Americans will give Obama a year to get things right: Bill Clinton

February 17th, 2009 - 10:17 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Feb 17 (IANS) Former president Bill Clinton predicts the American public will give President Barack Obama a year, maybe longer, to get the economy moving in the right direction.

And Republicans, who have not yet supported Obama’s economic plans, will come on board as results start to show, he said in an interview with CNN. “More and more Republicans will cooperate with him.”

Obama “did the right thing” by pushing the $787 billion US economic stimulus bill through Congress, even against the objections of Republican lawmakers, Clinton said.

“If I were in his position today, I would be doing what he’s doing,” he told CNN, according to a transcript of an interview posted Monday by the network. “This stimulus is our bridge over troubled waters ’til the bank reforms kick in.”

The package that Obama plans to sign Tuesday will put money in the hands of people to “survive,” and provide resources for state and local governments “so they don’t have to lay a million people off or raise taxes,” Clinton told CNN.

“I think he’s off to a good start,” Clinton said of Obama in a separate interview from Austin, Texas, with NBC’s “Today Show.”

“Given the fact that they had to do it in a hurry and he had to deal with Congress and the inevitable compromises, I think he got quite a good bill out of this.”

Asked his perspective on how the country fell into such economic hard times, Clinton responded by asking rhetorically: “Did any of them seriously believe that if I had been president and my economic team had been in place the last eight years, that this would be taking place.”

Clinton said he had talked to the new president about “nuts and bolts” issues of the presidency and how to keep things from “falling through the cracks.”

Asked by CNN which president he would most identify with, Clinton said:

“Personally, I’m not sure.”

“One guy wrote a book saying that I was most like Thomas Jefferson, but the times in which I governed were most like Theodore Roosevelt’s. And we had - and the results I received were similar. We had - he had enormous success. The country was better off when he quit than when he started.”

Clinton was ranked 15th among presidents in the latest C-SPAN survey of some 65 presidential scholars and experts, moving up six places from where he stood in an earlier survey in 2000.

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