Bill Clinton: Call Bluff of 'Spiteful' Republicans
Sunday, September 29, 2013 09:44 AM
By: Jesse Hamilton
Former President Bill Clinton, whose Democratic administration was the last to experience a partial government shutdown in 1996, said he wouldn’t negotiate with Republicans on the eve of another shutdown.
“I think there are times when you have to call people’s bluff,” Clinton said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” in which he said Republican tactics to undermine the 2010 health-care law seem “almost spiteful.”
Clinton recalled some “extremely minor” negotiations during his administration’s partial closures and said that, in this case, there isn’t an opportunity for real talks.
“The current price of stopping it is higher than the price of letting the Republicans do it and taking their medicine,” he said. “If they’re going to change the way the Constitution works and fundamentally alter the character of our country and damage the future of a lot of kids, you just have to say no.”
Clinton also addressed a possible presidential run by his wife, Hillary Clinton.
"It'll be different," Clinton said. "Whether she's in it or not, they're all different."
"The main thing you can't do, the great trick in any human endeavor, including politics, is you must learn the lessons of your mistakes and your failures without becoming a general who fights the last war, because every new encounter will be shaped by different forces," Clinton said.
Clinton said Hillary's loss to President Barack Obama during the 2008 Democratic primaries was due to "complicated" circumstances.
"You had two extraordinarily gifted people with great political skills, particularly President Obama," Clinton said. "He'd been in more races than Hillary had, by far. Her first primary election in her life was the presidential primary of 2008."
Obama opening up talks with Iran, Clinton said he had hoped for a similar opportunity during his presidency. He said Obama has time left in his second term to “make something out of this” and should “keep working for the best and preparing for the worst.”
“They have repeated their pledge that they will not develop nuclear weapons,” he said. “We can’t take their word for it. But we can take them up on it.”