Bill Clinton Takes an Active Role in Urging Obama's Re-Election 2 Presidents Team Up at NYC Fundraisers

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NEW YORK -- President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton heaped praise on each other Monday for their economic records at the first of three New York fundraisers aimed at collecting almost $4 million.

The 44th and 42nd presidents are showcasing an alliance that has taken years to heal after the bitter 2008 primary fight between Mr. Obama and his now-secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former first lady. Mr. Obama's campaign is counting on Mr. Clinton, who saw 22.7 million U.S. jobs created during his two terms in office, to bolster the president's message on the economy.

Mr. Obama has "made the best of a miserable situation" with the economy, Mr. Clinton told donors at a reception held in the home of Marc Lasry, managing partner and founder of Avenue Capital Group LLC.

The policies advocated by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would be "calamitous" for the United States, Mr. Clinton said. "Their economic policy is austerity and unemployment now, and then a long-term budget that will explode the debt when the economy recovers, so that interest rates will be so high nobody will be able to do anything," he said.

Mr. Obama's campaign has solicited Mr. Clinton's help at all levels of the re-election effort, including targeting specific demographic groups. He is also raising money for Priorities USA Action, a so-called super-PAC, or political action committee, founded by former Obama aides.

"I don't think there's a state I wouldn't put him in," said Jim Messina, Mr. Obama's campaign manager. "There isn't anyone he couldn't talk to. He's just -- he's Bill Clinton."

After the reception at the home of Mr. Lasry, a top Democratic donor and long-time supporter of the Clintons, Mr. Obama and the former president were headlining a Waldorf Astoria hotel gala with singer Jon Bon Jovi. They also were to attend a Broadway concert at the New Amsterdam Theatre to include performances by Megan Hilty, James Earl Jones, Tony Kushner, Mandy Patinkin and Stockard Channing. …