Bill Clinton clarifies comments on extending Bush tax cuts

WASHINGTON -- Former President Clinton issued a statement Tuesday night trying to quell the dust-up created by comments he made earlier in the day about whether to extendGeorge W. Bush-era tax cuts.

Less than 24 hours after appearing at fundraisers with President Obama in New York and taking pains to appear on the same page with the administration, Clinton had appeared to say in a CNBC interview that the Bush-era income tax cuts should be extended temporarily -- not allowed to expire at the end of the year as scheduled.

He also described the country as being in a “recession.”

Obama and congressional Democrats want to end the tax cuts for high earners but preserve them for the middle class.

As Clinton’s comments reverberated around the country, the former president’s office issued this statement late Tuesday:

“Two questions have been raised regarding President Clinton’s interview on CNBC today. First, on extending the Bush tax cuts, as President Clinton has said many times before, he supported extending all of the cuts in 2010 as part of the budget agreement, but does not believe the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should be extended again.


“In the interview, he simply said that he doubted that a long-term agreement on spending cuts and revenues would be reached until after the election. Second, on the current condition of the economy, he said at the top of the interview that the main goal for those in Washington was ‘to keep the expansion going.’

“Later, in the interview, he said government spending levels were higher and revenues were lower than they would normally be because there was a recession and we’re still living with the aftermath of it. It’s obvious since we’ve had 4.3 million new private sector jobs in the last 27 months that we’re not in a recession, even though we’d all like growth to be higher.”