Clinton praises Obama at presidential double-header

MCLEAN, Virginia - Bill Clinton lent his starpower and fundraising expertise to US President Barack Obama Sunday, putting aside past differences to boost the younger man's reelection bid.

The former president appeared side-by-side with Obama at an event in the crucial swing state of Virginia, and offered him a warm endorsement before taking a swipe at Republicans.

"When you become President, your job is to explain where we are, say where you think we should go, have a strategy to get there, and execute it," Clinton said, at the event at the home of an old political ally Terry McAuliffe.

"By that standard, Barack Obama deserves to be reelected President of the United States," Clinton said, then went onto take a shot at Republican presumptive nominee Mitt Romney.

"This is crazy - (Obama's) got an opponent who basically wants to do what they did before, on steroids which will get you the same consequences you got before, on steroids."

Clinton dismissed claims by Republicans that Obama, who inherited the worst recession since the 1930s Great Depression, had made economic conditions worse, or not fixed them quickly enough.

"He's beating the clock, not behind it. Don't listen to those Republicans. We are beating the clock," Clinton said.

"Why do I tell you this? Because somebody will say to you, maybe, 'but I don't feel better.' And you say, 'look, the man's not Houdini; all he can do is beat the clock. He's beating the clock.'

"I think he's done a good job."

Obama and Clinton had a cool relationship when the former president's wife, now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was running against the current president for the White House in the turbulent and compelling 2008 campaign.

Obama had also spoken unflatteringly about some aspects of the Clinton presidency, and it took time for the scars of the primary campaign to heal.

But Clinton, who remains popular, has recently emerged as a powerful character reference for Obama and even appeared in a political ad praising the president's decision to launch a raid to kill Osama bin Laden last year.

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