Clinton: New-look GOP makes Bush look liberal

  • Article by: ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Updated: September 14, 2010 - 11:41 PM

The former president spoke at a fundraiser for DFL gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton in Minneapolis.

Former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that the Republican Party is embracing "ideology over evidence" and pushing out pragmatic voices that would make even his White House successor seem like a liberal.

Clinton, speaking at a DFL Party fundraiser in Minneapolis, said there was no mistaking that Republicans have tacked hard right and questioned whether former President George W. Bush would fit in among the party's candidates this year.

"A lot of their candidates today, they make him look like a liberal," Clinton told an enthusiastic crowd at a downtown Minneapolis hotel.

"It used to be that Republicans were evidence-based, not dogma-based," Clinton said, citing the administration of President Dwight Eisenhower. "They have thrown all that overboard. This is about dogma and big special interest under the guise of the Tea Party.

"The Boston Tea Party was protesting abuse of power. This is now trading public power for the abuse of private power. Don't kid yourself," Clinton said, just as a Tea Party-backed candidate was declared the winner Tuesday night in Delaware's Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

The former president was in Minnesota to support Mark Dayton, the DFL nominee for governor.

Dayton served in the U.S. Senate with Clinton's wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and supported her run for president in 2008.

Organizers of Tuesday's event sought campaign donations of between $100 and $1,000. Up to 300 people attended.

Clinton ran down Dayton's biography, saying the former senator was more than qualified to lead the state.

"I feel like I know this man. He has a good heart and he has a good mind and what he'll do is predictable," Clinton said of Dayton.

Of Tom Emmer, whom Clinton didn't refer to by name: "Near as I can tell, he wants to get rid of government."

As Clinton spoke, Dayton stood on stage with him, along with his two sons and his running mate, Yvonne Prettner Solon.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman also attended. Two DFLers whom Dayton beat in the primary, Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Matt Entenza, were also there.

Clinton has stepped up his campaigning in recent weeks, making appearances on behalf of Democratic candidates in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

On Wednesday, he'll head to Las Vegas to support Nevada's Democratic gubernatorial nominee.

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