, WASHINGTON, Apr 2 – Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney faces a tough task in the November election in maintaining the party base and reaching out to moderates, former president Bill Clinton said in an interview aired on Monday.
“I doubt if he can do it,” Clinton said of Romney, who appears close to securing the Republican nod to challenge President Barack Obama in November. “But it’s going to be interesting to watch.”
Clinton told ABC News that even though Romney’s campaign bears some similarities to his own, the former Massachusetts governor “has a different challenge than I did.”
The former president said Romney faced a “horrible dilemma” by running in the wake of the gains of the so-called Tea Party Republicans.
After the 2010 election, Clinton said, “all the people on the far right of the Republican Party actually believed a majority of the voters had embraced the specific things they were saying.”
Clinton said that now, Romney has to “convince the swing voters that he’ll be moderate enough and open enough and inclusive enough to be an effective president, and effective on the economy.”
And Romney has to “hope that the Republican base voters say, ‘Well, okay, so he maybe wasn’t as right-wing as he claimed to be in the primary. Still more conservative than President Obama. I guess I’ll vote for him anyway and I won’t stay home.'”
Clinton said he believes Obama will win re-election in November based on his economic record.
“His argument will be, we’ve put a floor under the recession and prevented it from becoming a depression,” and that “we are moving in the right direction and have a better plan for the future than the other guy,” Clinton said.
“I also believe (voters) will be very reluctant given their opinion of the ‘Tea Party’ Congress to give the White House and the Congress to the same party.”