MIAMI — Former President Bill Clinton issued a broad defense of President Barack Obama’s record on Tuesday at a Florida university, attacking a Republican campaign of “disinformation” about the president.
Clinton, once at war with Obama during his wife’s failed presidential campaign, has emerged as his best defender, delivering a stand-out performance at the Democratic National Convention last week and earning the title of “Secretary of ‘Splanin Things” granted to him by Twitter and then the 44th president.
“Look around the world today — no country making on creating a society where people share the future — not a single one got there with a militant, bitter, anti-government strategy,” Clinton said, criticizing Republicans for being unwilling to compromise.
Addressing a crowd of 2,300 at Florida International University, Clinton systematically addressed Republican talking points against the president, from the stimulus to Obamacare to the deficit, and set out to rebut each one.
“The Republican case against the president is we left him a mess, he didn’t fix it all, fire him and put us back in,” Clinton said, repeating himself from the convention.
“[Obama’s] case is, well I stopped the slide into a depression, I laid the foundation for a long road to recovery and we’ve begun it, and we’ve got the building blocks of a modern, new, different economy,” he continued, providing in a 40-minute off-the-cuff speech a more concise argument for Obama’s reelection than the president himself.
Rejecting Republican arguments that Obama hurt Medicare by passing Obamacare, Clinton listed off facts and figures and explained the complicated and overlapping entitlement programs to the group of students.
“If President Obama’s goal was to destroy Medicare Advantage, he did a pretty poor job,” he concluded.
“[In 2010] Countless thousands seniors voted because they were given misinformation against people who supported a plan that strengthened Medicare and Medicare Advantage,” Clinton warned. “The first time they did that it was their fault. If we let it happen again it is our fault!”
Clinton also defended Obama on the stimulus — a subject the president has shied away from discussing on his own — saying the unemployment rates in Britain and the European Union are three points higher because they chose the path of austerity instead.
“So the test is not whether you think everything is hunky-dory, if that were the test the president would vote against himself — he says that everything is not hunky-dory,” Clinton said of Obama. “He knows how bad some people are hurting, He knows what the worries are, he knows what the problems are. The test is whether he is taking us on the right direction and the answer is yes.”
Noting this is his first political event on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks since that fateful day, Clinton said he chose to speak in order to encourage the young people in the audience to vote.
“I decided to come here on this day, because I think if you look around how this day is being honored today it’s being honored by service projects all over America,” Clinton said, after recounting where he and members of his immediate family spent the morning of the attacks. “And the most important thing I can say today, before I get into my remarks on behalf of the president, is the you just have 27 days to register to vote in Florida.”
“And you can go online at gottaregister.com,” he added, as he listed ways for people to register to vote. “I like that, slang online. G-O-T-T-A-Register-dot-com.”