(WASHINGTON) -- The Republican Party is "begging for America to fail" by rooting for President Obama's signature health care law to fail, former President Bill Clinton said during an interview for This Week with ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "I've never seen a time — can you remember a time in your lifetime when a major political party was just sitting around, begging for America to fail … I don't know what's going to happen".
"But I'll be shocked if it fails," Clinton, who attempted during his first term as president to overhaul the country's healthcare system in the early 1990s, said during an interview taped Thursday in New York while the annual Clinton Global Initiative was taking place.
A recent ABC News-Washington Post-poll found that more than half of Americans are opposed to the Affordable Care Act. But for his part, Clinton is optimistic that with time, the law – known more commonly as "Obamacare" — will grow in popularity.
"I just think that when all these dire predictions don't come out, if they don't — I believe that pretty soon, within the next several years, this'll be like Medicare and Medicaid. And it'll be a normal part of our life. And people will be glad it's there," the former president told ABC News.
Clinton was responding to a recent suggestion by Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's political future was tied to the success or failure of Obamacare. Graham said he thinks the law will fail.
Clinton told Stephanopoulos he was "not at all" concerned about the potential failure of the Affordable Care Act having any impact on a potential run by his wife for the White House in 2016.
"I think this bill's already produced a lot of good results and every — look, they are desperate for this bill to fail, because if it's not a failure, their whole — everything they've been telling us since 1980 that government's bad is wrong. They so badly want it to fail," he said.
Since being passed in 2010, the Affordable Care Act has been a political lightning rod and has been subject to attempts by Republicans to delay and defund it. The law is at the center of the current fight in Congress that could lead to a government shutdown, which would be the first in almost 20 years.
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