Bill Clinton: I Would Have Voted for the Bank Bailout Too in 2008

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 3: Former President Bill Clinton stumps for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the Los Angeles Trade - Technical College April 3, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton said that if he had the chance to vote in the Senate for the Wall Street’s 2008 bailout, he would have willingly joined his wife in backing the unpopular deal.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders agreed 93 percent of the time, he said during a campaign stop in Pennsylvania.

“Where they didn’t really agree, I really think Hillary was right and I would have voted the way she did,” Bill said. “I would have voted to save the auto industry, and I would have held my nose with President [Barack] Obama and the other senators and voted to put some money on loan into the banks that didn’t fail to keep us from going into a depression.”

Bill Clinton defied the populist outrage at Wall Street and the big banks that caused the recession, suggesting that the bailout was the only thing that saved the U.S. economy. “You would not have been ahead if — in order to thumb your nose at the banks that didn’t fail — we refused to loan some money.” he said.

Instead, the taxpayers “ended up ahead,” thanks to the bailout, he said. He also argued that the taxpayers “made a profit” on the Wall Street bailout because the loans were repaid with interest.

The former president made his remarks during an event at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown campus. 

“So I think she’s right, she understands how the economy works,” Clinton said.

Clinton warned voters that if “right wing” Republicans take control of the United States, the country would change dramatically.

“You cannot let us go back to having a right-wing president, a right-wing Congress, and a right-wing Supreme Court,” he said. “You will not recognize this country in four years if you do.”

He promoted many of his own policies in the 1990s as an example of how Hillary’s presidency would be better than a Republican administration.

“They’ve had it and they blew it every time,” Clinton remarked, referring to past Republican presidents and “trickle down” economics: “It doesn’t work.”

Clinton cited Obamacare as a success and promoted more ideas to put the government in charge of health care. “We don’t have 60 votes, we won’t have 60 votes after the next election, though I think we’ll win the Senate back,” he predicted.