July 1st, 2008
06:01 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama discusses his chat with Bill Clinton

Obama said he wants Bill Clinton on the campaign trail again.
Obama said he wants Bill Clinton on the campaign trail again.

(CNN) - Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are moving on.

In Obama's first comments about his widely-covered phone conversation with the former president Monday morning, the Illinois senator said the two did not dwell on the prolonged and at times divisive primary race.

Watch: Obama talks about his phone call

"We did not belabor the primary season,” Obama told reporters Tuesday. “I think what we both acknowledged is, is that when you’re in a tough primary battle you say things that afterward you may end up thinking, that may have been a little intemperate. But that’s the nature of political campaigns.”

Obama also said he wants Clinton to become a staple on the campaign trail next fall, even though the former president's periodic outbursts and at-times aggressive promotion of his wife's candidacy drew widespread criticisms.

“I absolutely want Bill Clinton campaigning for me,” Obama said, adding, "He is one of the most gifted public officials of our generation and has been one of the most successful presidents that we’ve had in my lifetime."

Watch: Obama, Clintons: Hard feelings?

The high-profile conversation came more than two weeks after Hillary Clinton formally abandoned her own White House bid and amid rumors the 42nd president holds a grudge against the man who knocked his wife out of contention for the party's presidential nomination. Some reports have said Clinton is specifically upset with Obama's criticisms of his administration over the course of the campaign and the media's coverage of the race.

In an interview on CNN Sunday, close Clinton friend and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe denied the reports that the former president is angry with Obama, calling that notion "ridiculous."

soundoff (173 Responses)
  1. Kiki

    Dont help Obama, he is helpless. I dont want you to go down in flames with him. Tell Hillary not to take VP.

    July 1, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  2. Obama Supporter from FL

    "Obama discusses his chat Bill Clinton" – really, is Bill a chat? I didn't know a person could be a chat. But obviously it must be possible because I KNOW CNN wouldn't make a ridiculous grammatical mistake, AGAIN.

    July 1, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  3. Rumpusgoopus

    "He is one of the most gifted public officials of our generation..."

    I'm surprised CNN didn't change the headline to read: "Obama: Clinton just a 'public official.'"

    July 1, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  4. BIFF, BIFFINGTON...

    UNITE DEMOCRATS...

    LET'S DO WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN OUR GOVERNMENT BACK!!!

    July 1, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  5. mitchell hussein martin

    president obama is the right choice.

    July 1, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  6. CTP

    Be careful...sometimes he speaks before thinking.

    July 1, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  7. Kevin-Seattle

    Another positive steps in uniting the party. This will be a huge plus for Obama's compaign.

    Obama 08

    July 1, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. Shannon

    Did he say to Bill, sorry about the whole calling you a racist thing. You know how it is Bill, I will say or do anything to get elected. It was nothing personal!

    July 1, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  9. Linda from Prescott AZ

    President Clinton should be on the Campaign Trail promoting Senator Obama to the best of his abilities.

    The Former President does have a stake in this as he will be rmembered for what he does or does not do if by a minimal chance our candidate loses.

    July 1, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. Lisa

    We need you Bill please don't leave us with Obama!!!

    July 1, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  11. puff

    Bill, please don't campaign for this idiot. When the convention rolls around by that time the DNC and those super delegates are going to realize they have made a grave error and they will then crown Hillary and you will get to be 1st MAN!!
    Do not go out on the trail for NOBAMA, he is not fit to wipe his shoes on the door mat of the white house.
    PUMA

    July 1, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  12. Ardnuas

    I would LOVE to see Obama, and Clinton on the same stage!!!
    Obama/Biden08

    July 1, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  13. DJ in TX

    As previously stated, the so called "rift" was much ado about nothing. Of course there was some feelings hurt during the primary season, as stated that is the nature of politics (unfortunately). But it is time to move forward with the task at hand and that is getting a Democrat, Senator Barack Obama elected to the White House.

    July 1, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. strong

    Having Bill Clinton as a helper and ally on one's side is always a plus.
    The man is brilliant and a captivating and sought-after orator. I remember that whenever he did his State of the Union speeches, he hardly ever consulted his notes. He knew his stuff through and through.

    It is too bad that people keep on bringing up the Lewinsky debacle, even to this day. Get over it. No one is perfect.

    Hope to see and hear more from Bill Clinton.

    July 1, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  15. You should have voted for Hillary!!!

    Bill Clinton was a fantastic President. Obama would do well to have him in his corner. Maybe he will learn something!

    July 1, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  16. Obama Supporter

    BIll Clinton and Hillary will be out in force for Obama. I don't care what anyone says. The Obama/Clinton Ticket is gonna happen and needs to happen. There is NOT another more qualified person to for Obama to pick. He would be a fool not to put her on the ticket. If Clinton lands on that ticket the democrats will control the white house for 16 years cause after Obama's 8 years are up Hillary would win in a landslide.

    July 1, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  17. Lisa

    Obama asking another man to campaign for you is outrageous. You wanted to kick the Clinton's out of the race and now they're your best friends. Leave Bill & Hill alone and win this election on your own.

    Bill & Hill 08

    July 1, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  18. Shaik

    OK, this is a good start....now, the former president needs to endorse Obama in a public event, filled with pomp and splendor....much the same way Ted Kennedy endorsed the candidate.

    July 1, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  19. Upon Further Review,Texas

    Clinton the Nafta crook that keeps on giving.

    July 1, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. Saad from NJ

    The fact of the matter is that people who like Obama like him him for who "HE" is. Also, the people who like Bill Clinton like him for who "HE" is and what he has done. To those people, that was then and this is now. And now means to move on from the bitter comments used on the campaign trail and focus on important issues on hand for the people and the country.

    The phone conversation and what happened on it is only of interest to those who lack intellect level of some sort and dwell on silly rather than important things. Period.

    July 1, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. Nancy

    Its on! As it is said.

    July 1, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  22. Motov8n

    I think Bill will be ok. He's a big boy!! After-all wasn't he the one who said "if you can't stand the heat , get out of the kitchen" ?

    July 1, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  23. slim

    SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE! obama's such a phony panderer, he's expanding bush's unconstitutional faith-based programs in order to get religious votes! programs that discrimninate gainst people based on "religious beliefs" SHOULD NOT be getting federal tax dollars.

    wake up people! the dem's picked a loser again. hopefully people will wake up and realize this before we get another clueless lame-duck bush-like president.

    July 1, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  24. California

    Yes, Obama can – with Clintons!

    July 1, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  25. Jeff D, South Bend, IN

    I just wish he would go away. Frankly, I'm tired of hearing about him, hearing from him, or seeing his scandals being aired in public. And tired of the race-baiting, tired of "it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is".

    Just go away.

    July 1, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
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