Former President Bill Clinton apologized Thursday for remarks seemingly in support of a Republican policy to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for even the highest earners. The remarks piggybacked on other recent remarks by the former president that seemed to side with Republican candidate Mitt Romney on economic issues.
Speaking to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Clinton said he was mistaken about the timing of the tax cuts, saying he thought a decision had to be made before the election, not by the beginning of the year.
"I'm very sorry for what happened. I thought something had to be done on the fiscal cliff before the election," Clinton said on CNN. "I support [Obama's] position, and I think on the merits, upper-income people will have to contribute to long-term debt reduction."
"I really was under the impression that they would have to do something before the election, and I was trying to figure out how they would kick it to last to the election," he added, saying, "Once I realized that nothing had to be done until the first of the year, I supported [Obama's] position."
The former president was also criticized for saying the economy was in a recession. Clinton staff tried to walk back these remarks by saying "on the current condition of the economy, he said at the top of the interview that the main goal for those in Washington was 'to keep the expansion going."
But the gaffes come after similar ones made last week on CNBC characterizing Mitt Romney's business background as head of Bain Capital as "sterling." After those remarks, which were pounced on by Republicans to show a lack of support from Clinton, the former president walked back the comments, saying a good business career didn't qualify someone for office.
"You can be successful in business...if your shareholders do well. You can only be successful as president if the shareholders, the employees, the customers, and the communities do well," Clinton told CNN.
"The fact that I was complimentary of his success as a businessman doesn't mean that I think he should be elected and President Obama shouldn't," he added.
Rumors are rampant of the former president's lukewarm feelings for Obama. Although he continually stumps for the president, helping him raise over $3 million just this past weekend in New York City, he oftentimes avoids questions directed at his personal feelings for the current officeholder.
Regardless, Clinton says he is very committed to Obama's re-election and has praised the president for doing a "really good job" under the circumstances left to him.
by RTT Staff Writer
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