By Kyle Balluck - 09/23/12 06:49 PM EDT
Former President Bill ClintonBill ClintonTrump camp talking points: Mention Monica Lewinsky The Trail 2016: Miss Universe crashes campaign Obama to attend Shimon Peres funeral in Israel MORE says a lot of wealthy people say things similar to Mitt Romney’s remarks about the “47 percent.”
Asked in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” about Romney’s remarks that 47 percent of the population is dependent on government and see themselves as “victims,” Clinton says he knows a lot of high-income people and “a lot of people say things like that.”
“The primary they ran kept pushing them all to the right,” Clinton said. “You don’t purge all of that out of your system when you start running in the general election.”
Democrats have sought to portray Romney as out of touch with the middle class, and Clinton’s remarks reflect the party’s strategy of emphasizing the GOP nominee’s wealth.
Asked about the Republicans’ argument that government has become too big, Clinton said “we have to wait until normal growth resumes” to decide.
Clinton said the administration and lawmakers have to avoid the “fiscal cliff” and make a long-term deal. He said he understands the president’s reluctance to extend Bush-era tax cuts, “It has a lot to do with the calendar, the timing.”
Clinton made the case for President Obama’s reelection, saying the nation’s economy couldn’t have been healed in four years. “His approach is more likely to lift Americans up.”
Most polls suggest Obama has an edge in the swing states set to determine the outcome, though national polls show a neck-and-neck race.
Clinton said he likes Obama’s reelection chances, despite opposition spending from super PACs. “Assuming the debates are even a draw, I think the president will win.”
Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said, “President Obama’s policies have devastated the middle class – 23 million Americans are struggling for work, poverty has increased, and incomes have fallen.
“This election presents voters with a clear choice between two candidates with very different visions for our country,” she said.
--This report was posted at 11:04 a.m. and last updated at 2:49 p.m.