Paul Ryan: ‘Bill Clinton was a different kind of Democrat than Barack Obama’
President Obama will get a strong show of support from Bill Clinton Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, but Obama bears little resemblance to the last member of his party to occupy the White House, according to Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
“Bill Clinton was a different kind of Democrat than Barack Obama,” Ryan said in an interview with CNN that will air during the cable network’s convention coverage. CNN released excerpts of the interview earlier in the day.
“Bill Clinton gave us welfare reform,” Ryan added. “Bill Clinton worked with the Republicans to cut spending. Bill Clinton did not play the kind of political games that President Obama’s playing.”
Clinton will deliver a nationally televised address between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., in which he is expected to offer a full-throated endorsement of Obama, the man who defeated his wife, Hillary Clinton, in the 2008 Democratic primary.
Mitt Romney’s campaign has often sought to reveal cracks in the Clinton-Obama relationship, highlighting critical remarks from the last election and emphasizing areas where the two appear to disagree.
In June, the Romney campaign dug up a December 2007 interview in which Clinton suggested Obama lacked enough experience to be president. Also in June, Clinton said that extending all Bush-era tax cuts is “probably the best thing to do right now,” contradicting the Obama administration’s position that the government should extend breaks for households earning up to $250,000 but allow cuts for higher earners to expire at the end of the year, as scheduled.
Those remarks by Clinton came less than a week after he said of Romney that “the man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold” to be president.
Beyond its attempts to drive a wedge between Obama and Clinton, the Romney campaign has worked -- as Ryan did again Wednesday -- to prevent voters from believing the two presidents are alike.
A Gallup poll in July showed that two thirds of Americans have a favorable opinion of Clinton, and the Romney campaign does not want voters to think Obama is similar to the popular former president.
“President Obama gave us more borrowing, more spending, much more regulating, and it’s putting a chilling effect on job creation,” Ryan said.Callum Borchers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.