July 1st, 2008
06:01 PM ET
10 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. saga for Obama

    i respect and love the Clinton's...some of their supporters though...? i dont know about.
    to the PUMA people can someone pleeeease show me where Obama was "raciest", where other than the Anny Oakley comment he was disrespectful....can someone please tell me where to find the speeches where he was sexist? i have searched all over and can not find a thing...please help cause i want to see where you are justified in your HATE for Obama. i dont want to think of you as raciest bitter or stupid people who wish to see our Nation destroyed by 4 more years of the Republican agenda...
    please help!!

    GO Bill GO Obama

    July 1, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. David Goldman







    July 1, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. linda from South Dakota

    obama,, be careful,, Bills up to something when he wants to help out,, he has a history of holdin grudges and getting what he wants even if its illegal,give him a job that he cant screw up and if he does, it doesnt reflect on you,,,

    July 1, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. Jake, California

    I used to be so excited during the Dem primary, but now everything is dull!

    Cnn, we need more drama!

    July 1, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. Raymond Duke

    I like Bill Clinton but with Obama is where we split. He can endorse, campagin for him with speeches or whatever but I will not vote for Obama or democrat period this year. Plus Bill ought to have more pride than go for a loser that called him or had his surrgoates call him a racist.

    July 1, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. California Girl

    To heal the differences between the two campaigns, Obama needs to appoint Hillary in a top position in his cabinet or VP in order to get those votes that are going to McCain because of the nasty primaries between Obama and Hillary. President Clinton stood by Hillary all the way till the end more than any other husband in politics supporting his wife will ever do. Hillary is not a stepford wife as the republican wives seem to be. Hillary will help Obama in a positive and energizing way. Politics seems so boring without Hillary.

    July 1, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  7. Missy

    Well, I'm still not a Clinton fan...but it could work, I guess. Bill is just such a loose cannon.

    July 1, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  8. Voluminous

    Don't trust Bill, Barack, he's out to undermine and humiliate you.
    He's an ugly guy who holds grudges and does not want to see anybody else as the head of the Democratic Party.
    Besides, he's too scandal-prone!

    July 1, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |




    July 1, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. jane

    Don't give them any help Billy, remember what they did to you in the primaries.

    July 1, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. FayeinCT

    Bill go ahead and tell Obama to stuff it.

    July 1, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  12. Women In California For Obama

    Who cares? This is such nonsense.

    July 1, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    Okay, now what? Bill is not going to do any more than Obama let him.

    People would be made to think, the ball was in Clinton's court all along, but it wasn't and it won't be.

    Now let Billary step out of line and see what will befell him along with an unrepairable damage to his legacy.

    July 1, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  14. Bill

    Barack is Bills heir in more ways than we accept.

    July 1, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  15. BH

    Thanks to senator Obama for showing some respect to president Bill Clinton. He deserve a lot more respect than was shown by dumbs and idiots throughout the primary season including those talking heads on TV . He definitely is one of the best presdident America had. 90's were good because of peace and prosperity.

    July 1, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  16. Total Northern California Democrat for Obama


    July 1, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. Delegate for Hillary Clinton from California

    I am a strong Hillary Clinton supporter and a delegate for her to the convention, I have worked on President Clinton campaigns in 1992 and 1996 and all I have to say that I admire the Clintons very much and for all that they have done and what they will do for America!

    Senator Obama as our niminee now, we need Senator Clinton as our Vice President and we need all Obama and Clinton supporters to come together and win in November.

    We need to stop this game of looking for a good VP when we already have her, we have President Clinton and Senator Obama, let's get to work now and not wait for the Convention!!!

    Obama/Cinton 2008

    July 1, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  18. Ellen

    How much money did Obama have to promise to raise for HRC's huge primary debt in order for Bill to honor him with speaking to him on the phone? McCain for President!

    July 1, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. California Gold

    Obama probably does not dwell on the past, but Bill Clinton does. He is famous for his temper, long term memory and revenge. He has to "make nice" for the party and to rehabilitate his public image so it doesn't tarnish his presidential legacy. But Bill Clinton does not take defeat well. He is responsible in part for his wife's failed bid for the party's nomination. His bad behavior through the preliminary season is a well documented and well known. He is the one who worked to push Hillary as a VP running mate, much to the discomfort of Barack Obama's campaign. Now he demands Barack Obama come to him and, among other things, demands Barack Obama help pay off his wife's horrendous campaign debt. Bill Clinton needs to talk to a therapist and perhaps try to emulate Barack Obama's better personality traits, such as fairness.

    Sadly Bill Clinton isn't done yet. There will be a payback for crossing him. You can bet on it.

    July 1, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  20. Kevin, SF, CA

    Bill for VP!

    July 1, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  21. Proud American

    Lets Go Dems!!!

    July 1, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  22. Omeili

    Clark; McCain with low judgment correct, so is half the American public that are still considering people with war(blood on their hands) recordes to lead them. You call your country "God`s own country" if you know what that means and you are still so blind to accept God`s gift on America, then it is God help America and the whole World and not "God bless America" any more Amen. Remenber those who fight by the sword dies by the sword. Please stop given power to trained to kill and people who share their views, they can not lead but distroy.

    Omeili Germany

    July 1, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  23. Steve

    I just love the people who keep saying that Bill and Hillary don't actually want Obama to be elected. I mean, talk about seeing what you want to see. Here's the reality: they're mainstream Democrats to the core. They want a Democrat to be president. This gives them more power. They like power.

    They're making a decision based on logic rather than emotion. This is something that the PUMA types – I mean, the ones who aren't actually soldiers in Operation Chaos – might want to try.

    July 1, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  24. It's a done deal

    Keep your distance Obama. Be careful.

    July 1, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |

    I only cantell Mr. OBAMA with due respect to be very careful with Mr.
    Clinton, and not to forget all advices givento him in the near past
    about help from Mr. Clinton. Watch out !! Please. ... and remember
    that you got there by yourself !!!

    Jose Alcantara, NYC NY

    July 1, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
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