Introducing Mitt Romney at the Clinton Global Initiative on Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton gave the Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts governor a bit of a backhanded compliment, praising him for fighting for greater federal spending on AmeriCorps, a marquee Clinton government program.
Mr. Clinton said Boston was home to one of the most successful AmeriCorps programs, named City Year. When Republicans in Congress early last decade were thinking of cutting funding for AmeriCorps, Mr. Romney and other governors wrote demanding the GOP continue the funding.
“He urged the Republican Congress to continue to support City Year, he urged the White House to do it, and they did,” the former president said.
AmeriCorps, Mr. Clinton’s pet project, called for the government to pay for youths to do community service.
The comments come at a time when Mr. Romney is talking on the campaign trail about the need to cut federal spending, and Mr. Clinton seemed to be trying to point out instances when he had actually stood up for more central spending on a government program.
During the introduction, Mr. Romney stood next to Mr. Clinton with a grin frozen on his face, then took the lectern and repaid the compliment.
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned this election season, it’s that a few words from Bill Clinton can do a man a lot of good,” Mr. Romney said, referring to Mr. Clinton’s speech that stole the show at the Democratic National Convention.
That convention produced a short-lived jump in the polls for President Obama, and Mr. Romney joked that after Mr. Clinton’s words, he’s now waiting for the same thing: “All I’ve got to do now is wait a couple of days for that bounce.”