He is suggesting Sen. Hillary Clinton's strong reelection showing in Republican-leaning counties in 2006 means she can win nationwide, a key question facing her candidacy.
It is true that she carried 58 out of 62 New York counties, and that President George Bush had won 40 counties in New York just two years before.
In the interview, the former president delved further into the numbers from the 2006 race, in which she beat Republican John Spencer by more than 2 to 1. "In the counties that President Bush won, she got a reelection margin of about 60 percent, which means some -- a lot of Republicans and conservative independents voted for her, because they know her now, and they like her, and they saw her in action working for them," he said.
That's not far off the mark from what pollsters say about the reasons for Hillary Clinton's strong showing in her 2006 reelection. Joe Lenski, executive vice president of Edison Media Research, says she gained 18 percentage points among independent voters from 2000 to 2006 -- even better than her 15-point gain among moderates.
But he and others also attribute the increase to the fact that Mrs. Clinton was a well-known incumbent with a weak Republican challenger. And she also had the advantage of a national wave, fueled by the unpopularity of President Bush and the Republican-led Congress, that propelled Democrats nationwide in 2006 and helped them regain control of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
Mrs. Clinton may not be able to count on moving independents elsewhere. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 47-percent of independents nationally view her unfavorably.