porter. You’ll make Maggie Hassan the next governor of New Hampshire,” he said.
Amanda Henneberg, spokeswoman for GOP nominee Mitt Romney's campaign, responded to Obama in a written statement: "With no rationale for re-election, President Obama has resorted to false, discredited attacks and a cynical closing message urging voters to choose ‘revenge.’ The people of New Hampshire, along with the rest of America, will choose Governor Romney’s optimistic vision for our country’s future and will vote for real change so he can get our country back on the right track."
The president continued his frenetic campaign pace, hopping on a plane to Florida after his New Hampshire stop.
Wrapping a whirlwind day of campaigning, President Barack Obama joined Bill Clinton — the last Democratic president, and vocal advocate for Obama — at a massive rally Saturday evening in northern Virginia.
Before a crowd estimated at 24,000, Obama both literally and figuratively embraced Clinton, who has emerged as one of the most dogged advocates for the president's re-election campaign this fall.
"He has been traveling all across the country for this campaign. He's been laying out the stakes so well that our team basically calls him the 'Secretary of Explaining Stuff,'" Obama said. "He was a great president; he has been a great friend."
As the final weekend of the 2012 campaign raised the question of which candidate, Obama or Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, would best move Washington past its intractable problems, Clinton, a president who has only grown more popular since leaving office, offered Obama his imprimatur.
"As you see, I have given my voice in the service of my president," the hoarse former president said, following some local favorites, the Dave Matthews Band, at the rally in suburban Washington.
Both Obama and Romney spent the day criss-crossing the United States to make a firmly centrist appeal, each of them trying to sound upbeat as the clock counts down on Election 2012. Each candidate drew thousands — sometimes tens of thousands — of supporters to rallies in Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, Virginia, Ohio and beyond. And each candidate argued he was the one who could break through the gridlock in a Congress beset for the past two years by bitter partisan fights.
"You know that if the president is re-elected, he'll still be unable to work with the people in Congress," Romney told a sprawling crowd in Colorado. "He's ignored them. He's blamed them. He's attacked them."
Romney spent much of the campaign's final weekend arguing he was the candidate of "change," co-opting Obama's 2008 message to use four years later against the president.
Whether the Republican candidate's claim to to the mantle of change would resonate with a handful of remaining swing voters in just a few battleground states was unclear. Obama seemed to enjoy an edge in states like Iowa, leading Romney by five points among likely voters, according to the Des Moines Register's final poll. But a WMUR poll of New Hampshire also found the president and Romney tied, at 47 percent, in another battleground state: New Hampshire.
That neither Obama or Romney had managed to open a solid advantage over the other in the final hours of the campaign only raised the stakes for the final series of events on Sunday and Monday. Both Obama and Romney — along with Vice President Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan — were set to hit the road for another robust schedule tomorrow. Obama was set to travel to Colorado, Florida, and New Hampshire; Romney's schedule would take him to Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan visited an unexpected state just one week before Election Day: the traditionally Democratic-leaning Minnesota.
Although the Romney campaign was taking a break from campaigning because Superstorm Sandy – which wreaked havoc Monday along the Eastern seaboard, Ryan made two “stops” in the Twin Cities – an apparent nod that the GOP is trying to put Minnesota in play.
The Wisconsin congressman first landed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Tuesday afternoon, walking down the steps past the press with his wife Janna.
This quick photo opportunity for locals came as Ryan headed just across the border into Wisconsin to thank volunteers at the Hudson, Wis. Victory Center for gathering donations for hurricane victims.
“I just want to thank you all for coming together and helping put this effort together. This kind of effort is happening at victory centers around the country,” Ryan told the crowd standing amongst nonperishable foods.
Noting the mere seven days before the election, Ryan added: “I also want to thank you for helping us in this election, for working at these victory centers.”
Alex Moe / NBC News
Paul Ryan stopped by the Hudson, Wis. Victory Center on Tuesday.
Ryan, joined by his wife, brother and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus among others, stopped to grab dinner in downtown St. Paul before boarding a flight to fly back to Wisconsin – giving the press another opportunity to capture the GOP VP nominee in the state of Minnesota which awards 10 electoral votes.
"Hi guys, how are you doing?" Ryan said as he walked into O'Gara's Bar and Grill and took a seat next to his wife and other dinner guests.
President Barack Obama won Minnesota in 2008, but Romney and Ryan have not paid much attention to the state until the past several days. Many believe the GOP ticket may be trying to make inroads in Minnesota and Pennsylvania at the last minute to help Romney’s path to victory on Nov. 6.
The Democrats dispatched former President Bill Clinton to Minnesota on Tuesday – possibly acknowledging that the state could be in play next week.
"I have worked very hard in this election and I'm not running for anything," Clinton said Tuesday at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota, according to Minnesota Public Radio. "And that's because, notwithstanding what Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan say, I am more enthusiastic about President Barack Obama than when I campaigned for him four years ago."
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Pushing back hard at a new ad by political opponents, Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton accused the Mitt Romney campaign Monday of saying "absolutely anything to win" and engaging in an attack on President Obama's auto industry record that is "the biggest load of bull in the world."
Speaking at a campaign rally in Ohio with former President Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden takes on what he sees as "patently false assertions" found in a Romney auto ad.
The tough rhetoric comes after the Romney campaign launched an ad in Ohio claiming that ""Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to Italians, who are going to build Jeeps in China."
Speaking to over 4,000 supporters in Youngstown, Clinton flatly decried that as "bull."
"It turns out, Jeep is reopening in China because they've made so much money here, they can afford to do it and they are going on with their plans here," he said. "They put out a statement today saying it was the biggest load of bull in the world that they would ever consider shutting down their American operations. They are roaring in America, thanks to people like the people of Ohio."
Biden, whose stump speech was even more littered with folksy appeals than usual as he shared the stage with Clinton, accused Romney of "pirouettes more than a ballerina" on his auto industry stances and called the ad "an absolutely patently false assertion."
Mitt Romney campaigns in the critical battleground state of Ohio as a poll shows a dead heat between the governor and President Obama. Watch the entire speech.
"Ladies and gentlemen, have they no shame!?" he added. "I mean, what? Romney will say anything, absolutely anything to win, it seems."
Obama's record on the auto industry bailout is largely credited for buoying his poll numbers in swing state Ohio, a firewall Romney is eager to burn through.
Biden on Monday also accused Romney of proposing to "liquidate" the auto industry, a claim that the GOP nominee vigorously contests.
“Today, Vice President Biden falsely claimed that Mitt Romney wanted to ‘liquidate’ the auto industry, and was dishonest about the administration’s own record," said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams. "Mitt Romney’s support for loan guarantees and warranties for the U.S. auto industry is clear. The Obama campaign is less concerned with engaging in a meaningful conversation about his failed policies and more concerned with arguing against facts about their record they dislike."
As Ohio has become almost a must-win state for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, he has sought to blur distinctions between himself and President Barack Obama on the issue of the 2009 auto bailouts.
A new TV ad playing to erroneous fears that Jeep might move its manufacturing from Ohio to China caps a prolonged effort by Romney to recast his opposition to Obama's actions to prop up an industry that employs one in eight of Ohio's voters.
Romney has sought to reframe his criticism of Obama's handling of the 2009 rescue of General Motors and Chrysler in an effort to combat the president's usage of the bailout to court swing voters in the Buckeye State. The GOP nominee has argued it was Obama who took the companies bankrupt, and has argued that he would be a better president for beleaguered autoworkers.
Mitt Romney campaigns in the critical battleground state of Ohio as a poll shows a dead heat between the governor and President Obama. Watch the entire speech.
