Bill Clinton: Romney Presidency Would Be 'Calamitous'

Alexandra Jaffe

Former President Bill Clinton lambasted Mitt Romney and Republican economic policies in a speech at a fundraising event on Monday, calling a prospective Romney presidency “calamitous for our country and the world.”

Speaking at the home of hedge fund manager Marc Lasry in New York, Clinton attempted to paint a contrast between President Obama’s policies and those of Republicans. Clinton has been conducting some message triage in recent days, after Republicans made hay off his comment last week on CNN that Romney's record at Bain Capital had been "sterling."

"I think that [Obama]'s got the right economic policies and the right political approach, and I think their economics are wrongheaded and their politics are worse,” Clinton said of Republicans, according to a transcript released by the White House.

Clinton took what has most recently been the Republican tack, of tying Democratic policies to the eurozone crisis and Greece’s deep debt crisis in particular, and flipped it on its head, saying that the GOP and Romney “have adopted Europe’s economic policies.”

"Their economic policy is austerity and unemployment now, and then a long-term budget that would explode the debt when the economy recovers so the interest rates would be so high, nobody would be able to do anything,” he said, adding that GOP politics, which he characterized as “constant conflict,” are wrong.

In contrast, he said, Obama has “good policies. He's got a good record. He's made the best of a very challenging situation. He deserves to be reelected.”

Obama, too, in his remarks strove to offer a contrast between his policies and those of the Republican Party, saying that the GOP has “changed” and turned to “an absolutism” on government involvement in the economy.

“What’s changed is the Republican Party. They have gone from a preference for market-based solutions to an absolutism when it comes to the marketplace; a belief that all regulations are bad; that government has no role to play; that we shouldn’t simply be making sure that we balance the budget, we have to drastically shrink government and eliminate those commitments that have ensured a middle class had a chance to succeed and to thrive for several generations,” he said.

Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified the day of the fundraiser. It was Monday.