President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton emerged from a meeting this evening with Clinton endorsing the president’s controversial deal with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts and unemployment benefits.
Obama, who has endured withering attacks from his liberal base and outright rebellion among many Democrats since announcing the agreement Monday, said, “We just happen to have this as a topic of conversation, and I thought that given the fact that he presided over as good an economy as we've seen in our lifetimes, that it might be useful for him to share some of his thoughts."
The president then left, saying he had to go to a holiday party, leaving the former president in the surreal setting of presiding at a news conference at the presidential podium.
Clinton began his remarks with a quip related to the tax cuts: “I want to make full disclosure. I make quite a bit of money now."
On the serious side, he said, "The position that the Republicans have urged will personally benefit me, and on its own, I wouldn't support it, because I don’t think that my tax cut is the most economically efficient way to get the economy going.
But he praised the plan to extend jobless insurance and tax cuts.
"In my opinion, this is a good bill, and I hope my fellow Democrats will support it," he said. "There's never a perfect bipartisan bill in the eyes of a partisan. And we all see this differently."
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