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Tipsheet

Did Bill Clinton Slam Obama's 'Awful Legacy'?

Did former President Bill Clinton just take a jab at Obama? It appears so given that he described the last eight years as “awful” at a campaign event in Spokane, Washington earlier this week [emphasis mine]:

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“I literally from the time I met her 45 years ago until we talked yesterday, she is the best change maker I have ever known. She [Hillary Clinton] always finds a way to make something good happen, to make people feel empowered, to buy people into the process, to make democracy work the way the framers intended for it to work. Now if you don’t believe we can all grow together again, if you don’t believe we’re ever going to grow again, if you believe it’s more important to re-litigate the past, there may be many reasons that you don’t want to support her. But if you believe we can all rise together, if you believe we’ve finally come to the point where we can put the awful legacy of the last eight years behind us and the seven years before that where we were practicing trickle-down economics with no regulation in Washington, which is what caused the crash, then you should vote for her. Because she’s the only person who basically has good ideas, will tell you how she’s going to pay for them, can be commander-in-chief, and is a proven change maker with Republicans and Democrats and Independents alike.”

Ouch! Slamming Obama, and apparently the Bush administration, though an aide to the former president reached out USA Today to say that Clinton was referring to the Republican obstructionism during that time.

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"When Republicans controlled the White House, their trickle-down approach drove our economy to the brink of a collapse. After President Obama was elected, Republicans made it their number one goal to block him at every turn," spokesman Angel Urena said in a statement. "That unprecedented obstruction these last eight years is their legacy, and the American people should reject it by electing Hillary Clinton to build on President Obama's success so we can all grow and succeed together."

Yet, liberal writer Tommy Christopher wrote in Mediaite that’s not really the case, and that Clinton had pretty much trashed the current administration:

Throughout the entire speech, in fact, Clinton never mentions the Republicans’ historical obstruction of President Obama, even though he had ample opportunity to do so. Part of that is, I think, a function of ego, of the big dog protecting his own territory as Best President Ever, but more to the point, neither he nor Hillary has a convincing enough reason for anyone to believe that the Republicans will treat Hillary any differently. Elsewhere in the speech, he talks about how Hillary worked with Republicans on several non-controversial issues in order to make the case that she can get things done, but evoking the massive resistance to Obama would badly undercut that. They accused Obama of being born somewhere else; they’ ve been accusing Bill and Hillary of being murderers for going on twenty years.

Hillary might now be wishing Bill had referenced Republican obstructionism, and maybe he really did mean to, but the facts say otherwise. He didn’t, and in that one section, he conspicuously made a point not to. You can quibble over whether saying Obama did pretty good but not good enough is “disparaging,” but as it was delivered, this speech was about a contrast with Barack Obama, not Republicans.

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