Barack Obama blasted former President Bill Clinton for “completely mischaracterizing” his policy positions and called for “some standards of honesty” in a televised interview Monday morning.
“You know, if you had something that directly contradicts the facts and it's coming from a former president, I think that's a problem because people presume that a former president is going to have more credibility,” Obama told ABC News’ Robin Roberts. “And I think there's certain responsibilities that are carried with that.”
While campaigning on behalf of his wife Mr. Clinton has angrily criticized Obama and described the Illinois Senator’s political rise as a “fairy tale” promoted by the media.
“He continues to make statements that aren't supported by the facts, whether it's about my record of opposition to the war in Iraq, or our approach to organizing in Las Vegas,” Obama said in his interview. “You know, this has become a habit, and one of the things that I think we're going to have to do is directly confront Bill Clinton when he's not making statements that are factually accurate."
Clinton has countered Obama’s accusations by posting a rebuttal on her “Fact Hub” website. The web page contains a list of news links that the Clinton campaign says prove Mr. Clinton’s statements about Obama’s record to be true.
Mr. Clinton has also publicly taken issue with a statement Obama made about former Republican President Ronald Reagan. While campaigning in Nevada last week, Obama said “Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it."
The former President addressed Obama’s assessment at a rally in Buffalo, New York over Sunday evening. “[Obama] said President Reagan was the engine of innovation and did more, had a more lasting impact on America than I did. And then the next day he said, 'In the 90s the good ideas came out from the Republicans,” Clinton said. “Which it'll be costly maybe down the road for him because it's factually not accurate.”
A CNN/Congressional Black Caucus Institute-hosted Democratic debate will be hosted this evening in South Carolina. Clinton and Obama are expected to discuss Mr. Clinton’s role in the 2008 election.