Hillary criticizing Obama economic performance

For Hillary Clinton, there are no friends, only interests. And as 2016 looms, Hillary’s interests diverge from those of the man who was her rival for the 2008 presidential nomination, and then her patron as president to her secretary of state. No way does Hillary Clinton want responsibility for the nation’s dismal economic performance during the Obama presidency. After all, her dubious claim to presidential timber is largely dependent on voters remembering the Clinton presidency as a time of prosperity and budget surpluses (while forgetting the Republican Congress under Speaker Gingrich that kept a lid on spending). She certainly doesn’t want close examination of the nation’s foreign policy failures during her tenure at State.

So bit by bit, Hillary is distancing herself from Obama. Byron York reports in the Washington Examiner:

In a speech in Washington on FridayHillary Clinton repeatedly criticized economic and social conditions under President Obama, barely mentioning the accomplishments of the man who appointed her secretary of State. Clinton's address, at the New America Foundation, was a broad indictment of the country's current leadership, with exactly one -- one -- note of praise for the Democratic president Clinton has called her partner and friend. (snip)

In remarks focused almost exclusively on domestic economic concerns, Clinton began by noting what she called "the basic bargain of America." "No matter who you are or where you come from," she said, echoing her husband's campaigns from the 1990s, "if you work hard and play by the rules, you'll have an opportunity to build a good life."

But: "For too many families in America today, that isn't the way it works. Instead of getting ahead, they're finding it harder and harder than ever to get their footing in our changing economy. The dream of upward mobility that made this country a model for the world feels further and further out of reach."

Millions of Americans are "frustrated, even angry" about today's economy, Clinton said. Falling into poverty is a constant threat, and upward mobility is almost impossible. "Forget about getting rich," Clinton told the audience, "I'm talking about getting into the middle class and staying there."

While productivity is up, Clinton noted, "wages have stagnated." "Americans are working harder, contributing more than ever … and yet many are still barely getting by."

The actual insertion of the stiletto followed:

"What can we do about it?" Clinton asked. "Of course, a lot depends on our leadership, here in Washington and around the country." One might assume that Clinton would take that opportunity to praise the current president. But no. Instead, Clinton focused on another Democratic administration. "The 1990s taught us," she said, harkening back to the days Bill Clinton was in the White House, "that even in the face of difficult long-term economic trends, it’s possible through smart policies and sound investments to enjoy broad-based growth and shared prosperity." At that point, Clinton took a few moments to recount her husband's economic record.

After an obligatory critique of George W. Bush's time in the White House, Clinton made her only reference to Obama. "It took years of painstaking work and strong leadership from President Obama to get our economy growing again," she said.

And then it was back to criticizing.

Don’t be fooled by the “painstaking work” phraseology. You can be certain that “we can do better” rhetoric is on the way.

In essence, a game of chicken is starting, with Hillary and Obama each in possession of the ability to damage the other. Hillary needs to keep distancing herself, but avoid provoking Valerie Jarrett into telling Obama to go on the attack. Given the extent to which ValJar idolizes Obama, there is a serious danger of retaliation.

Hat tip: Powerline

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