The Washington Times - July 13, 2012, 08:04AM

Former President Bill Clinton blasted Republicans during an interview aired Friday, accusing them of refusing to address the nation’s economic woes in an effort to sabotage President Obama’s run for re-election.

In an interview with NBC’s “Today,” Mr. Clinton praised Mr. Obama for touting a plan to raise taxes on high earners, but added that he thinks House and Senate Republicans have taken a hard line on the issue to block any progress before November.


“I’m not sure both sides want the economy to get better,” Mr. Clinton said during the interview, which was taped Thursday and aired Friday morning. “I know the president does, but I know what [Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell] said, that his number-one priority was winning the election.”

This week, Mr. Obama proposed repealing Bush-era tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000 a year. Some Democrats favor ending the cuts only for those making more than $1 million, while Republicans want to keep the cuts for at least another year, which Mr. Clinton said “would be a big mistake.”

“These things have been extended a long time, and the Republicans have made clear that the most important thing in the world to them is not raising revenues on upper-income people,” he said, adding that he thinks the best solution is a combination of tax increases and spending cuts.

Mr. Clinton also weighed in on the presidential election and defended Democratic criticism of Mitt Romney’s financial record and tenure at Bain Capital, saying that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has opened himself to such scrutiny by touting his business record as a major job qualification.

The former president also called on Mr. Romney to release tax returns from before 2010, saying that most presidential candidates in recent decades have released at least 10 years worth of returns.