Bill Clinton Says Republicans Are Promoting Fear Over Health Care Reform
Clinton was president when the Democrats made their last major effort to change the health care system. The big difference now, Clinton said, is that Democrats have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate as well as control of the House.
The former president called "crazy" the charges that promoting living wills and other end-of-life planning is somehow promoting death.
Clinton spoke at the opening session of the Netroots Nation convention, a gathering of politically progressive bloggers and other online activists.
He urged the crowd to support President Barack Obama on health care reform, along with climate change legislation and other reforms.
"The president needs your help and the cause needs your help," Clinton said. "We have to preserve this progress majority now."
However, he advised them that change may not come as fast as they want and that they may have to accept smaller victories as they continue to work for their goals.
Clinton said that it was all right to hold politicians' feet to the fire in terms of their promises but that it should be done to get work done.
"You hold the seeds of a genuine revolution in our public life and you do it by mobilizing people and generating emotion but also by getting people to think," Clinton told the gathering.
He said the United States had entered a new age of progressive politics that could last several decades in the right circumstances.
On a lighter note, Clinton joked that the great thing about being a former president was being able to whatever he wanted. The terrible thing was that no one listens, "unless your wife is secretary of state, then they really care."
It was an apparent reference to the fuss made over Hillary Rodham Clinton's rebuke earlier this week to a Congolese student in Kinshasa who asked her for the opinion of her husband about an international economic issue.