'This Week': Bill Clinton on Shutdown Showdown

Former President Bill Clinton weighs in on the government shutdown threat.
3:00 | 09/29/13

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Transcript for 'This Week': Bill Clinton on Shutdown Showdown
And that was the scene in the house overnight. Our powerhouse roundtable here to weigh in. But first, the take of the president that has been there. He was in the white house the last time the government shut down in 1996. When it was over, he was on a smooth slide to re-election. The president has to take the position that he's taken which is, you, not me -- you voted to spend this money. America's one of -- maybe the only country in the world that requires two votes to spend money. First, they vote to spend the money and then they got to vote again to issue the bonds to nekt to borrow the money from the american people to cover the spending they already voted for. You can't negotiate over that and I think he's right not to. As you know, one of the republicans say is that you did that, you did negotiate over the debt limit back in 1996, they do control the house, doesn't the president have to negotiate and they're banking on it. Well, but the negotiations we had were extremely minor and keep in mind, there were two different things, number one is, the economy's growing and the deficit was going down. We weren't giving away the store and they didn't ask us to give away the store. It was more like, we got out here on this ledge, please give us a safe haven to walk back. We didn't stop negotiating when we passed the balanced budget bill, for example, there's no opportunity for this in this forum. We don't have enough time. They're mad because they don't want to negotiate. This deadline is coming. October 17th jack lew said we'll hit this debt limit. But there's nothing to negotiate with, he shouldn't delay the health care bill. It's the law. And we're opening the enrollment ON OCTOBER 1st. So, I think that's a nonstarter. If I were the president, i wouldn't negotiate over these cuts, they're taking food off the table of low-income working people while they leave all the agriculture subsidies in for high-income farmers. I think it's chilling to me. It seems almost spiteful. Doesn't it come undone if there's a default? That's right. This is the house republicans and the tea party saying we don't want to negotiate with democrats. We want to dictate over the senate, over the house democrats, over the speaker of the house of our own party, and over the president, we insist on dictating the course of the country. So, you're saying that you have to stand up to that no matter what the consequences? I do. It's terrible, because, all over the world, people see, like, you know, I listened to some of senator cruz's filibuster on the health care bill and he just kept making all of these claims. And in other parts of the world, where we draw investment from, they think, why is america majoring in the minors? But at some point, if they're going to change the way the constitution works and fundamentally alter our character and damage the future of a lot of kids, you just got to say no and then hope there will be a basis for some agreement.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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