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Chicago (CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton says he fully expects that President Barack Obama will be re-elected. He says he likes Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman and says he’s not surprised at Michele Bachmann’s rise in the polls, saying: "She comes across as real."
During a lengthy interview with me in Chicago at his Clinton Global Initiative America conference on creating jobs, he also got emotional when I asked him about his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He says she's "the most gifted person" he knows in public service. "I’m really proud of her."
I noted that when I recently traveled with her to Paris, Cairo and Tunis, I noticed a lot of his style during her meetings and events. I had spent nearly eight years covering him when he was president. I asked him whether she had learned from him or he had learned from her. He told me he thought there was some of both going on.
On the economy and the need to create jobs, the former president expressed his deep concern about the August 2 deadline for raising the nation's debt ceiling. He says he's very worried about the consequences of failure and insists both sides must give in the negotiations. He would support tax increases even though he knows the Republicans and some Democrats will resist.
Clinton told me he doesn't like the idea of passing a balanced budget amendment, which many Republicans, including Senator Rand Paul, insist be part of any debt ceiling deal. Clinton says a balanced budget amendment is good for state governors but not for the federal government given all the potential for emergencies.
On his health, he says he feels great even though he's gained a few pounds since our last interview.
The interview will air today in The Situation Room during our 6 p.m. ET hour.