Bill Clinton: Sandy highlights Obama's 'practical problem-solving'

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Clinton began his stump speech in what he called an "unconventional" way, by referring to the homes lost and damage caused by the recent storm. He mentioned his home in New York City, where the hurricane that struck earlier this week left millions without power or transportation.

"It reminded me that when something like this happens, we know what we oughta know every day," Clinton said. "We oughta know that when you get a political job, it's still a job. When you're dealing with a lot of problems, there's not a Republican or Democratic way to solve them. You either solve them or you don't."

He went on to credit Obama with approaching the problems of the country — ranging from the economy to the hurricane — from a basis of "shared responsibility."

"That's really what this whole election's about, we gotta decide whether we want a 'we're all in this together' country or a 'you're on your own country,' " Clinton said.

The hurricane also disrupted the presidential campaigns, keeping both candidates off the campaign trail on Monday and Tuesday. Romney was back on the trail in Florida on Wednesday, while Obama will tour the New Jersey shoreline with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) — who is also a prominent Romney supporter.

Clinton credited Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), among others, for their bipartisan efforts to respond to the disastrous impact of the storm in their states and along much of the East Coast. Both governors are working closely with Obama in their relief efforts.

Clinton also blasted Romney for claiming Obama had failed to boost the economy in his first term. Republicans typically point to the fact that the unemployment rate has remained above 8 percent for most of Obama's presidency, with the exception of September, when the reported rate fell to 7.8 percent for the first time. 

Clinton argued that no president, Republican or Democrat, could have brought the country out of the recession in just four years. 

"It's one thing to make a speech; it's another to make change," Clinton said. "Barack Obama has been making change in this country that is positive and good." 

The former president characterized Romney's argument as: "He [Obama] hasn't fixed it yet; let's throw him out and I'll give you 12 million jobs because everybody will be so elated they'll just, poof, appear."

Clinton said Obama put the country back on the road to recovery and the payoff would be seen in the next four years. 

"'Put me in there and I'll get credit for what he did,'" Clinton mocked Romney. "That's basically the whole [Romney] campaign."

The Romney campaign said Team Obama had deployed Clinton to Iowa to play "defense" on his record.

“President Obama is playing defense in states like Iowa that he won in 2008 because Americans know that if he is reelected our national debt will climb to $20 trillion, Medicare will be cut by $716 billion, and millions of middle-class families will be hit with tax increases," said spokesman Ryan Williams. "We can’t afford four more years like the last four years. Mitt Romney is offering real change for a real recovery, with 12 million new jobs, rising incomes and a stronger middle class. On November 6, voters across the country will choose his positive agenda over President Obama’s increasingly desperate attacks.” 

Updated at 11:57 a.m.