And a new television ad airing in Toledo and Youngstown, Ohio, the Romney campaign raises the specter of production of Jeeps moving from the U.S. to China, an assertion which Jeep's Italian parent company has said is blatantly false.
The GOP candidate's new tack represents an effort to play offense on the issue of auto bailouts in the final eight days of the campaign. Obama has used Romney's opposition to the 2008-09 rescue to great effect in Ohio and other Midwestern states, where the former Massachusetts governor must perform well if he's to have any hope of being elected president.
"You saw in the debates that Barack Obama said a few things that were, as he said, whoppers," Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said at a Romney rally on Monday in Cleveland. "He turned to Mitt Romney and said, 'You wanted to take those companies through bankruptcy and not provide them any federal aid.' Let me tell you, I supported a rescue package for the autos, but what Barack Obama said was simply not true. And by the way, it was Barack Obama who took GM and Chrysler through bankruptcy."
Ohio Gov. John Kasich tells David Gregory that the job creators deserve the credit for helping raise Ohio's economic growth.
Ohio's Republican governor, John Kasich, also suggested Sunday on "Meet the Press" that the bailout hadn't been as great as Obama might suggest.
"We are thrilled that we have a strong auto industry," he argued, "but it doesn't account for the growth of 112,000 jobs in our state."
But it was the Jeep ad in particular that marked the culmination of an effort by Romney over the past 18 months to reframe the auto debate on friendlier terms.
"Obama took GM and Chrylser into bankruptcy and sold Chrysler to Italians, who are going to build Jeeps in China," the narrator of the ad says as a clip of a disputed Bloomberg News report appears onscreen, saying Chrysler "plans to return Jeep output to China."
The original Bloomberg report became fodder for conservatives, including Romney, who said last week in Ohio that Jeep "is thinking of moving all production to China." But Jeep's ownership has said it isn't planning to move any U.S. production to China; rather, the automaker is establishing new capacity in China to build vehicles that will be sold in China.
But the ad plays to those ill-founded fears. A fair viewing of the ad might leave that impression with a voter, though the language in the ad is so narrowly tailored that it can't be directly disputed.
That could make a difference in a battleground territory like northwest Ohio, the home to a major Jeep plant that employs thousands of Toledoans and almost left the area in the late 1990s until the city stepped forward to offer hundreds of millions in tax credits.
The Obama campaign responded with a TV ad of its own, accusing the GOP nominee of being "wrong then" and "dishonest now."
Romney, whose father was an auto executive before becoming governor of Michigan, penned an op-ed shortly after the 2008 election, infamously titled, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." The piece for the New York Times opposed the loans for the companies that then-outgoing President George W. Bush and some Republicans (including Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman who would become Romney's vice presidential nominee) had favored, calling instead for a managed bankruptcy for GM and Chrysler with government support for the companies' warranties and for post-bankruptcy financing offered by private lenders.
Obama eventually embarked upon a different course. His administration negotiated a managed bankruptcy with bondholders, autoworkers' unions and the companies' leadership, while occasionally injecting the companies with capital drawn from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in order to stave off a more drastic bankruptcy, and possible liquidation.
Democrats contend that no private financing was available to the auto companies during the bailout, and the government was the only actor equipped to provide the companies with a lifeline while simultaneously negotiating their bankruptcy, from which GM and Chrysler immediately emerged.
The Daily Rundown's Chuck Todd reports with the latest.
The bailout was unpopular at the time, derided by Republicans as a favor for unions, since autoworkers' pensions — in conservatives' view — were favored over dealers and other secured bondholders. Indeed, the Indiana State Police Pension Fund sued to prevent the deal from going forward, but it was rejected by the Supreme Court.
GM and Chrysler both rebounded in the months following the bailout to improve sales and profits, allowing the companies to pay off their loans from the government more quickly than expected. Their success has been heralded ever since by Democrats as a gutsy and successful example of Obama's leadership at the height of the Great Recession.
And since that time, Romney has — at alternating moments — both embraced and rejected central elements of Obama's decision making.
