Bill Clinton says President Obama can still eke out a win in November’s election, but the ex-president also acknowledged that the race now is neck-and-neck between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.
The reason: The economy.
Clinton made the comments — and talked about a host of other subjects — on “Piers Morgan Tonight” on CNN Thursday night. But Morgan was not there. Instead, movie producer Harvey Weinstein was Morgan’s sub for the evening while Morgan vacationed.
It was the third show in a row this week to feature a substitute host. And each night — starting with Regis Philbin’s interview of David Letterman on Tuesday and Donny Deutsch’s sitdown with Matt Lauer on Wednesday — the show has made headlines.
In fact, to us, it seems as if “Piers Morgan Tonight” has been attracting more attention this week, in just three days, than the show has attracted in a year of shows with Piers.
Thursday’s show was no exception. Weinstein, of course, was an offbeat choice to host a prime-time interview show, but as he pointed out repeatedly, he’s a personal friend of Clinton’s.
The two talked about personal subjects — such as vacations they’d taken together on Martha’s Vineyard — and political topics, such as the current presidential campaign.
“The race between Obama and Romney: How close do you think that race will be?” Weinstein asked Clinton.
“Can’t tell you,” Clinton said. “I still think the president will win by five or six points. I’ve always thought so. But it’s closer than that today because of the condition of the economy. . . . People still feel uncertain. You know, when you’ve got a lot of people getting up in the morning, looking in the mirror, starting the day thinking they have failed, that’s a problem.”
But, said the ex-prez, if the Obama campaign can persuade voters that the measures the administration has undertaken to improve economic conditions have actually worked, then the president “will be re-elected.”
President Clinton also said he thinks it may have been a mistake — politically — for President Obama to come out in favor of gay marriage recently.
“I think it was somewhat risky because a lot of his African-American support in the churches are not for it,” Clinton observed. “And because if you look at what’s happening in America as people change their positions, just I have, what happens is personal experience changes your position. The more gay friends you have, the more you see them adopting children and taking good care of them and being good parents, the more you think, who am I to say to them what they should call their relationship? If the law permits it or if a given church permits it, who are we to stand in the way? For people who don’t know a large number of gay people, who haven’t had experiences with stable gay families, it’s a different thing.”
Weinstein, being a movie guy, asked Clinton who he’d like to see play him in a movie. The two settled on George Clooney. “He’s good-looking,” Clinton said of Clooney, “but you could put bulbous things on his nose and you could do makeup with him” to make him look more like Clinton.
Who would the ex-president like to see play Hillary? Meryl Streep.
You can read a transcript of the interview here on CNN.com.
Meanwhile, Bill Maher guest-hosts for Morgan Friday night on the show (8/7c) with guests Seth MacFarlane and Lance Armstrong.