Bill Clinton thinks the country is "a mess" right now, and while he mostly blames conservatives' anti-government views, he also "gently dings" President Obama for some miscues in his new book, reports the AP. For one thing, Clinton says he was able to persuade the rich to pay higher taxes because "I didn't attack them for their success," he writes in Back to Work. It's out next week, but the AP got an advance copy.
He also faults the White House and Democrats for not more aggressively making their case regarding the bank and auto bailouts of 2009, along with the stimulus. He writes that he and Joe Biden tried to get the Democratic National Committee to distribute talking points before the 2010 midterms, but "we couldn't persuade the decision makers to do so." Another criticism: He doesn't understand why Obama didn't head off the debt showdown by raising the ceiling when Democrats controlled the House and Senate, notes AP's Beth Fouhy. As a result, he's now got a "tough hand to play."