Bill Clinton: Obama Handled Controversial Stimulus Well

Former President Bill Clinton was on The Today Show this morning. He gave team Obama some kudo’s on handling the economic stimulus bill, telling NBC’s Ann Curry that he thought President Barack Obama is “off to a good start.”

Clinton, who left his successor with a federal budget surplus, offers George W. Bush’s successor high marks for winning a $787-billion economic stimulus one month in office – a spending plan that pushes an already swollen Bush-era federal deficit well past $1 trillion.

The former president, in an interview aired this morning on NBC’s Today show, says the new president and his economic team have handled a controversial stimulus well – “given the fact that they had to do it in a hurry.”

Clinton, was optimistic on the current economic crisis, saying that the “nation will get through” it and suggesting that the stimulus package will be “our bridge over troubled waters.”

Ann Curry asked Bill Clinton if he thought “‘the greatest threat to U.S. security now is the global economic crisis – as the Obama administration’s director of national intelligence has reported.”

“In the short tern,” yes, Clinton says, yet terrorism remains a longer-term threat. In the face of the short-term threat, he says, Obama has gotten a good start. He also has offered Obama some private advice, but declines to discuss it in this interview. […]

“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,” Clinton says. […]

Of course, the political battle over the stimulus package is not over. In fact it is probably just beginning. The sides have been drawn and Republicans will continue to press that they think the package will be a failure.

Bill Clinton did not hestitate to remind viewers on The Today Show that perhaps “the economy would not be in the shape it is in today, if his economic team still had been in place.” He’ll get no argument from me on that one. Times were good, economically speaking, in my opinion when Bill Clinton was President.

All eyes are now on Obama’s team to see what will happen with this package, which he will sign tomorrow. I am determined to remain optimistic, because watching the economy sink lower daily is just too damn depressing.

UPDATE: More good stuff from Bill Clinton… Clinton was in Austin, TX, over the weekend hosting the Clinton Global Initiative University. CNN’s John Roberts interviewed him. The text of the interview is here.

[Originally published at]

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