The Republican nominee has argued that it was his original idea, rather than Obama's, to put the auto companies through bankruptcy, though Romney's proposed process would have differed immensely. (Romney's plan wouldn't have necessarily forced GM and Chrysler into liquidation, nor was that what the governor had advocated — contrary to the president's suggestion during this month's debate.)
Romney was most pointedly forced to confront his opposition to the bailout during the Michigan and Ohio primaries in late February and early March. The Michigan native repeatedly called himself a "car guy" while campaigning near the Motor City, and appeared driving a Chrysler in a TV ad.
And Romney took to the editorial page of the Detroit News, where he accused Obama of "crony capitalism" in the bailout and said the companies would have been better off without Obama's intervention.
"Instead of doing the right thing and standing up to union bosses, Obama rewarded them," Romney wrote.
As with a number of other issues since the primary, Romney, the Republican standard-bearer, has tried to soften the edges of some of his harder-charging rhetoric during the primaries.
"I’m a son of Detroit. I was born in Detroit. My dad was head of a car company. I like American cars. And I would do nothing to hurt the U.S. auto industry. My plan to get the industry on its feet when it was in real trouble was not to start writing checks," Romney said at the third and final debate a week ago against Obama.
The GOP nominee's claim prompted the president to accuse Romney of trying to "airbrush history."
Speaking Monday in Youngstown, Ohio, former President Bill Clinton got in on the action. He said Chrysler "put out a statement sayin' it was the biggest load of bull in the world" in reference of the Jeep-to-China rumors.
"He ties himself in more knots than a Boy Scout does in a knot-tying contest," Clinton said of Romney.
President Barack Obama steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Monday. Obama cancelled his appearance at a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida and returned early to Washington, DC to monitor response to Hurricane Sandy.
President Barack Obama canceled a campaign event in Florida on Monday to return to Washington ahead of Hurricane Sandy, a White House spokesman said.
"Due to deteriorating weather conditions in the Washington area, the president will not attend today's campaign event in Orlando. The president will return to the White House to monitor the preparations for and early response to Hurricane Sandy," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
Sandy, a massive storm bearing down on the U.S. East Coast, has forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands residents.
Obama arrived in Florida on Sunday night, coming early to try to beat the storm. He was to have held a joint campaign event with former President Bill Clinton.
PARMA, Ohio -- Two rock stars -- one a former Democratic president, the other a multi-platinum musician -- made an appeal for President Barack Obama to voters in battleground territory in northeast Ohio on Thursday.
Former President Bill Clinton joined forces with Bruce Springsteen for a high-profile appearance on Obama's behalf in the Cleveland area, a key region in a key battleground state that could make-or-break the president's bid for a second term.
Both former President Bill Clinton and Bruce Springsteen were in Parma, Ohio, Thursday to sing the praises of President Obama. NBC's Shawna Thomas reports.
"I've had, I don't know, 20-something jobs before I got elected president. But this is the first time in my life I ever got to be the warm-up act for Bruce Springsteen. I am qualified because I was born in the USA; and unlike one of the candidates for president, I keep all of my money here," Clinton told told the more than 3,000 packed into the gym at Cuyahoga Community College.
An additional 700 crammed into over-flow rooms.
The rally was Springsteen's first stop on the campaign trail this year, but just the latest for Clinton, who's emerged as one of Obama's top advocates, first at September's Democratic National Convention and later at campaign stops throughout the country. Clinton has been to Florida, New Hampshire and Nevada, and will travel tomorrow to Wisconsin.
Springsteen was set to travel to Iowa for a solo rally later in the afternoon.
Both Clinton and Springsteen played up Ohio's Midwestern tradition and the auto industry rescue initiated by Obama in 2009 in their speeches, mindful of the jobs preserved by the bailout of GM and Chrysler. ("I'm thankful GM is still making cars," Springsteen joked. "What else would I write about? I'd have no job!")
