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Il Giornale, Italy

What Clinton Really Thought of Obama

By Orlando Sacchielli

There has never been good blood between the two.

Translated By Axel Ndianabo

3 June 2013

Edited by Lau­rence Bouvard

Italy - Il Giornale - Original Article (Italian )

Bill Clinton gave an enormous helping hand to Obama during the last election. However, there has never been good blood between the two. In 2008, the former president had supported his wife Hillary’s candidature at the Democratic primaries. The primaries were then won by Obama, who later asserted himself during the presidential election, followed by beating Republican John McCain. Four years on, with Hillary working side by side with Obama as secretary of state, has the former president changed his mind about Obama? Not really, to the point of considering him incompetent and incapable. Despite this contemptuous point of view, Clinton helped Obama during the electoral campaign, in return for endorsement of his wife Hillary for the 2016 election, as the famous American journalist and writer Edward Klein writes in the reissue of his book “The Amateur” (released in May 2012).

Clinton, says Klein, would have liked Hillary to challenge Obama again; Clinton considered the tenant of the White House not up to the task. However, it would have been potentially devastating for the Democrats to renounce their own president, hampering his race for a second term.

In his book, Klein quotes statements that close allies attribute to Clinton: “I’ve heard more from Bush, asking my advice than I’ve heard from Obama. I have no relationship with the president — none whatsoever. Obama doesn’t know how to be president. He doesn’t know how the world works. He is incompetent. He’s an amateur.” Clinton was pressured to make the agreement, confirmed in the summer of 2012, by David Axelrod, Obama’s most important political adviser, who was worried by the growing support for Romney. This “moderate” support from Clinton would have been decisive for Obama, starting from the famous speech in Charlotte to the Democratic Convention, all based on the economy and on the numbers.

According to “The Amateur,” once the election was over, Obama reconsidered and let Clinton know that he would be neutral in 2016, “as befits every outgoing president.” The step back was probably due to pressure from Joe Biden, who wishes to run himself. Clinton became furious, to the point of asking — and getting — from CBS a farewell interview for Hillary on her years spent at the Department of State, heralding potentially embarrassing content for the presidency. Obama understood that the risk was too high and reluctantly confirmed the commitment made earlier, by agreeing to take part in a joint interview with Hillary, also on CBS. Will the not-so-secret deal hold? We will know very soon...



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