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Bill Clinton Sells His Economic Prescriptions in New Book

  • Alex Villarreal

With U.S. unemployment stuck at nine percent, former President Bill Clinton is offering his own prescriptions for fixing the economy in a new book, Back to Work.

Selling the former president's answers to the struggling economy, Back to Work is front and center at this bookstore in Washington.

Customer Ron Collins is a Democrat disappointed in President Barack Obama. He calls Mr. Clinton a "breath of fresh air."

“He got that right," said Collins. "He brought us economic prosperity, so given that, and particularly given the times, of course we’re going to be interested in reading Bill Clinton."

Back to Work largely promotes policies aligned with President Obama, such as stimulus spending and investing in green technology.

But Mr. Clinton faults the president and other Democrats for failing to form a central message to counter Republicans' low tax, small government stance.

Matt Dallek teaches history and politics at the University of California Washington Center.

"Bill Clinton in this book is expressing the frustration that a lot of Democrats feel," said Dallek. "They believe that this White House hasn't delivered its economic message to the country as well as it could. They're frustrated that Republicans are resurgent, that the Tea Party has been such a powerful voice in our economic debates."

Mr. Clinton's book says political wrangling over raising the debt ceiling made the nation look "weak and confused." But he now says he was wrong to think Mr. Obama could have pushed the move through sooner.

The White House also downplays suggestions of tension.

“I would say that the book is very helpful, and that it reinforces the positive steps that President Obama has taken," said Carney.

And with the election a year away, the views of Mr. Clinton, who one decade ago, left office with a budget surplus and unemployment under 4.5 percent, may bring new fuel to the economic debate.