Former President Clinton campaigns for President Obama at Palm Beach State… (Lannie Waters / Palm Beach…)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Bill Clinton said the latest unemployment report shows how President Obama “did a good job with a bad hand” on the economy, with a jobs record in one term that far outpaces what Republican policies produced in the previous two.
But as he made his way through Florida on Friday, including some of the redder portions of the swing state, Clinton said there were other major reasons why he supports his Democratic successor, starting with the fact that he’s “more committed to cooperation.”
In fact, Clinton said Obama "bent over backwards to cooperate with the Republicans," only to be stymied for political reasons.
"He unilaterally agreed to $1 trillion in spending cuts in an attempt to get a budget deal. He waited for months, hoping they could have a bipartisan healthcare bill -- they said no. He gave them a second jobs bill that would have created another million jobs and would have unemployment under 7% today. They said no," Clinton said, charging that the GOP was "trying to keep it above 8, and they were so disappointed when it dropped."
Clinton was referring to the September jobs report, which showed the unemployment rate dropping below 8% for the first time in 3 1/2 years. The unemployment rate for October ticked up 0.1% to 7.9%.
"I want someone who has proven that he will stick by his principles and work in a sensible way with everybody," he added.
Clinton also pointed to Obama’s work this week with New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, and independent New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on the response to Hurricane Sandy.
“We know there’s no Republican or Democratic way to deal with the aftermath of a flood. Florida’s been through enough hurricanes to know that,” he said.
The former president was introduced by a former Florida governor, and a former Republican, Charlie Crist. In an interview before the event, Crist praised Obama’s handling of the response to Sandy -- “showing such great leadership on that issue is phenomenal for Floridians."
Clinton, who by the end of the weekend will have held 49 campaign events for Obama in this campaign cycle, declared himself at the outset here to be “far more enthusiastic about him this time than I was four years ago. And you should be too.”
With Friday’s job report, Clinton said that 5.5 million private sector jobs have been added since the market hit rock bottom early in Obama’s term.
He compared that to 2.6 million jobs added over seven years of the Bush administration, excepting the months after the “dot-com bubble burst” and the 2008 collapse. He offered that exception, he said, after seeing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush “complaining that he thought people shouldn’t blame his brother for the crash.”
“Let’s don’t blame his brother, let’s not blame President Obama. It’s just an act of God,” Clinton said sarcastically.
“So I think we’re coming back. The whole race may turn on this, but I can tell you -- nobody, nobody, nobody – not me, not anybody else – could have repaired all the damage that was done in four years. If you’ve got any friends that are undecided, you need to talk to them about this,” he said.
Clinton had one final stop in Florida scheduled Friday in Tallahassee, before heading to Virginia on Saturday, where he’ll join Obama for a rally in suburban Washington, D.C.