On Tuesday night, former president Bill Clinton uttered a phrase rarely heard coming out of the mouths of politicians.
It came while he was discussing a passage in his recent book, “Back to Work,’’ that he would like to recant.
“I was wrong,’’ Clinton told an audience at the New York Historical Society, according to a report by Politico. “See; that didn’t hurt too bad.’’
The passage in question was a commentary on President Obama. In the book, which mainly defends Obama’s economic decision-making, Clinton argues that better negotiating would have prevented Republicans from using the debate over the federal debt limit as a partisan issue by pushing the nation to the brink of default. Clinton writes that he does not understand why the Democrats agreed to extend tax cuts from the Bush era last year without forcing the Republicans to agree to an increase in the debt ceiling.
It turns out the Democrats did try to bargain for that outcome. In an email to Clinton, Obama's economic adviser Gene Sperling insisted the Democrats did make an effort, but it was shut down by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). McConnell informed them he would filibuster the entire package if an increase in the debt ceiling was part of it. Clinton admitted he incorrectly thought that was against Senate rules, and therefore not allowed for that type of fiscal measure. Sperling also worked for Clinton during his presidency.
Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, who was conducting the interview at the event Tuesday, admitted to the crowd that she was not “unbiased.’’ Her probing questions led her father to admit his regrets over the passage in his book, in a show of honesty he'd like to see more of.
“I think it would be therapeutic for everyone in Washington’’ to admit when they're wrong, he said.