Former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonIs the US capable of thinking strategically? Bob Dole: heroic, prickly and effective Biden on Bob Dole: 'among the greatest of the Greatest Generation' 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.”
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Overnight Defense & National Security — Lawmakers clinch deal on defense bill White House 'strongly opposes' Senate resolution to stop Saudi arms sale 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 Diane Rodham ClintonBen Affleck: Republicans 'want to dodge the consequences for their actions' through gerrymandering Republican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema 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 WarrenHillicon Valley — Presented by Connected Commerce Council — Incident reporting language left out of package Exporting gas means higher monthly energy bills for American families Senators turn up the heat on Amazon, data brokers during hearing MORE (D-Mass.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDole to lie in state in Capitol Rotunda Bob Dole: A great leader of the 'Greatest Generation' The bully who pulls the levers of Trump's mind never learns 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.