(CNSNews.com) - President Clinton on Thursday said "no" when asked if he (Clinton) has been a drag on Vice President Gore's Democratic presidential campaign and a reminder to voters about the Monica Lewinsky affair and the impeachment issue.
During a debate in New Hampshire Wednesday with former Senator Bill Bradley, Gore said he was angry and disappointed at President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky but remained loyal to Clinton throughout that scandal because the nation needed stability.
Clinton also told reporters at a White House news conference, "I think a lot of people who may not like me may hold it against him (Gore). But I don't think you hold him responsible. I don't think mature people hold one person responsible for another person's conduct ,do you?
"I think if there had been some example of official misconduct in office which he had been a part of that would be a different thing," Clinton said.
"But," Clinton went on to say, " the American people are inherently fair. In so far as they do blame him (Gore), I hope they give some of the credit for the longest peacetime expansion in history and the lowest unemployment rate in 29 years and the lowest welfare rolls in 30 years and the lowest poverty rates in 20 years and the lowest crime rates in 30 years and the first back to back budget surpluses in 42 years."
Clinton said he also hopes people will give Gore credit for "the smallest federal government in 37 years. I would expect he should get some credit for that and most Americans kind of like that. "
"People are not dumb," Clinton emphasized, "they vote for what is in their interest. Sometimes, some of your fraternity (journalists) try to get them confused about what they should be voting on or what they should vote against. But in the end, they almost always get it right and they vote for what's best for themselves and their children. Otherwise, we wouldn't still be here after over 200 years."
Clinton went on to say, "in terms of what he (Gore) said, he hadn't said anything, I hadn't said. I think the American people will make a decision based on what's in their interests. I don't think they ought to vote for him on the fact that they we had a great record either. Except that the great record is evidence of what he can do and where he will lead. We get hired to work here, it's a privilege to serve. But if you do have a good record, it is certainly evidence of what you can do and what you will lead and he has a great record."
Clinton called Gore "The most accomplished Vice President in history by a good long ways. Even my adversaries admit that I gave him a kind of partnership and a level of responsibility never before remotely equaled in this history of this country. And I think that is worth something in an election but it shows you can do."