During his warm up act, which exceeded 30 minutes, Clinton blasted Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for a lack of transparency, telling supporters they did not put up with the "hide and seek stuff" of the GOP candidate. His budget, tax returns and details about his economic plan are things the former president said the Republican has been hiding.
"I love Ohio, it's an old school place," Clinton said. "We like our families, we like our communities, we value personal loyalty. When you were down, you were out and when your whole economy was threatened, the president had your back. You gotta have his back now."
Rocker Bruce Springsteen performs for a crowd of Obama supporters in Parma, Ohio.
At one point, in making the case against Romney, Clinton acknowledged that the economy was "not fixed," a comment on which the Republican nominee's campaign quickly pounced.
"We agree with former President Bill Clinton. The economy has not been fixed under President Barack Obama," said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams. "Today, more than 23 million Americans are struggling for work, poverty has increased and food stamps are at record levels. Mitt Romney believes we can do better by creating 12 million new jobs with higher take-home pay, cutting spending to put our nation on course for a balanced budget, and actually fixing our economy."
For his part, Springsteen has a well-established track record of supporting Democrats, and he posted a letter on his website Wednesday evening formally backing Obama.
While campaigning in Parma, Ohio, former president Bill Clinton draws comparisons to his eight years in office to the promise of four more years of Obama in the White House, if re-elected.
"This presidential election is different than the last one because President Obama has a four year record to run on. Last time around, he carried with him a tremendous amount of hope and expectations" he wrote. "Unfortunately, due to the economic chaos the previous administration left him with, and the extraordinary intensity of the opposition, it turned into a really rough ride. But through grit, determination, and focus, the President has been able to do a great many things that many of us deeply support."
In front of the crowd today, Springsteen said, "The future is rarely a tide rushing in. It's a long march, day by day. And Obama feels that in his bones for all 100 percent of us."
In a short acoustic set, Springsteen played some of his more recognizeable hits -- including his steel town dirge, "Youngstown," for the city just a short distance from Thursday's rally -- along with a jokingly-composed campaign song The Boss said he wrote at the president's request.
"Let's vote for the man who got Osama," went one line. Continuing about the second debate: "Smilin' Joe really brought the drama."
INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- After Thursday night's vice presidential debate, former President Bill Clinton said he now sympathizes with Paul Ryan, the man he said had the "brass" to criticize President Barack Obama's Medicare savings in health care reform.
Stumping here for the Indiana Democratic party on Friday, Clinton said Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan "let the cat out of the bag" when he squared off against Joe Biden in Kentucky last night.
"You know, I kind of sympathize with Congressman Ryan, he has to defend now Gov. Romney's position that the $716 billion in Medicare savings in the president's budget -- that the congressman voted for -- is somehow a ripoff even though it was in his budget too."
Fact checkers have debunked GOP claims that Obama cut $716 billion from Medicare, and on the stump Clinton has vigorously attempted to defend Democrats record on the hot button issue, most notable at the Democratic National Convention, when he satirically quipped that Ryan had "brass" for critiquing cuts so similar to ones proposed in the budget he authored.
Romney campaign spokesperson Amanda Henneberg countered that "[Obama] has done nothing to reform Medicare for the long haul and prevent it from going bankrupt. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a plan that protects Medicare for current seniors and preserves and strengthens it for future retirees."
But it was more than just Ryan's stance on Medicare that stood to Clinton during last night's debate. He used his stop in Indiana, where the auto industry plays an important role, to take a jab at Ryan's answer to a debate question about Romney's opposition to the auto bailout.
"When Mr. Ryan said last night that Gov. Romney was a car guy, I thought 'Well if having an elevator to stack them counts, I guess he was,' Clinton said. "Let me tell you something about this car thing, it was not a bailout, it was a restructuring that we as taxpayers participated in because the banks were unwilling to save the automobile companies."
DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz discusses Vice President Biden's performance at Thursday night's vice presidential debate, and how the base and swing voters may respond.
The high profile Democratic surrogate was here for the "Hoosier Common Sense" rally for Indiana Democratic senate candidate Joe Donnelly and gubernatorial candidate John Gregg. Both races have garnered plenty of national attention and give the Hoosier State a rare chance to elect both a Democratic senator and governor in the same year.
Clinton, who stressed the need for bipartisanship in Washington, sought to paint Donnelly's opponent, Republican Richard Mourdock, as an extremist unwilling to work across the aisle. It's a position Mourdock himself has seemed to at times endorse, like in May when he told NBC's Chuck Todd that "bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view." The Republican senate candidate unseated 36-year incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar in a primary where one of his main attack lines dealt was Lugar's history of bipartisanship.
"I was raised to believe that nobody's right all the time. Now, maybe Mr. Mourdock is, I don't know. He's way right all the time, I know that," Clinton said to loud applause at North Central High School.
Clinton painted Rep. Mike Pence, campaigning against Gregg for governor, as an equally partisan politician largely void of a record of accomplishment. "It would be like a cold shower for Congressman Pence if he were to become governor, because in the statehouse, you don't have an option of arithmetic rules. And you can't not pass bills. you can't get re-elected like you can to Congress, apparently you can get re-elected for a dozen years and never pass a bill," said Clinton.
Also joining Clinton on stage in the Hoosier State was was former Sen. Even Bayh. Clinton told the crowd that all four men were more fiscally conservative than both Romney and Ryan "because, as I said in Charlotte, we believe in arithmetic."
Bloomberg Businessweek's Josh Green, the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus, Time's Michael Crowley, and the Washington Post's Karen Tumulty discuss the next steps on the campaign trail for President Obama and Mitt Romney ahead of the next presidential debate.
The former president has had a packed schedule campaigning both for Obama and Democratic congressional candidates around the country. From Indiana, Clinton headed to Iowa to help raise funds for Democrats in the Hawkeye State.
"I didn't expect to be quite so involved in this campaign. I have now a daughter who's working for television network and a wife who's got one of only two jobs in the government, the other being secretary of defense, that are prohibited from participating in electoral politics, so you're stuck with me," Clinton said.
DURHAM, NH -- Former President Bill Clinton is now citing Mitt Romney's infamous comments about the "47 percent" as proof that the GOP doesn't practice what it preaches.
The former president, who has established himself as one of the chief spokesman for President Barack Obama's campaign, pounced on Romney's surreptitiously-recorded comments while stumping Wednesday in New Hampshire.
Clinton went after Romney for the video, in which the Republican presidential hopeful said nearly half the country wouldn't vote for him because they pay no income taxes and are "dependent" on government.
"A guy with a tax account in Cayman Islands is attacking other people for not wanting to [pay taxes]. I mean, you gotta give him credit, like I said, that's like Congressman Ryan attacking Barack Obama for having the same Medicare savings he did. When you really bust somebody for doing what you did, it take a lot of gall, you know?" Clinton said to applause.
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been in Colorado more than 24 times but many of the state's voters remain undecided – and very concerned about the economy. NBC's Tom Brokaw reports.
The former president added: "Until this tea party faction took over the Republican Party and strangled it so much that the oxygen stopped running to the brain...until that happened, we had broad bipartisan support for the things that took 61 percent of that 47 percent out from under the income tax because they honored work and family."
Though Clinton made no mention of tonight's debate, he aggressively attacked Republicans and their nominee for being a party of extremists. He said Americans will make a choice in November over whether they want to "celebrate our diversity or to drive a stake through the heart of it."
The former president also highlighted the parties differences in health care reform, an issue that is expected to be a contentious topic in the Denver debate. Clinton gave minor credit to Romney for passing health care reform as governor of Massachusetts, which he said lowered slightly costs in the Bay State. Clinton said of Romney's attempts to distance himself from the law: "He has renounced the only part of his record that has really worked, that he could be advocating in this election.
