Bill Clinton: 'Honor Commitment' Remark to Obama Meant to Be Supportive
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 11:12 PM
By: Cathy Burke
Bill Clinton says there wasn't any political motive behind his urging President Barack Obama last month to "honor" his Affordable Care Act pledge and let people keep their current healthcare plans: He just wanted to help, CNN reported.
"I was trying to be supportive of it," the former president told CNN Español's Juan Carlos López in an interview Tuesday. "I don't think you can find anybody in America who has worked harder for [Obama's] re-election or supported this bill or went out of his way to explain the bill to the American people more than I did."
After millions of people began receiving cancellation notices because of Obamacare regulations, the president apologized Nov. 7, pledging his administration would find a way to fix it.
Less than a week later, Clinton told the website OZY.com "the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they've got."
The comment ignited speculation he was trying to help distance his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, from the Obama administration as she possibly prepares for a presidential run.
But Clinton denied any political motivation, saying he only spoke about the topic once "the president himself spoke," CNN reported.
"And it was obvious to me, listening to him, that he wanted the American people to feel that he had kept his commitment, and that they didn't understand that he, in fact, did grandfather in — that is, protect — all the policies that were in existence on the day he signed the healthcare bill. That was done," he said.
"I've got a lot at stake here personally," Clinton added. "And the work I have done for healthcare and the work I've tried to support and the support I've tried to give the president — and Hillary does, too. We've been working on this healthcare thing for 20 years."
On the subject of the 2016 presidential election, Clinton repeated he doesn't know if his wife will run, and said it is too early to shift attention to the next White House race.
"I think, and she believes, that the country should spend at least another year working very hard on the problems we have," Clinton said.
"We have very serious challenges in America, and we have responsibilities around the world. I think it's a big mistake — this constant four-year peripatetic campaign is not good for America."
He also praised another potential 2016 contender on the Democratic side: Vice President Joe Biden.
"I've known him for years and years and I have a very high opinion of him. I care a great deal about him and I think he's done a good job for the president and the country," Clinton said. "If [Biden] runs and he's the nominee, I'll try to help him win. I think the world of him."
Clinton is speaking to a number of Latino-focused cable news channels in advance of the Clinton Global Initiative's Latin America meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Politico reported.
In another interview with Fusion's Jorge Ramos, Clinton addressed one of his most parodied political equivocations: "I didn't inhale," Politico reported.
"I didn't say I was holier than thou, I said I tried," Clinton told Ramos. "I never denied that I used marijuana. I told the truth. I thought it was funny."