He didn’t know this either: We’ve always liked Bill Clinton around here. But last week, he made a weird claim about his ill-fated defense of Mitt Romney’s work at Bain Capital.
He spoke with Judy Woodruff on the NewsHour. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/7/12:
CLINTON (6/6/12): I didn't have any idea, when I was giving that answer [on CNN on May 31], 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 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.Say what? Clinton made his off-message remarks on CNN on May 31. That was eleven days after Cory Booker touched off the “controversy” Clinton said he was unaware of.
That claim seemed a bit hard to believe. But one night later, Clinton made a second claim of ignorance which was hard to fathom. On this occasion, he spoke with Wolf Blitzer about another off-message remark he had made.
On this occasion, Clinton discussed the upcoming “fiscal cliff.” Once again, he seemed to be pleading ignorance:
BLITZER (6/7/12): You've caused a stir, as you know, by appearing to suggest that you would be open to temporarily extending the Bush tax cuts, even for the wealthiest Americans in that CNBC interview. You backed off of it a little bit later.Say what? For many months, debate and discussion have swirled about the session of Congress which will occur after November’s election, the lame-duck session in which the issues of the “fiscal child” will have to be resolved.
But where do you stand right now, if necessary, to keep the economy robust?
CLINTON: Well, first of all, I don't think that's necessary to keep the economy robust. And what I was saying yesterday, which is apparently not accurate, is that if this fiscal cliff comes to the president and the Congress and the country before the election, he can't afford to give up his position—and he shouldn't—that we're going to have to have some new revenues to deal with this debt long-term and that we ought to begin by asking those of us in high income groups to pay taxes. I support that position. I always have.
And—but the Republicans may not feel they can afford to indirectly ratify it. So I was talking about whether they needed to put it off after the election and then—but they still have until the first of the year. Now, if they have until the first of the year, in any case to deal with this, there's no problem.
They both have their positions and they'll have to decide how to resolve it by the first of the year, but the election won't intervene.
And, therefore, I regret that all this stirring up is happening, because that's what I was thinking about. I was under the impression that something might have to be done before the election.
Is it possible that Clinton thought there had to be a resolution before November’s election? Plainly, that seems to be what he told Blitzer. Could that really be true?
Around here, we’ve always liked Bill Clinton. These claims are very hard to believe. If those claims are actually true, something seems to be semi-wrong.
Is someone over-extended?
The way a professional does it: In yesterday's Washington Post, Dan Balz commented on Clinton's statement to Blitzer:
BALZ (6/10/12): Clinton claimed he didn't realize nothing had to be done about those tax cuts until the end of the year, an extraordinary comment by a politician who not that long ago said he spends at least an hour a day studying the economy and whose ability to absorb and synthesize vast quantities of information still makes him the party's best explainer in chief.That was "an extraordinary comment," Balz pravdaistically said.