ABC News’ Kate Snow and Sunlen Miller Report: Robert Reich today lashed out at former President Bill Clinton, calling his recent statements "demeaning." Reich, who served as Labor Secretary under Clinton, also accused the former president of injecting race into the presidential contest.
"I write this more out of sadness than anger," Reich wrote in his blog. "Bill Clinton’s ill-tempered and ill-founded attacks on Barack Obama are doing no credit to the former President, his legacy, or his wife’s campaign. Nor are they helping the Democratic party."
The Clinton campaign responded by calling Reich’s complaint old news.
"Robert Reich has a long history of false and negative attacks on Bill and Hillary Clinton. This is nothing new," Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson told ABC News Thursday.
"While it may be that all is fair in love, war, and politics, it’s not fair – indeed, it’s demeaning – for a former President to say things that are patently untrue (such as Obama’s anti-war position is a ‘fairy tale’) or to insinuate that Obama is injecting race into the race when the former President is himself doing it," Reich wrote.
Reich’s comments came on a day when the Obama campaign unleashed two surrogates, Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Governor Janet Napolitano, D-Ariz., to push back against Bill Clinton’s recent statements about Senator Barack Obama, D-Ill.
In a conference call intended to discuss "electability," the two surrogates argued Hillary Clinton is campaigning hard to win South Carolina. They discussed the large amount of money the Clinton campaign has invested in the state, and pointed to the time former President Bill Clinton has invested.
This strategy may be intended to inflate a possible Obama win in South Carolina, as the two candidates search for momentum heading into the Feb. 5 states.
Both surrogates denounced the manner in which Bill Clinton has been speaking of Obama while campaigning for his wife.
“Because of the large microphone he has as a formed president, he needs to be careful with the truth,” McCaskill said, “This is not a time to play fast and loose with the facts. The fact that he has shaded things, tried to manipulate the facts in a way that is unfair, I think that is wrong, flat out wrong and demeaning.”
Napolitano agreed and suggested that Bill Clinton is not the “average political spouse.”