Photograph by Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images.
Bill Clinton generated a fair amount of headlines recently when he offered some gentle criticism of President Obama’s handling of the debt-ceiling negotiations (specifically that he didn’t do enough to raise the ceiling before it became a messy partisan fight that threatened to lead to default).
But Politico reports the former president now says that, on second thought, the criticism he included his new book, Back to Work, was misplaced. "I was wrong—see that didn’t hurt too bad," Clinton told the audience at a New York City event on Tuesday.
Clinton explained that since his book was published he had received a clarifying email from Gene Sperling, one of Obama’s economic advisers who also worked in the White House under Clinton. The former president said that Sperling assured him that Obama had indeed attempted to package the debt-ceiling increase with an extension of Bush era tax cuts last year, as Clinton had suggested Obama should have done to avoid the messy and protracted fight. "Oh, we tried," Clinton said Sperling told him.
That effort, however, was blocked by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who threatened to filibuster the package. Clinton explained that at the time he wrote his book, he had incorrectly believed that Senate rules would have prevented a filibuster of the legislation.