Sept. 27, 2009 -- Former President Bill Clinton says the right-wing conspiracy that attacked him during his presidency now is after President Obama.
When asked whether the "vast right-wing conspiracy" is still present today, the former president answered without hesitation, "Oh you bet."
"It's not as strong as it was because America has changed demographically, but it's as virulent as it was," Clinton said today on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"Right-wing conspiracy" was the term used by former first lady Hillary Clinton to describe the tactics her husband's political enemies used to attack his presidency after revelations of his affair with Monica Lewinski.
"I mean they may be hurting President Obama," Bill Clinton said of the current attacks. "They can take his numbers down, they can run his opposition up, but fundamentally he and his team have a positive agenda for America. Their agenda seems to be wanting him to fail, and that's not a good prescription for a good America.
"I mean, they're saying things about him just like when they accused me of murder and all this stuff they did, but it's not really good for the Republicans or the country, what's going on now," Clinton said.
Repeat of 1994?
When asked to compare his administration's unsuccessful attempt at health care reform to President Obama's current push, Clinton said the president has been at a "terrible disadvantage in the law-making phase."
"He has a better Congress than I did. And he doesn't have a committee chairman that I had demanding that he present a bill," Clinton said. "So [Obama] said, 'OK, I'll let you develop the bill.' Well, while they're developing the bill, he's set out certain principles and he is vulnerable to whatever anybody wants to say about any of the bills moving through Congress -- whether that's his position or not."
But, Clinton said, the current situation will not lead to a "repeat of 1994", when Democrats lost 15 seats in the House for the first time in 40 years, crippling progress on his administration's agenda.
"There's no way they can make it that bad, for several reasons," Clinton said.
For one, he said, "The country is more diverse and interested in positive action.
"Number two," he added, "they've seen this movie before, because they've had eight years under President Bush, when the Republicans finally had the whole government, and they know the results were bad.
"Number three, the Democrats haven't taken on the gun lobby like I did and they took 15 of our members out ... so whatever happens, it will be manageable for the president," Clinton said.
Clinton said he was content with his current life in the private sector.
"I love what I do now," he said. "And while I can't touch as many lives and things as I did as president, the things I do focus on, we can have a huge impact on," he said.
Asked whether his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, would run for president again, he chuckled.
"That's up to her," he said. "We're not getting any younger. But I'm proud of what she's doing now. I think she's doing a great job.
"I think it's pretty thrilling that she and the president just have established the relationship they have, and I think it's a good argument for reconciliation and remembering the good things for all the rest of us."