Nearly 1,700 gathered to hear the 42nd president, many of them young people. Clinton tailored his message around to the college-aged crowd, telling students that Republicans will make it more difficult to pay for higher education. He began his speech telling supporters in the swing state that they have a right to vote where they attend school.
"I had six jobs going through law school. Six. I don't need a lecture from them on personal responsibility. But I had a loan too," he said.
Since his high-profile speech at the Democratic National Convention last month, Clinton has established himself as one of the president's top surrogates, visiting swing states like Florida and now the Granite State. Today, as both Obama and Romney broke from the campaign trail to prepare for the presidential debate, Clinton rallied for the incumbent and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio represented Republicans at an event in Nevada.
NEW YORK -- Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Tuesday laid out his vision for the future of foreign aid, one tied closely to his domestic policy prescriptions which promote the power of free enterprise and of hard work to lift people out of poverty.
In an address to one of the nation's pre-eminent philanthropic groups, the Clinton Global Initiative (the namesake group of former President Bill Clinton), Romney outlined a foreign aid strategy that would emphasize public and private partnerships to boost the economies of developing nations.
While speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney offered his take on why current US foreign aid practices are generally ineffective, saying that building a strong nation through free enterprise is the best assistance America can provide to developing and impoverished nations.
"For American foreign aid to become more effective, its got to embrace the principles that you see in these global initiatives," Romney said, referring to his host, the Clinton Global Initiative's annual conference. "The power of partnerships, access the transformative nature of free enterprise, and leverage of the abundant resources that can come from the private sector."
Romney then outlined his views on foreign aid, which he said should be tied to the opening of markets in developing nations. The GOP presidential candidate argued that foreign aid -- coming from either government or private investments -- should be focused on developing long-term economic opportunity so that the money that is spent has a better chance of making a lasting difference.
"A temporary aid package can give an economy a boost. It can fund projects. It can pay some bills. It can employ some people for a time," Romney said. "But it can’t sustain an economy -- not for the long term. It can’t pull the whole cart, if you will -- because at some point, the money runs out.
The former private equity CEO then debuted a new model of public and private development in his speech, which he referred to as "Prosperity Pacts."
"To foster work and enterprise in the Middle East and in other developing countries, I will initiate something I'll call 'Prosperity Pacts.' Working with the private sector, the program will identify the barriers to investment, trade, and entrepreneurship and entrepreneurialism in developing nations," Romney said. "In exchange for removing those barriers and opening their markets to U.S. investment and trade, developing nations will receive U.S. assistance packages focused on developing the institutions of liberty, the rule of law, and property rights."
"We will focus our efforts on small and medium-size businesses. Microfinance has been an effective tool at promoting enterprise and prosperity, but we've got to expand support to small and medium-size businesses that are oftentimes too large for microfinance, but too small for traditional banking," he continued.
The 20-minute speech by the GOP challenger to President Barack Obama marked perhaps his most detailed presentation of how the United States might interact with the developing world in a Romney administration. It came just hours before Obama was set to address the United Nations general assembly across midtown Manhattan, in a stretch of campaigning in which foreign policy has supplanted the economy as the election's driving force.
Romney was introduced in his remarks by former Clinton, who has assumed an outsized role in the presidential race in recent weeks, as the Romney campaign elevated the former president in an effort to paint Obama as too liberal and far outside the centrist Clinton tradition. Clinton only turned about to offer an outspoken defense of Obama at the Democratic National Convention, a stirring speech which many analysts credit for boosting Obama's poll numbers immediately thereafter.
Taking the podium, Romney joked about his host's warm introduction.
"If there's one thing we've learned in this election season by the way, its that a few words from Bill Clinton can do a man a lot of good," Romney deadpanned, continuing as the laughter in the room subsided. "All I've gotta do now is wait a couple of days for that bounce to happen."