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Clinton lauds Obama, says economy not 'hunky dory' but on the mend

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Former President Bill Clinton took supporters here on a stroll down "fact lane" Friday night, passionately making the case that economy is well on its way to recovery.

"People don't feel it yet. I get that. The deficit was going down three years in a row before a majority of the American people would say 'Ya, it's going down.'  People didn't feel it," Clinton told a crowd of more than 2,000 people. "And the damage was much deeper this time around.  I'm telling you, we are coming out of this, we are moving in the right direction. If you stay with this policy and you stay with this president and you elect Tammy Baldwin, you will feel it."

The comments come one day after GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign jumped on Clinton's remark that the economy is "not fixed."

At a rally late Thursday, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said he agreed with the former president, and used it as an attack against the current administration's economic record.

But in remarks that lasted nearly one hour, Clinton was careful to say the economy is not "hunky dory" but stressed that the nation's economy was on the mend.

In recent weeks, Clinton has been one of President Barack Obama's most active surrogates, headlining rallies in nearly all the key battleground states. His appearance here at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay was also in support of Democratic senate candidate, Rep. Tammy Baldwin. The high profile race in the Badger State has gotten plenty of interest from outside groups who have poured millions into advertising in the state, to which Clinton warned supporters to "follow the money."

The 42nd president was particularly critical of the Super PAC Crossroads, run by Karl Rove, a former aide to President George W. Bush. "You all remember Karl Rove, don't you? Now he was part of a great economic record," Clinton said to laughter. "He's out there plugging for Gov. Romney and plugging for Tommy Thompson, and if you liked the economics of the previous 8 years, you will just love what they do. You gotta follow the money sometimes, folks."

Clinton also used his trip here to reflect on some of the pleasant memories from his own time in office, even briefly addressing his legacy. "When you have more yesterdays than tomorrows, there are only 3 things that matter: Are people better off than when you quit than when you started? Do children have a brighter future and are things coming together or being torn apart?" he said.

"The rest of it is all background music."