Though Clinton largely defended his own economic record, he admitted fault for lack of regulation on derivatives during his eight years as president, a problem some economists believe helped contribute to the nation's economic woes.
"I think we should have moved a little more aggressively on these derivatives," he said. "Alan Greenspan and others thought we shouldn't regulate, didn't need to regulate derivatives, 'cause they would only be bought by very large, very wealthy, very sophisticated institutional buyers.
"The problem is [that] if enough of 'em are bought, they become so much a part of the economy that if they crater, they still affect everybody else, anyway," he added. "So, I think I should have done more on that."
But the former president defended his record on another front: He disputed the idea that his administration, by placing a special emphasis on the Community Reinvestment Act, pressured lenders too hard to make loans to low-income Americans trying to secure mortgages.
"What I have disputed is that the conservatives are saying that I pressured the banks too hard to make loans in the community," Clinton said. "The banks that took money from their depositors and turned around and loaned money to their depositors -- genuine community banks -- came through this financial crisis much better than those that were branches of big national banks [that] took money from their depositors and put 'em in these shaky securities investments."
He suggested the worst damage was done during the Bush years.
"The sub-prime mortgages that caused all these problems were basically those that were gathered up in 2004 to 2007," Clinton said.
So, how does Clinton rate the new president's first month on the job?
"A," he told Cuomo. "They've gotten their stimulus through in record time, and I think in pretty good shape. Like I said, it may be a little ragged around the edges, but they'll be able to continue.
"You hire presidents to keep big bad things from happening," Clinton said, "or when something big and bad has happened, to fix it, and to seize big opportunities, and to push the country in the right direction, to keep working toward the more perfect union.
"And so, he comes in," Clinton continued, "he's got an economic crisis at home, and a crisis in America's role in the world. He has to pick people to deal with this. I think he picked excellent economic and national security teams."
The former president joked his grade may have been boosted by Obama's pick for one of those posts -- his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"You know, you have to discount for the fact that ... I give him a high rate for his choice of secretary of state," Clinton said. "That's an A-plus-plus."
But the overall grade might drop to "A," Clinton said, because he believes the Obama administration unnecessarily caved in to demands to remove a $7,500 credit for electric cars.
Clinton also used the interview to talk at length about the problem of obesity, the number one public health problem for American children, and an issue he has set his sights on after using his charitable foundation to take on big issues, such as worldwide AIDS and malaria.
"We actually are at risk of having the first generation of Americans to live shorter lives than their parents, because the obesity rates are so high among our young kids," Clinton said.
The solution to the epidimic, Clinton said, is for kids to eat better, eat less and exercise more.
He wants to take the fight to where the children are, so he said he's negotiated agrements with the beverage and snack food industries to reduce the aggregate calories on vending machine items in schools.
"We've been at this now for a couple of years," he said. "There is some evidence that all of the publicity and efforts that have been done may have caused the rate to level off.
"But that's not good enough," he added. "We got to take it down. We got to restore the health of our younger generation. And I intend to keep working on it until either we get the results or I can't do it anymore."