Bill Clinton defends repeal of Glass-Steagall

Former President Bill ClintonBill ClintonTrump flirts with Dems for Cabinet Ark. lawmaker wants Clintons' names removed from Little Rock airport Conway eyes top spot in Trump's outside political operation MORE has defended his decision to repeal Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era banking regulation that splits large financial institutions and is championed by liberals.

"Politicians — particularly now, in the aftermath of this crash — fear that anything they do will be held against them later if anything bad happens," Clinton told Inc. in an interview. "Look at all the grief I got for signing the bill that ended Glass-Steagall. There's not a single, solitary example that it had anything to do with the financial crash.”

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Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive things to watch for in the DNC race Sanders: I have little hope Trump will keep promises Democrats offer double-talk on Veterans Affairs MORE (I-Vt.) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley have backed reinstating the policy, which would require big banks to divide their commercial and investment practices.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonStein’s recount effort is important — here’s why Five things to watch for in the DNC race Democrats miss warning signs, even in blue Maryland MORE declined to take a position on the policy while campaigning in South Carolina last month.

"I think this is a much more complicated issue than to just point at any one piece of legislation and say, if we just pass that, everything would be fine," she said when asked about Glass-Steagall. "It's a more complicated assessment that just any one piece of legislation might suggest.”

Most economists at the Federal Reserve agree that former President Clinton's repeal of the policy in 1999 didn't contribute to the crash.

Still, Glass-Steagall has become a political wedge issue for Democrats in recent months, especially since Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSanders vs. Trump: The battle of the bully pulpit Trump’s Treasury pick leaves Sears board: report Reeling Dems look for new leader MORE (D-Mass.) and John McCainJohn McCainPentagon should have a civilian chief to give peace a chance McCain to support waiver for Mattis, Trump team says Senators crafting bill to limit deportations under Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) reintroduced it in the upper chamber.

Bill Clinton told Inc. that he could support tweaking the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act — particularly on its impacts for community banks, which have lobbied for years that the regulations that are applied to big banks should not be applied to them.

"There should be a serious look at the impact of Dodd-Frank on legitimate community banks," Clinton said. "I think we ought to look at the way the Canadians regulated their banks. The Canadians had no financial crisis, you know. They always had unified banking — investment and commercial banking under one roof. But they had different rules for them."

Former President Clinton also called for the Small Business Administration to "become more aggressive" in its financing.