"This is crazy -- he's got an opponent who basically wants to do what they did before, on steroids, which will get you the same consequences you got before, on steroids," Clinton said Sunday night at the Virginia home of Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton fundraiser, former Democratic National Committee chairman and chairman of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presidential primary campaign four years ago.
Bill Clinton, who has had a fraught relationship with Obama over the years, credited Obama's policies with helping to create "4 million jobs since the recession bottomed out," keeping the unemployment rate "1 1/2 to 2 points lower than it would have been" if the 2009 economic stimulus package had not been enacted, and restructuring the U.S. auto industry, "which saved a million and a half jobs and created 84,000 more."
Comparing the timeline of the current economic recovery with those of economic recoveries throughout history, Clinton said Obama is "beating the clock, not behind it."
Economic collapses usually require a recovery period of at least 10 years, Clinton said.
"The man's not [the early 20th century escape artist Harry] Houdini," Clinton said. "All he can do is beat the clock. He's beating the clock. It's not going to take us 10 years to get back to full employment."
On Friday, Obama's campaign released a video narrated by Clinton testifying to the boldness of last year's decision to send helicopters deep into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden.
For his part, Obama portrayed his presidency as advancing core values Americans held during Bill Clinton's presidency, from 1993 to 2001.
"I didn't run for president simply to restore the status quo before the financial crisis," Obama said. "I ran for president because we had lost our way since Bill Clinton was done being president."
"For almost a decade what we had seen for ordinary families was a betrayal of that basic promise, that core American idea," Obama said.
Tying his policies to those of Clinton, Obama argued the Democratic Party represented the American people's core beliefs and values, in part because of Clinton's time in office.
"Because of Bill Clinton's leadership, I think that when you look at the Democratic Party and what we've stood for, it has been squarely at the center of how the American people think and what they believe, and is entirely consistent with some of our best traditions and our deepest values," Obama said.