Election 2020

Podesta: Clintons Should Campaign with ‘Any Democrats’ Who Ask

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton hugs former President Bill Clinton as their daughter Chelsea Clinton looks on during a campaign rally in Raleigh, N.C., on Nov. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

WASHINGTON –John Podesta, former chairman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, said the economy was “strengthening” under former President Obama and that President Trump’s policies could “throw the economy more into a period of fragility” before the midterm elections.

Podesta also said that Bill and Hillary Clinton should campaign with any Democrats who ask for their support.

In May, former President Clinton responded to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) saying he should have resigned from office during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

“She’s living in a different context. And she did it for different reasons. So, I — but I just disagree with her,” Clinton said.

In June, Clinton was criticized for saying he had apologized enough for the Lewinsky scandal and that he did not owe Lewinsky a personal apology.

Last December, a Gallup poll found that Hillary Clinton’s popularity had hit a new low.

Podesta was asked if Democratic candidates should campaign with the Clintons ahead of the midterm elections.

“I think the Clintons should campaign with any Democrats that want them to campaign with them,” Podesta said during an interview with PJM after a Center for American Progress  discussion with former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, “Silencing Science: Risks Posed to Climate and Energy Data from Political Interference.”

Podesta was also asked if he thinks Trump’s negotiations with North Korea and the strength of the economy would hurt the Democrats’ message on the campaign trail ahead of the midterm elections.

“I think the North Korea agreement will depend on …what’s next: it’s such a fragmentary agreement. It was really more of a photo-op than anything else, so there’s a lot of time between now and November to see whether the follow-up is there, whether the North Koreans are serious, whether they can get the kind of verification regime moving that Secretary Moniz talked about. So I think that’s an open question at this point; we are just a few days past the summit itself,” Podesta told PJM.

“On the economy, there’s two different ways to think about it, which is that we have 3.8 percent employment and he’s at a 38 percent job approval rating. Obviously, the strong economy is always helpful to put some wind in the back of a president and his party, but I think the economy was strengthening before Trump got there and it remains to be seen whether Trump’s policies themselves will actually help it or will actually throw the economy more into a period of fragility,” he added.

Moniz said he approves of the U.S. negotiating with North Korea.

“Let me say flat out, first of all, I support the idea of getting into a dialogue and negotiation. I mean, I think it’s time to start a discussion and the reality is –for whatever reason, the sanctions, the other reasons – the North Korean leader does seem to be in a position where, I think, he can’t walk away from at least seeing what’s real there,” Moniz said.

As a result of the summit, Moniz said that there appears to be a “suspension” of nuclear and missile testing, but he emphasized the need for a verification process of North Korea’s actions going forward.

“Where we are today, no nuclear weapons tests, no missile tests that we can verify. Any next step we can’t without boots on the ground, etc.,” he said.

Moniz said establishing a “verification regime” for North Korea would be even tougher than it was in Iran.

“The summit wasn’t the place for detailed negotiation,” he said. “But it could have been a place to establish the principles, like, for example, an understanding that there’s going to have to be, early on, a very strong discussion about verification, which is going to be a tough one.”

Moniz continued, “We don’t know how many nuclear weapons they have and so, you start thinking through this, it’s going to be very, very tough.”