WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – The man who served as President Clinton’s spokesman during the government shutdowns of 1995 and ’96 says a clash of personalities may be aggravating the current crisis.

Former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry sat down with CBS News to talk about his view of the current impasse in Washington.

He said back then the political and economic realities were different: 1996 was an election year, the president had higher approval ratings and the economy was stronger.

It’s probably more difficult for Speaker John Boehner to keep his party in line now than it was for Newt Gingrich when he led the House.

The personalities of Clinton and Gingrich were more alike than those of Obama and Boehner, he added.

Saying the current president and speaker are “like oil and water.”

And that’s a problem, because, he says, the system only works when there is trust on both sides.

“Lack of trust between some of our leaders has created a dilemma,” he told CBS News.

He said Clinton and Gingrich were more alike in terms of temperament and personality.

McCurry joked that Clinton and Gingrich stayed on the phone “late into the evening each night, whispering sweet nothings, probably.”

He said the way out of this crisis is for government leaders to put the needs of the country ahead of politics.

McCurry lamented that these days “something is fundamentally wrong with the way business is done in Washington.”


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