Rendell to Newsmax: Hillary Might Have Made a Better President

Thursday, 14 Jun 2012 08:15 PM

By David A. Patten

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In a comment that may deepen the divide between President Barack Obama and the more centrist faction of his party, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell speculated to Newsmax in an exclusive interview Thursday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might have made a better president than Barack Obama due to her previous White House experience.

Aside from the Clinton comment, Rendell insisted that President Obama had “done admirably” under very difficult circumstances. He added that the Obama campaign was wrong to think that when centrist Democrats dish out criticism they are being disloyal. We’re not,” he said simply.

Rendell, author of the new book “A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great,” has never been one to pull punches. He recently told Buzzfeed he found the tone of the Obama campaign’s attacks on Bain Capital “very disappointing.”

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Rendell’s remark that Hillary might have made a better president was part of a Newsmax.TV interview on Thursday, after the president made his speech promoting his economic policies.

“Look,” Rendell said, when asked if he ever regretted Obama’s 2008 victory over Clinton, “I think Barack Obama took the worst set of problems any American president had been given, and has done admirable. Do I think Hillary would have done as well? Sure. But she would have been encumbered with the same set of problems. Might she have done better? She had a little bit more experience.

“Sen. Obama was a legislator all his life. Sen. Clinton had a little bit of experience in the executive branch when she was with her husband. So she might have done things a little differently, but again, with those overwhelming problems, who knows?”

Rendell added that he worked tirelessly on Clinton’s campaign: “I believe Hillary Clinton would have made a great president in 2008, and, as you know, I worked my heart out for her. In the last month and a half of the campaign I was almost the last spokesperson she had; in fact, one reporter called me the last of the Mohicans. But her job as secretary of state has convinced me, and I think also has convinced millions of Americans, that she would have been a lights-out president.”

Leading Democrats outside the president’s tightly held inner circle have complained in recent weeks that they have little choice but to take their criticisms public because the president’s team in the White House does not always appear to welcome outside input.

Rendell said recent statements by former President Bill Clinton and Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker, which appeared to challenge the Obama campaign’s underlying assumptions, actually lend Obama’s Democratic surrogates the credibility they need to effectively support the president later in the campaign.

“I guarantee you that Bill Clinton in October, when it counts, when the rubber meets the road . . . will be the best salesperson for the Obama re-elect that you can find,” Rendell said.

He added that the Obama campaign does not always appear to understand that: “The Obama campaign sometimes takes the position that if we say anything critical we’re being disloyal. We’re not. We’re being realistic. And I think, as a result, we’re much better persuaders, much better advocates for the president’s re-election.”

Rendell balanced his remarks by supporting the president on several key issues, including his handling of the economy.

“Obviously when you’re in charge, you have to bear some of the burden,” he said. “But I think Americans should remember that the day President Obama was sworn in, we lost almost 800,000 jobs in one month. And the next month, before he had a chance to have any of his policies, we lost 750,000 jobs.

“Well, the last 27 months we gained private sector jobs. Now the last two or three months, the gains were not good. But they were still gains; they were still on the plus side.”

He credited the controversial financial and auto bailouts for helping to turn around the economy.

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In “A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great,” Rendell makes the case that leaders on both sides of the aisle have let the American people down by not being candid with them about the realities the nation faces.

“Too many of our leaders are afraid to deal honestly with our people,” Rendell said.


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