I am delighted when most people criticize President Obama’s policies….but Bill Clinton?
Clinton praises Obama for tough stance on Iran….Sep. 26, 2009
ON JOHN EDWARDS:
JIM LEHRER: First, on the news, do you approve of John Kerry’s selection of John Edwards as a running mate?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Absolutely I do. I think it’s a good choice. I think he brings energy, vitality. He was on the Intelligence Committee, which is going to be a very important issue for the next several years as we continue to deal with terror and other problems, with weapons of mass destruction. He’s come from a different culture. He speaks in a slightly different way. He’ll immediately add some credibility and appeal in places like my home state in Arkansas.
And I think they’ve got a lot in common, and the voters voted for both of them. They both took the chance and ran this year. So I think it will be good.
And the most important thing is it was obvious to me that by the time John Kerry made the decision, he was comfortable with it.
And my advice here almost seems naive I think to a lot of experts, but my counsel was always pick someone you’re going to proud of every day after you do it, because when you’re the challenger, the only presidential decision you get to make is your nominee. And if you like it, if you think this person could be a good President, I would like to work with this person or give this person a lot of responsibilities, it shows in your body language and just the cast of your head and the way you look and think and act for the whole rest of the campaign.
So I got that out of John Kerry yesterday. I feel good about it.
JIM LEHRER: A lot of people have compared John Edwards to you. They say your styles are similar, you come from the same part of the country. Do you see a lot of similarities?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I think there is some. We share a common culture, and there is some similarities in our roots, but he’s very much his own person and a distinctive person, and I spent most of my life in politics before I ran for national office. He spent most of his life in the private sector, and he has had a term, and I think quite a good term as a Senator from North Carolina.
But I think he’s his own man. As the people get to know him, I think they’ll find him fascinating in both the similarities and the important differences.
ON ELECTIONS IN IRAN IN 2005
“…..I know it is not popular for an American ever to say anything like this, but I think it’s true [applause], and I apologized when President Khatami was elected. I publicly acknowledged that the United States had actively overthrown Mossadegh and I apologized for it, and I hope that we could have some rapprochement with Iran. I think basically the Europeans’ initiative to Iran to try to figure out a way to defuse the nuclear crisis is a good one.
I think President Bush has done, so far, the right thing by not taking the military option off the table, but not pushing it too much. I didn’t like the story that looked like the military option had been elevated above a diplomatic option. But Iran is the most perplexing problem … we face, for the following reasons: It is the only country in the world with two governments, and the only country in the world that has now had six elections since the first election of President Khatami. [It is] the only one with elections, including the United States, including Israel, including you name it, where the liberals, or the progressives, have won two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote in six elections: two for President; two for the parliament, the Majlis; two for the mayoralities.
In every single election, the guys I identify with got two-thirds to 70% of the vote. There is no other country in the world I can say that about, certainly not my own.”
ON RWANDA: HIS SORRY APOLOGIES
During President Clinton’s tour of Africa he apologised not once but twice: in Uganda he apologised for the slave trade; in Rwanda he apologised for western inaction in the face of the Rwanda genocide. (The only person who didn’t get an apology, as a number of American commentators remarked, was Paula Jones.)