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Bill Clinton says Romney would be 'calamitous for our country'

Former President Bill Clinton is joining forces again with President Barak Obama and holding a series of New York fundraisers. Politico's Roger Simon discusses.

NEW YORK - After earning headlines for becoming the latest Democrat to speak positively of Mitt Romney's history in the private sector, Bill Clinton made clear exactly whose side he's on when he hit the Big Apple on Monday for three joint fundraising appearances with President Barack Obama.

Electing the Republican nominee would be "calamitous for our country and the world" Clinton said at a reception in private home where tickets went for $40,000.  And at the New Amsterdam Theatre near Times Square, he said: "I don't think it's important to re-elect the president, I think it's essential to re-elect the president."


 

 The trip came less than a week after Clinton drew headlines for becoming the most prominent Democrat to undercut the president's attacks against Romney for his time at Bain Capital.  In an interview on CNN last Thursday, the former president said Romney "had a sterling business career" and described his time as an executive at a private equity firm as "good work."

And while Clinton did not walk back any of his earlier remarks, he found plenty of other ways to build a case against the former Massachusetts governor.

"They tell you how terrible this health care bill is," Clinton said of Republicans.  "It's hard for them, since Gov. Romney's finest act as governor was to sign a bill with an individual mandate in it, which he has now renounced."

Clinton introduced the president at all three appearances here.  Obama asked for his donors support in what he acknowledged will be a tight race, all the while maintaining that he stands for the same issues he did during his 2008 run. 

"The only reason that this is going to be a close election is because people are still hurting," the president said at the theatre.

But it is a slip of the tongue at the last event that may garner the most attention from the day trip.  "We are not going back to a set of politics that say you're on you're own.  And that's essentially the theory of the other side.  You know, George Romney," Obama said, referring to the Republican nominee's father before quickly correcting himself.

Both Romney and Obama have been working furiously to raise cash in an election that will have plenty of money influencing it aside from what the candidates rake in.  Speaking before the crowd that paid at least $250 to hear a concert and two presidents, Obama addressed the role outside groups will play in this year's election.  

"Sometimes when thing are tough, you just say, well you know what, I'll just keep trying something until something works.  And that's compounded by $500 million in Super PAC negative ads that are going to be run over the course of the next five months," he said.  "And they'll try to feed on those fears and those anxieties and that frustrations.  That's basically the argument the other side is making.  They're not offering anything new, they're just saying 'Things are tough right now and it's Obama's fault.' That pretty much sums it up.  There's no vision for the future there."

Still, any drop in enthusiasm from his base was hard to decipher.

"I still believe in you," Obama said to the theatre crowd that interrupted him multiple times with standing ovations. "I hope you still believe in me...when people ask you what this campaign is about, tell them it's still about hope, it's still about change."