Bill Clinton: Romney "thinks we're dumb"

Former President Bill Clinton speaks at a campaign event for President Barack Obama, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Parma, Ohio.
AP Photo/Tony Dejak
Bill Clinton
AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Opening for iconic rock singer Bruce Springsteen at an Obama campaign rally in Parma, Ohio, former President Bill Clinton today railed against Mitt Romney, charging that the GOP candidate "thinks we're dumb."

"We keep saying, 'Show us your budget, where are your numbers?'" Mr. Clinton told the crowd at the get-out-the-vote rally. "This guy ran Bain Capital and is a business guy and he's hiding his budget? That ought to tell you something."

The former president, who this year has served as one of President Obama's most effective spokesmen, blasted Romney for his evasiveness on other issues, such as whether he would have signed into the law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

"He can't even say whether he would sign a law already on the books," Mr. Clinton said. "He wants to convince the moderate voters he's a new man without explicitly disavowing a single solitary commitment he made when he said he was a severe conservative.'"

By contrast, the former president continued, "You will never have to play hide and seek with the president's budget. You don't have to play hide and seek with the president's tax returns."

Mr. Clinton also turned his fire on congressional Republicans, charging "they worked so hard to keep the unemployment rate above 8 percent. They were crushed when it dropped down to 7.8."

He acknowledged that the 0.2 percent drop in unemployment "doesn't sound like much," but said it amounts to "the biggest one year drop in unemployment in 17 years."

"I don't want you to go tell any undecided voter we think it's hunky dory -- we don't," he said of the economy, adding that it's been a "long, slow climb" to recovery. "But we at least are climbing, we're not trying to drive us back in the other direction."

Mr. Obama, he continued, knows the economy is "not fixed. The question is, which path will fix it?"

Mr. Clinton touted the president's efforts to save the auto industry, noting that one in eight jobs in Ohio is tied to the sector. He also hailed Mr. Obama for making Medicare "stronger, not weaker" and for instituting student loan reforms.

Mr. Clinton criticized the budget GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan put forward in the House for its cuts to Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides health insurance for low-income and disabled people.

"I'm sick and tired of poor people not being able to work their way into the middle class," he said. "Most poor people are already working, they just not making anything."

By contrast, he said Mr. Obama's budget is "not only better economics, it honors our values."

"Shared prosperity... is just better economics than trickle down and winner take all," Mr. Clinton said.

After the president spoke, Springsteen -- who earlier in the day made his endorsement of the president official -- took to the stage and explained to the audience why he was campaigning for the Democratic president.

"I came here today because I'm thankful for universal health care, the lack of which was for so long an embarrassment to our country," he said. "I'm thankful for a regulated Wall Street. I'm thankful GM is still making cars -- what else would I write about?"

Springsteen recalled Mr. Obama's inauguration in 2009, calling it "an evening when you could feel the locked doors of the past finally being blown open to new possibilities." He continued, "Then comes a hard daily struggle to make those possibilities real in a world brutally resistant to change."