CLINTON, South Carolina (CNN) - A day after slogging through several low-key, wonkish events without mentioning his wife's top Democratic rival, a more-energized Bill Clinton once again brought up identity politics on Friday.
Despite the media furor surrounding some of his recent comments, the former president avoided any of the race-based South Carolina expectations-lowering for which he has been criticized. The state's Democratic voters head to the polls tomorrow.
"While I think it would be good based on my personal life experience to have the first woman president," Clinton said in this town that shares his name, "I also understand why a lot of African-American voters think it would symbolically powerful and important to elect a brilliant, articulate, compelling vision embodied in Sen. Obama as the first African-American president."
Clinton made the remarks, unprompted, at the beginning of his speech here, also adding that Hispanics had also been excited about the prospect of Gov. Bill Richardson's candidacy.
He said voters "are entitled to have their choices respected" but concluded that Americans should choose a president based on qualifications and experience.
In Spartanburg earlier Friday, Clinton decried racial divisions in politics and said that Americans are "literally aching to live in a post-racial future."
He said Obama and his wife had called "a truce" over their recent sniping, although he did not specify which statements he was referencing.
"I was glad to see Sen. Obama and Hillary sort of call a truce the other day," he said. "They said 'Okay, we've got some differences but we can't let it become so harsh that it undermines our longing to bring this country together.' I think that's important. The country is literally almost in physical agony begging for this."
The two campaigns had tried, but failed, to come to a similar agreement last week.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby</p