Romney Campaign Tries To Reopen Obama-Clinton Primary Fight Wounds : It's All Politics The presumptive Republican presidential nominee is highlighting some not-so-nice things former President Clinton had to say about Barack Obama. Of course, those statements were made during the bitter 2008 Democratic primary, when Obama was battling Hillary Clinton.
NPR logo Romney Campaign Tries To Reopen Obama-Clinton Primary Fight Wounds

Romney Campaign Tries To Reopen Obama-Clinton Primary Fight Wounds

President Obama and former President Bill Clinton golf together in September 2011. The former president is campaigning for Obama, four years after the two men exchanged harsh words during the Democratic primary battle between Obama and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton. Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images hide caption

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Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

Throughout the Republican primary campaign, opponents of Mitt Romney have handed President Obama lots of potential general-election fodder in their attacks on the front-runner.

And now that Romney is the presumptive GOP nominee, he's dipping back four years to the 2008 Democratic primary battle for some ammunition of his own.

That's because the Obama campaign is making use of President Clinton as an Obama surrogate. In recent days, the former president made the case for a second Obama term in Web ads and at a fundraiser.

But President Clinton is, of course, also the husband of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And when she was running for president four years ago, President Clinton had some not-so-complimentary things to say about his wife's opponent, then-Sen. Barack Obama.

In a press release Monday, Romney's campaign offered a collection of news accounts from the height of the 2008 Democratic battle.

Among the highlights: Clinton calling Obama's claim of opposing the Iraq War "the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen"; Obama decrying President Clinton's campaign tactics; and this 2008 Obama statement to ABC News: "I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not."

At a fundraiser on Sunday, Obama had nothing but praise for Clinton. "He understood what it meant to refocus not on ideology, not on abstractions, but focus on where people live, what they're going through day to day."

And President Clinton reflected fondly on Obama's 2008 campaign: "When then-Sen. Obama was running for president, he laid out a forward-looking plan to restore broad-based prosperity with a 21st century economy in the United States, to advance the national security of America, and to build a world with more partners and fewer adversaries."

Romney surrogates and other Republicans are accusing the Obama campaign of politicizing the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death through a Web ad in which President Clinton lauds Obama's decision to green-light the raid that killed bin Laden a year ago this week. The ad asks the question: "What would Mitt Romney have done?"

On Monday, Romney had an answer — "of course" — when asked by reporters in New Hampshire if he would have ordered the attack on bin Laden. "Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order."

Vice President Joe Biden has been using the line, "Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," to highlight the accomplishments of the president's first term.

President Clinton is expected to appear at more fundraisers for Obama in the coming months, and will likely have a prime spot at the Democratic National Convention in September.