House Democrats gave former President Bill Clinton a warmer reception than they did the current president earlier this week, holding the room at attention while he outlined his views on gun control, immigration, healthcare and other vital issues facing the country.
It was clear that Clinton is still revered as an elder statesman of sorts, with one person in the crowd at the annual policy retreat even yelling out “We miss you!” as Clinton started his remarks, The Washington Post reported
President Barack Obama addressed the group on Thursday, but his reception was not near that of Clinton, who delivered a 40-minute discourse, with few prepared remarks, to the delight of the gathered Democrats.
Some highlights included:
• On immigration and gun control Clinton said: “It’s important to do immigration right and as soon as possible. And I think it’s important to take some action, now that it is possible, on the issue of gun violence, but it’s important to do it right. But I think we should assume going forward that people who disagree with us honestly in our approach will not make it quite as easy to draw the contrast by the things they do and say as they did last time.
• On Obamacare:”We Democrats own the health reform issue now . . . I personally think it was the best bill you could have passed under the circumstances given the filibuster problems in the Senate . . . But it really matters how it’s implemented. And if certain problems come up that need changing, you need to get caught trying to change them, even if you can’t pass them. Because we have to do this right.”
• On immigration overhaul: “I\would be as forward-leaning as I could for any number of reasons. There is now a standing annual demand for 120,000 workers with computer science degrees and in spite of the fact that you have college graduates working buried in debt and waiting tables, we only produced 40,000 people with computer science degrees . . . I would give every college graduate in America that comes from another country with no security issues whatever incentive I have to stay here and work until we solve this problem.
• On gun control politics: “I see this whole gun issue as an opportunity, not a toxic landmine. But it depends on how you do it . . . I think we ought to stay with this issue, but you can do it in a way that recognizes that there are people out there that aren’t supposed to be part of our demographic, they’re thinking about this too. They were sick from those children who were killed. I guarantee you, a lot of people from where I grew up were asking themselves this practical question: If that young man had had to load three times as often as he did, would all those children have been killed?
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