That's not his verbatim quote, of course, but read between the lines:
“They will probably have to put everything off until early next year,” he added. “That’s probably the best thing to do right now. But the Republicans don’t want to do that unless he agrees to extend the tax cuts permanently, including for upper income people, and I don’t think the president should do that.” However, Clinton did say that Congress would be best off agreeing, at least for the time being, to extend all the tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year, including the so-called Bush tax cuts named after Clinton’s successor, George W. Bush…“They’re still pretty low, the government spending levels. But I think they look high because there’s a recession,” he said. “So the taxes look lower than they really would be if we had two and half or 3 percent growth and spending is higher than it would be if we had two and a half or 3 percent growth, because there are so many people getting food stamps, so many people getting unemployment, so many people on Medicaid.”
"So many people getting food stamps..." Newt? Is that you? So Clinton goes on CNBC, calls for the extension of all Bush tax cuts, says Obama's economy is in a recession, and laments the swelling ranks of Americans on the government dole. That's not off-message. That's off the reservation. After the Romney campaign and various Republicans began amplifying his comments, Clinton "clarified" that he totally agrees with Obama, natch, but his reversal was pretty feeble. He's also starting to play coy, pretending that he had no idea that he was complicating The One's messaging. Sure:
I didn’t have any idea, when I was giving that answer, that I was wading into some controversy in the campaign, because I haven’t seen the ads, and I’m not following it, and I’m not really part of it. But you’d have to know about a specific case to know whether it was a good or a bad thing. But there are a lot of good people in that business doing good things. That’s the point I was making.
He's "not really part of" the Obama campaign, you see. He's merely headlining multiple fundraisers and serving as a top party surrogate. Got it. To prove that he really, truly does want Obama to win, he's out there praising Mitt Romney's "sterling" tenure at Bain, while warning that his policies would be "Bush on steroids" and therefore "calamitous," or something. You want calamitous? Read this. Meanwhile, former Obama adviser Larry Summer also accidentally expressed a pro-growth thought on television this morning, again undermining Obama's class warfare blueprint:
Lawrence Summers said Wednesday that Congress should temporarily extend Bush-era tax cuts, making him the second person with ties to the White House who is undercutting President Barack Obama’s position that the rates on upper-income Americans should rise at year’s end. “The real risk to this economy is on the side of slow down…and that means we’ve got to make sure that we don’t take gasoline out of the tank at the end of this year,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. “That’s gotta be the top priority.”
Axelrod must have taken poor old Larry to the woodshed because he, too, "clarified" that he "fully supports President Obama's position." In case you'd forgotten, the president wants to raise taxes on "rich" families, individuals and small businesses that make $250,000 per year. Up to 80 percent of American small businesses file taxes as individuals, and some estimates suggest that nearly half of all small business income would be impacted by these proposed hikes. Just what a sluggish (and slowing), jobless "recovery" needs, right? In any case, these consecutive narrative, er, issues indicate that the White House doesn't just have a national security leak problem. It has a messaging discipline problem. Where's "dead fish" Rahm when you need him?
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography