Bill Clinton defends wife's commitment to poor

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 24, 2014 at 10:32 pm •  Published: June 24, 2014
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The project, called "Job One," aimed to help young people age 16-24 who are out of school and unemployed. Students preparing for the workforce in the aftermath of the recession have faced persistently high unemployment levels at rates about twice the national average.

"For those who don't get a college education or even high school, most doors just won't open, no matter how hard they knock," the former first lady said. A longtime child advocate, Clinton also announced projects aimed at promoting brain development and literacy for babies and toddlers.

The event took on the air of a Clinton alumni association, with several former members of Clinton's White House team in attendance, including former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and former Clinton economic adviser Gene Sperling. An afternoon news conference put Mr. Clinton alongside longtime labor allies such as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers union.

Yet even in a room full of Clinton admirers, the debate got spirited at times. During a panel discussion on economic justice, Mr. Clinton and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina — an ex-adviser to Romney — tangled over the merits of raising the minimum wage and the role of government in the economy.

When Fiorina suggested the Obama administration was crushing the coal industry in West Virginia, Clinton interjected. "Who had the smallest government workforce since Eisenhower? Me." Fiorina responded, "That's right. You declared the era of big government over."

"Yeah, but I didn't declare the era of weak government that had nobody at home at the SEC before the financial crisis," Clinton said to roars of approval, referencing complaints that the Securities and Exchange Commission failed to effectively police Wall Street.

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