PATERSON, N.J. –Former President Bill Clinton on Friday announced his support for Rep Bill Pascrell in the Democratic Primary race for New Jersey's Ninth Congressional District, 

"I know Bill Pascrell, and he is the fighter we need to support President Obama,” President Clinton said in a statement issued by the Pascrell campaign.  "Bill helped write President Obama’s health care law, he’s a leader protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare, and he never stops fighting for the middle class.

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"Nothing is more important to Bill than creating jobs in New Jersey,'' continued Clinton's statement. "I saw that in the eight years we worked together to build unprecedented prosperity for America. We can't afford to lose his ideas, energy, and experience just when they're needed most.”

Some political observers think Clinton's endorsement will level the playing field in the primary, according to a story on Pascrell's opponent, Rep. Steve Rothman, enjoys an advantage in voter registration in the newly-drawn district which has more Bergen County Democrats than Passaic County party members.

It's unusual for a President to make endorsements in a primary, but in this case Clinton seemed to be repaying political debts from from two years ago. Pascrell, with most other New Jersey Democratic congress members, had back Hillary Clinton for president in 2008. Rothman was the only member of the state's congressional delegation to support Barak Obama in the primary, according to

In reaction to the Clinton endorsement, Rothman issued the following statement: "While I have great respect for Bill and Hillary Clinton, five years ago I endorsed Barack Obama for President and served as his campaign's Northeast Co-Chair because I believed then, as I believe now, that he was the right choice for progressive Democrats.

"This election will be won by the candidate who most shares the Democratic Party’s ideals and values,'' continued Rothman's statement. "I’m the only candidate who is a consistent champion of progressive values like standing up for a woman’s right to choose and fighting for marriage equality. Unlike Bill Pascrell, I voted against oil drilling 50 miles off the New Jersey coast, against the $5 billion, 700-mile long Mexican border fence and against eliminating estate taxes for billionaires. That’s why I will win this race.” 

Meanwhile, Pascrell was he was “honored to have the support of Bill Clinton”

"Fighting side by side with President Clinton, our nation achieved tremendous prosperity and a balanced budget,’’ Pascrell said in a press release. “Today, the Republicans are promoting the same George Bush policies that ended President Clinton’s era of prosperity – special interest tax breaks, tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts in education and job training, all leading to record deficits. Those policies failed, but the Tea Party Republicans want to bring them all back and that’s why I’m running, to stop the Tea Party.”