A new book makes the claim that former U.S. president Bill Clinton dismissed Barack Obama as an "amateur" and urged his wife Hillary to challenge him in the primaries for the nomination as presidential candidate of the Democratic Party.
According to the book, Bill Clinton said Obama was "incompetent" and did not know "how to be president."
Herald Sun reports Edward Klein, in his new unauthorized biography of Obama titled "The Amateur," said that Clinton thought so little of President Obama that he urged his wife Hillary to quit her position as U.S. Secretary of State and challenge Obama for the Democratic ticket. Clinton assured his wife that she would make a better president than Obama.
According to Klein, Clinton urged his wife to challenge Obama after he had given him his backing. Daily Mail reports Clinton and Obama had clashed during Mrs Clinton's failed bid for the Democratic presidential ticket in 2008.
Klein claims that the clash between Mr Clinton and Barack Obama runs deeper than the public realizes. Klein claimed that during an event at Mr Clinton's home office in Chappaqua, New York in late August, that included longtime friends of the Clintons, Bill told his wife: "The economy’s a mess, it’s dead flat. America has lost its Triple-A rating. You know better than Obama does."
Klein said that Clinton claimed he had "no relationship" with Obama and that he was in closer contact with Georg W. Bush than with Obama.
Clinton, according to Klein, told his wife: "Barack Obama is an amateur. The country needs you! The country needs us!"
New York Post reports Klein wrote that Hillary protested, saying, "Why risk everything?" She insisted that wanted to leave a legacy as Secretary of state. She said: "I want my term (at the State Department) to be an important one, and running away from it now would leave it as a footnote."
Hillary allegedly told her husband that she could run in 2016, but Mr Clinton said 2016 might be too late. Clinton, according to Klein, shouted at his wife, saying "I know you’re young enough! That’s not what I’m worried about. I’m worried that I’m not young enough."
Hillary allegedly answered: "I’m the highest-ranking member in Obama’s Cabinet. I eat breakfast with the guy every Thursday morning." Hillary added: "What about loyalty, Bill? What about loyalty?"
But Mr Clinton responded: "Loyalty is a joke, loyalty doesn’t exist in politics."
According to the New York Post, Mr Clinton even joked about the prospect of having two Clinton presidential libraries. Klein notes that this was the only time Hillary smiled during the tense exchange.
Herald Sun comments that Klein's account is incredible given that Bill Clinton is actively involved in Obama's re-election campaign.
Daily Mail notes that it is unusual for somebody in the same party as a serving president to challenge him in the primaries. According to Daily Mail, the last time it happened in U.S. history was in 1980 when Ted Kennedy challenged Jimmy Carter for Democratic nomination but lost.
New York Post reports Klein wrote that the exchange between the Clintons intensified after their daughter Chelsea, arrived with her husband Marc Mezvinsky. According Klein, Chelsea Clinton sided with her father, telling her mother that she "deserved" to be President. Mr. Clinton further pressured his wife, saying he could commission a polls to see how she fared against Obama but Mrs Clinton's response was non-committal. New York Post reports that according to Klein, Hillary responded:
“What are you trying to do — force my hand?”
“I want everyone to know how strong you poll,” Bill said.
Hillary said, “Go ahead and knock yourself out.”
Clinton appeared to have backed down when he appeared in an Obama presidential campaign advert in which he praised Obama for the assassination of Osama bin Laden, and appeared at rallies with Obama, both maintaining outwardly friendly relations.
Daily Mail reports Mrs Clinton's popularity surged after photos of her dancing and drinking beer in a Colombian nightclub appeared in the media.
A spokesman of Mr. Clinton, Matt McKenna, has denied Klein's story, saying that Klein is a "known liar" and that the claims in his book are "totally and completely false."
Herald Sun reports Philippe Reines, spokesman for the secretary of state, pointed out that Hillary Clinton had challenged the veracity of an earlier book Klein wrote about her, titled, "Truth About Hillary."
A White House spokesman Eric Schultz, also said: "Nobody in their right mind would believe the nonsense in this one, especially since both Secretary Clinton and President Clinton have been loyal and supportive of the president at every turn." Herald Sun reports Schultz accused Klein of inventing facts to sell his book.
Klein, a former editor of The New York Times Magazine, and Newsweek, said that his book is "factually sound."