A day earlier, Bill Clinton suggested that Congress should temporarily extend the tax cuts, but later in the evening a spokesman for the former president walked back his comments.
Mr. Clinton “doesn’t believe the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should be extended again,” a spokesman said. Mr. Clinton’s comments on tax policy, in an interview on CNBC, left the Obama re-election campaign “upset,” and the campaign quickly asked Mr. Clinton to “correct” his remarks, a person familiar with events said.
How many times has he kneecapped The One in the past week? First he said that Romney had a “sterling” business record and was qualified to be president — watch Krauthammer for more on that — then he politely noted at a fundraiser with O that he’s the only president in recent times to balance the budget, then he came out yesterday and endorsed a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts. I thought that would end up helping O long-term but his campaign evidently doesn’t agree. And then there’s this. Show of hands: How many people think Bill Clinton, the consummate political animal, had no idea that praising Romney for his business career might prove unhelpful to Obama’s messaging?
I didn’t have any idea, when I was giving that answer, that I was wading into some controversy in the campaign, because I haven’t seen the ads, and I’m not following it, and I’m not really part of it. But you’d have to know about a specific [private equity] case to know whether it was a good or a bad thing. But there are a lot of good people in that business doing good things. That’s the point I was making.
There’s no one in American political life who’s more fun to write about than Clinton for the simple reason that it’s impossible to give him the benefit of the doubt on anything. He’s famously highly intelligent, famously devious, and, per his mastery of “triangulation,” famously willing to cross other Democrats to protect his own interests. When in doubt, you always, always assume he’s working an angle. What’s his angle here? Is it as simple as protecting his own legacy as the only Democrat in modern times to be reelected? Or, as I think many righties believe, are we seeing “Operation: Elect Hillary” in effect? If the latter, how would an Obama loss advance Hillary’s chances in 2016? Granted, it’s unusual for Americans to grant one party 12 years in the White House, but if Romney wins in November and the economy comes roaring back, it’ll be next to impossible to defeat him as an incumbent in four years. What’s Slick’s game? Remember, no theory is too nefarious.
Update: Greenroomer Howard Portnoy speculates.