House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Wednesday that former President Bill Clinton’s appearance at the Democrats’ Charlotte convention will underline President Barack Obama’s failures going into the 2012 election.
“Obama is the anti-Clinton,” Gingrich said during a conference arranged by the Republican National Committee.
“Clinton tried to move the party to the center, Obama has moved it to the left,” he said.
“Clinton balanced the budget… [but] Obama has had the largest deficits in American history,” he said.
“Clinton worked with the legislature in a bipartisan basis [while] Obama has tried to use executive authority in ways that I think are unconstitutional,” he added.
Gingrich’s current praise for Clinton contrasts with the high-stakes disputes they had after Gingrich won a historic GOP majority of the House of Representatives, after two years of Clinton’s presidency.
The GOP victory ended the Democrats’ 40-year control of the House.
Gingrich and Clinton sparred over many spending programs and regulatory measures, bills and budgets.
The result was a historic reform of welfare law and four years of balanced budgets. Clinton dropped many of his left-wing positions, moved to the center and won reelection in 1996, while Gingrich’s GOP allies kept control of the House until 2006.
In contrast, Obama has boosted spending, deficits and regulation to historic highs, and has resisted deals with the GOP since it retook a House majority two years into Obama’s tenure.
“I hope every American when they watch Bill Clinton’s speak will realize how much weaker and less effective a president Obama has been that who is nominating him,” Gingrich declared.
Obama’s award of a high-profile slot at the convention to Clinton was a surprise, because the two presidents clashed during the Democrats’ 2008 primary race, when Obama snatched the nomination from Clinton’s wife, Hillary Clinton.
Since then, the two presidents have traded verbal jabs.
But Obama likely gave Clinton the high-profile position to boost 2012 turnout by Democrats who are unhappy with Obama’s record, and also to minimize any media-magnified controversy at the convention.