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Clinton defends calling on Obama to keep his word
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday defended his controversial comments in which he said early last month that President Barack Obama "should honor" his promise to Americans that if they liked their health insurance plans, they'd be able to keep them under the Affordable Care Act.
"I was trying to be supportive of it," Clinton said, referring to the law better known as Obamacare in an interview with CNN Español Correspondent Juan Carlos López
"I don't think you can find anybody in America who has worked harder for (Obama's) re-election or supported this bill or went out of his way to explain the bill to the American people more than I did," Clinton continued.
When selling the health care bill and then running for re-election, Obama told Americans that they could keep their health insurance plans if they liked them. However, he didn't make clear that that rule only applied to plans purchased before the bill became law in 2010.
After millions of people began receiving cancellation notices because of Obamacare regulations, the President apologized in an interview on November 7, pledging his administration would find a way to fix it.
Less than a week later, Clinton made a comment that many interpreted as criticism of Obama's handling of the situation.
"I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the President should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they've got," the former President said during an interview with the website OZY.com.
Clinton did, however, spend much of the interview defending the 2010 health care overhaul.
Some speculated Clinton made those comments to help distance his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, from the Obama administration as she possibly prepares for a presidential run.
Asked Tuesday by López if politics was involved in his comments, the former President forcefully said "no."
Defending his remarks, he said he only spoke about the topic once "the President himself spoke."
"And it was obvious to me, listening to him, that he wanted the American people to feel that he had kept his commitment, and that they didn't understand that he, in fact, did grandfather in--that is, protect--all the policies that were in existence on the day he signed the health care bill. That was done," he said.
"But he didn't take over the insurance industry in America. So, for example today, less than 20% of those 11 million policies which exist in the individual insurance market even existed when President Obama signed the bill," he added.
Clinton was a big figure in Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, serving as a prime time speaker at the Democratic National Convention, and defending the health care law both before and after Obama started his second term.