Liberal Post Columnist Notes Bill Clinton Once Praised Reagan Too

Yesterday I noted that Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune slammed the Hillary Clinton campaign for lying about the context of Barack Obama's remarks about President Reagan's political leadership.

In the January 25 Washington Post, liberal columnist E.J. Dionne reminds readers that then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton had some kind words for the Gipper during his first campaign for president:

It was a remarkable moment: A young, free-thinking presidential hopeful named Bill Clinton sat down with reporters and editors at The Post in October 1991 and started saying things most Democrats wouldn't allow to pass their lips.

Ronald Reagan, Clinton said, deserved credit for winning the Cold War. He praised Reagan's "rhetoric in defense of freedom" and his role in "advancing the idea that communism could be rolled back."

"The idea that we were going to stand firm and reaffirm our containment strategy, and the fact that we forced them to spend even more when they were already producing a Cadillac defense system and a dinosaur economy, I think it hastened their undoing," Clinton declared.

Clinton was careful to add that the Reagan military program included "a lot of wasted money and unnecessary expenditure," but the signal had been sent: Clinton was willing to move beyond "the brain-dead politics in both parties," as he so often put it.

Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Washington Post E.J. Dionne