Former President Bill Clinton conceded Thursday that his successor knows the economy isn't "fixed" -- though he argued President Obama still offers a better plan than Mitt Romney for getting out of the rut.
"Governor Romney's argument is 'we're not fixed, so fire him and put me in.' It is true, we're not fixed," Clinton said at a campaign stop with Bruce Springsteen in Parma, Ohio. "When President Obama looked into the eyes of that man who said in the debate, 'I had so much hope four years ago and I don't now,' I thought he was going to cry because he knows that it's not fixed."
Clinton was referring to a former Obama voter who, at Tuesday's debate, said he's not as "optimistic" this year as he was in 2008.
Romney's campaign swiftly seized on Clinton's comment, suggesting it supports what they've been saying all along. It follows Vice President Biden saying the middle class has been "buried" over the last four years.
"We agree with former President Bill Clinton. The economy has not been fixed under President Barack Obama," Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement. "Today, more than 23 million Americans are struggling for work, poverty has increased and food stamps are at record levels. Mitt Romney believes we can do better by creating 12 million new jobs with higher take-home pay, cutting spending to put our nation on course for a balanced budget, and actually fixing our economy."
And Paul Ryan says he agrees with the former president's assessment of the economy as well. "He is right. And you kno wwhat, if the president can't fix Washington from the inside, if the middle class has been buried for the last four years and if the economy is not fixed, it is time we change presidents and elect Mitt Romney the next President of the United States!" Ryan said to a crowd of over 3,600 at the Lee County Sports Complex in South Ft. Myers, Fla.
Clinton, though, heaped plenty of criticism on Romney and praise on Obama during his Ohio pep talk.
He claimed Republicans were rooting for a high unemployment rate and were "crushed" when it fell to 7.8 percent last month. The former president said that even though the economy's not "fixed," the private sector has nevertheless been bouncing back under Obama.
Ryan said the former president's comments are among a string of "revealing" moments from the Democratic party.
"You know the president and his allies have said a few revealing things lately," Ryan said. "On Univision a couple weeks ago, President Obama said 'he can't change Washington from the inside.' Isn't that why we elect presidents? Vice President Bide the other day said the middle class is 'buried.' That is one shovel-ready project that this administration can take credit for."