SPOKANE, Wash. — Bill Clinton, while campaigning for his wife in Spokane, Washington, on Monday, seemingly knocked President Barack Obama’s legacy in a riff that his aides said was unintended.
“If you believe we can 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, then you should vote for her,” the former president said about his wife.
Republicans immediately seized on the comment, with the Republican National Committee arguing that the comment “is about as off message as you can get” in an email to reporters.
A Bill Clinton aide later clarified that the former President was “referring to the GOP’s obstructionism and not President Obama’s legacy.”
But that didn’t stop the GOP from posting this video of the Clinton speech on YouTube.
The former President regularly heralds Obama, especially while campaigning for Hillary Clinton, a candidate who has gone lengths to tie herself to the legacy of the two-term Democratic President.
“I think President Obama deserves a lot of credit for doing what he did with one hand tied behind his back because a lot of the people that elected him in 2008 didn’t show up in 2010; that’s our fault,” Bill Clinton said in February, commending Obama for his work despite congressional opposition.
Angel Urena, Bill Clinton’s spokesman, did not directly explain what the former President meant by the “awful legacy of the last eight years,” but reiterated that Bill Clinton thinks “President Obama doesn’t get the credit he deserves for setting us back on course for economic prosperity.”
“When Republicans controlled the White House, their trickle-down approach drove our economy to the brink of a collapse,” Urena said. “After President Obama was elected, Republicans made it their number one goal to block him at every turn. 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.”
Hillary Clinton regularly lauds Obama’s legacy, particularly when speaking to audiences friendly with Obama.
While campaigning in Arizona on Monday, Clinton repeated her oft-used line about how her former rival “doesn’t get the credit her deserves” for bringing the economy back from the brink after the 2008 crash.