(CBS)-- The U.S. is in the midst of an economic recovery that history suggests will take 10 years, former President Bill Clinton said in an interview Tuesday with CBS News.
"Over the last 500 years, whenever there's a financial system collapse, it takes 5-10 years to return to full employment. And if you have a financial collapse and a real estate collapse, it's almost always out there at 10 years," Mr. Clinton said. "So what our government has to do, and our communities and states have to do, is to try to beat that record."
Mr. Clinton, who has strongly backed President Barack Obama and is campaigning for his reelection, suggested that Mr. Obama's economic policies are working and that he deserves a chance to continue.
"I believe we can beat that," Clinton said. "I just don't think we can do it in four years."
The former president spoke to CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley about a wide range of issues, including the urgency of solving the European debt crisis.
Mr. Clinton supported the idea of European bonds backed by the stronger economies on the continent as one solution to stabilize the economies and boost investor confidence. But he painted the European crisis as dire, both for Europe and for the United States.
"It's sort of like a cloud in the background that's holding us back," he said. "I don't think they have a lot of time. I think, you know, one or two months. And I'd try to do it yesterday if I were in their position."