President Obama is acting out a kind of "third term" of the Clinton administration, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said.
Gingrich, the former Republican Speaker who sparred with President Clinton between 1995 and 1999, noted the string of Clinton administration alumni who have re-entered the White House as Obama begins a pivot toward the center.
Gingrich noted the selection of William Daley, the former Commerce secretary under Clinton, as Obama's new chief of staff and Obama's choice of Jack Lew to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Lew held that job in the Clinton administration.
"The very cost of ramming through left-wing spending and left-wing bills and creating left-wing bureaucracies has been a repudiation on such a scale that the president finds himself drawn more and more — at the Office of Management and Budget, now chief of staff — to people who are Clintonites," Gingrich said.
The former Speaker's observation will likely ruffle some Democratic feathers as he considers his own bid for the Republican nomination to challenge Obama in 2012.
Obama's experience mirrors Clinton's to an extent, too. Clinton lost control of the House and Senate to Republicans in his first midterm election, just as Obama lost control of the House to the GOP after two years on the job. Clinton spent much of the rest of his administration pivoting toward the center, and Obama seems to be doing the same.
Gingrich seemed amused when noting that the Clinton administration redux that Democratic activists sought to avoid by supporting Obama over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary seemed to be happening anyway.
"It must be fascinating to be one of those left-wing activist groups that spent so much time and energy beating Hillary Clinton, because they didn't want to see this kind of an administration, to now watch a member of the famous Daley machine in Chicago emerge," he said.