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Mitt Romney uses old Clinton interview to undermine Obama

The Romney campaign cast President Obama and former President Bill Clinton as “the odd couple” Monday, as the Democrats visited New York for a trio of fund-raisers.

After days of repeating Clinton’s statement last week that the presumptive Republican nominee “crosses the qualification threshold” to be president, the Romney campaign dug up an older interview in which Clinton questioned Obama’s presidential qualification.

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In a December 2007 exchange, PBS’s Charlie Rose asked Clinton if Americans would be “rolling the dice” by electing Obama, instead of Clinton’s wife, Hillary Clinton.

“It’s less predictable, isn’t it?” Bill Clinton responded. “I mean, when is the last time we elected a president based on one year of service in the Senate before he started running? I mean, he will have been a senator longer by the time he is inaugurated, but essentially once you start running for president full time, you don’t have time to do much else.”

The Romney campaign labeled Clinton’s remarks of five years ago a warning unheeded.

“Four years ago, President Clinton compared voting for Barack Obama to a roll of the dice,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in an e-mail. “After three-and-a-half years of mounting debt, fewer jobs, and policies that are hostile to jobs creators, it’s clear that the gamble didn’t pay off. Mitt Romney will take action from day one of his presidency to get our economy moving again.”

Clinton has appeared perturbed by Romney’s repurposing of his words. He said last Friday that news reports about his qualification remark were “taking it out of context as if I had virtually endorsed him.”

“He shouldn’t be elected,” Clinton clarified, “because he is wrong on the economy and all these other issues.”

Monday’s Obama-Clinton itinerary included a $40,000-per-head reception at a private residence and a gala at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, featuring a performance by Jon Bon Jovi.

Callum Borchers can be reached at callum.borchers@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.
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