President Bill Clinton ditched his Democratic talking points Thursday night, telling his TV interviewer that Gov. Mitt Romney’s investment capital work qualifies him for the presidency.
“This is good work… There’s no question that a man who has been a governor and has a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold,” he said on CNN.
Republicans hope that statement could deeply damage Obama’s effort to paint Romney as unqualified and irresponsible, and a short portion of the interview was showcased Friday morning by emails from the Republican National Committee.
Clinton and Obama have been rivals since 2007, when Obama challenged and eventually defeated Hillary Clinton in the hard-fought Democratic primaries leading up the 2008 election. Without Obama, Bill Clinton would likely be in the White House as first spouse to President Hillary Clinton. (RELATED: Clinton gives Obama faint praise)
In the CNN interview, Clinton provided some support for Obama’s argument that the 2012 election is a choice between the programs pushed by Romney and Obama, and not a referendum on the current president.
A referendum-style election could be problematic for Obama because the nation has suffered through record debts and deficits, record unemployment and sharp political divisions during his time in the White House.
For voters, Clinton said, “the real issue ought to be what has Governor Romney advocated in the campaign that he will do as president, what has President Obama done and what does he propose to do.”
“That’s the most relevant thing.”