The right-wing media are hyping a video of President Bill Clinton's speech that was heavily cropped by the Republican National Committee to claim he agreed with Mitt Romney that President Obama has not fixed the economy. But in the full video, Clinton makes clear that the economy has improved under President Obama but hasn't yet fully recovered, a claim nearly identical to one Obama himself has made several times.
At a campaign event for President Obama in Ohio, Clinton pointed out that, while the economy has not fully recovered, the policies implemented under Obama prevented the economy from sliding into a depression and have created millions of jobs over the last three years. Clinton described the economy as "plainly moving back" and concluded "why in the wide world would you dump a strategy that is working for one you already know will not work?"
But the right-wing media are using a heavily-cropped version of Clinton's speech taken from the GOP's YouTube channel to make it seem like Clinton was supporting Romney's attacks on Obama's record. The cropped version features President Clinton saying:
CLINTON: Governor Romney's argument is, "we're not fixed, so fire him and put me in." It is true, we're not fixed. When President Obama looked into the eyes of that man who said in the debate, "I had so much hope four years ago and I don't now," I thought he was going to cry. because he knows that it's not fixed.
Breitbart.com featured the video under the headline "Clinton: 'It is true' Obama hasn't fixed economy." The Weekly Standard's blog described the video by claiming " Bill Clinton said that Mitt Romney's argument 'is true, we're not fixed.' " The Daily Caller wrote:
Bill Clinton can be utterly brilliant. His speech at the Democratic convention was, I would argue, largely responsible for the bounce Obama enjoyed. Having said that, his comments today seem ill-advised.
"Governor Romney's argument is, we're not fixed, so fire him and put me in," Clinton said during an Obama rally. "It is true we're not fixed."
This is clearly true, but is it wise for Clinton to remind us? We hire presidents to fix problems, so an admission that President Obama failed to solve our problems is hardly a terrific rallying cry.
But President Clinton was not only disagreeing with Romney, he was warning voters that electing Romney would not benefit the economy. In the full version of the speech, Clinton warns the audience of voting against "a strategy that is working for one you already know won't work." The right-wing media's cropped version of the video ends before Clinton tells voters to ask which plan will fix the economy and touts Obama's economic record. The section provided by the right-wing media is bolded below:
CLINTON: Governor Romney's argument is "we're not fixed, so fire him and put me in." It is true, we're not fixed. When President Obama looked into the eyes of that man who said in the debate "I had so much hope four years ago and I don't now," I thought he was going to cry, because he knows that it's not fixed. But the question is which path will fix it?
And what the American people have got to decide is whether they believe people like me, who are a little bit on the outside of this, that this was the biggest economic crash since the Great Depression. It continued for a full year after the president took the oath of office. We were going downhill. He had to stop that, put a floor under it, and begin the long road back.
If you don't blame President Bush for the crash -- let's just say it just happened. No, see. If you don't hold the jobs lost against him, then you cannot do what Romney is doing, and hold them against President Obama, right?
So let's take just out from September the 15th, 2008, through February 2010 when we were just careening, and the president was trying to stop a depression. What happened? In the last 32 months, our economy has produced 5.3 million private-sector jobs. That is twice as many that were produced in the seven years after the dotcom bubble burst and the crash happened under the Bush administration. Two to one.
Now, if we are plainly moving back, why in the wide world would you chuck a strategy that is working for one you already know won't work?
Clinton's message, that the economy is improving but hasn't fully recovered yet, is one that President Obama has incited often. In fact, Obama repeatedly greets positive economic news by noting that there is more work to do on the economy.
UPDATE: Fox News also aired a cropped version of Clinton's speech to make it seem as if Clinton was supporting Romney's attacks on Obama's economic record.
On Special Report, chief White House correspondent Ed Henry said, "Campaigning with Bruce Springsteen, Clinton alleged Romney's budget math does not add up, but then gave Republicans some unexpected ammunition." He then played the cropped version of Clinton's remarks.
On The Five, after airing the cropped video, co-host Greg Gutfeld said, "That's a true friend. Way to go."