Obama told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos this weekend that he was "skeptical" of sending additional troops to Afghanistan.
The former president said he trusted Obama to make a "good decision" and said it's the job of generals "to make an honest recommendation based on what the mission is. And then the president has to decide -- that's what they pay you the big bucks for."
"To dispel one myth, it's just not true that the Pentagon always recommends a more robust action," Clinton said. "They tend to look at the downsides too."
He said the president will have to think about the long-term goals in Afghanistan, and determine whether more troops would help to achieve that goal, and if this is the right time to make the decision. Clinton suggested Obama may be waiting "to see this election question fully resolved" with President Karzai "confirmed and his legitimacy enhanced" or a coalition government established in Afghanistan.
"I think the real lesson that the sophisticated military people learned is if you want to run a counterinsurgency, you've got to have the support of the local people," he said, citing the success of the surge in Iraq.
"I think he'll make a good decision," Clinton said.
Clinton and Obama will open the fifth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative Tuesday.
Clinton said the global recession hasn't affected the work of the initiative as much as he expected.
"Being a good citizen today requires doing more than voting and paying taxes," Clinton said. "You've got to take some action on your own, no matter how modest it might be, as a private citizen, to try to solve the problems that the private economy can't solve and the government can't reach."
He said those working outside government "can do it faster, and sometimes better. People still believe that."
CLICK HERE for more information on the Clinton Global Initiative.