(AP) Former President Clinton said Thursday that he is to blame for his administration’s failed health care plan, not his wife, who spearheaded the effort. Clinton was asked about the plan during a campaign event, where he spoke to about 600 people crowded into a YMCA gymnasium. The health care effort was led by then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, now a New York senator and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“She has taken the rap for some of the problems we had with health care the last time that were far more my fault than hers,” the former president said.
He said part of the problem was a lack of money to finance the health care expansion. Money could be available this time to pay for expanded health care, such as the universal health care plan Hillary Clinton has proposed. “This time, when you let the tax cuts for upper-income people expire, it’ll create a pool of money that wasn’t there last time,” Bill Clinton said. “We told her she had to get to universal coverage and there would be no new money. She had to figure out how to do it.”
Clinton added that his wife’s plan faced opposition in Congress, in part, because they had an attitude of “just say no to Bill Clinton.” When asked by a reporter about the former president’s comments, Sen. Barack Obama, a rival for the presidential nomination, said Hillary Clinton shouldn’t tout her experience and then not take responsibility for the failures.
“If part of your basis for experience is the work you did on health care, then presumably when it didn’t work out, that’s part of the experience as well,” Obama said during a brief stop outside a convenience store and gas station in Albia. “We’re focused on trying to deliver a message of the kind of president I would be and why I think I would be the best nominee for the Democratic Party,” Obama said. “My understanding is that President Clinton is not on the ballot.”