Bill Clinton feels Obama's pain

Former President Bill Clinton expressed empathy Sunday for President Obama's weak poll numbers, but suggested his fellow Democrat would see higher approval ratings once voters know who his Republican opponent will be.

"When you are out there running against yourself and people feel miserable, it's hard to see your numbers go up," Mr. Clinton said in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation."

According to a CBS News/New York Times poll released Friday, Mr. Obama's job approval rating has fallen to 43 percent, the lowest of his presidency. And his disapproval is at an all-time high of fifty percent.

Obama's approval rating drops to all-time low
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Host Bob Schieffer asked the former president about a suggestion from former Clinton adviser James Carville that Mr. Obama should fire much of his staff if he wants to get re-elected next year.

"I understand what James was saying," Clinton said, but the "the right thing to do is what the president did," in terms of outlining a plan for lowering the 9.1 percent unemployment rate.

"When he's got a real opponent and people get to evaluate real alternatives, and they get to see how the Republicans respond to his speech ... I think we'll be in a different world politically," Mr. Clinton said.

The former president urged lawmakers on Capitol Hill to focus on stimulating growth in the U.S. economy before efforts to reduce the deficit.

  • Corbett Daly On Twitter»

    CBSNews.com Deputy Politics Editor Corbett B. Daly is based in Washington. He has worked at Reuters, Thomson Financial News and CBS MarketWatch.

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