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. mike

    McAuliffe is a political shill for hire to the highest bidder, and willing to say anything. I will be very dissappointed in Obama if he hires McAuliffe or cronies like Lanny Davis and James Carville in any capacity. That will certainly be the end of my contributions and/or hope for real change in America.

    "Change we can believe in" involves and fundamentally requires personnel changes. McAuliffe, Davis, and Carville made their beds. Please Mr Obama, make them lie in them, as they lied to us during the primary campaign. I donated to your campaign, in large part to get rid of them and their fellow shills. Make a real change and reject the professional political talking heads.

    If you lie down with dogs, you're gonna get up with fleas like McAuliffe, Davis, and Carville – they may now be back-pedalling, but they're still insects.

    July 1, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. Charlotte

    I will still write Hillary on my ballot in November.

    July 1, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  3. California Voter

    Hillary 08

    July 1, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  4. janey

    are you kidding me? Obama is admitting to "politics as usual?" what happened to his fresh "politics of change" approach? gone with the wind now that he knocked out the litle wife!

    July 1, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  5. GM

    DEMOCRATIC UNITY PARTY DREAM TEAM: Barack / Hillary ' 08 ! And, anyone who feels these two should not be politically wed, forever hold your peace!!

    July 1, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. mad in mn

    I would not give obama the time of day , no scruples, no morals and no integrity, a puppet in an empty suit!!!!

    July 1, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. marie/michigan

    the writing is on the wall-the obamabots are planning to blame Bill in the event of a loss in Nov. "it is what the Clinton's did or did not do"–never that Obama may not be qualified. the usual democrat blame game.

    July 1, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. Nobama

    Obama has a lot of nerve asking for Bill's help when his campaign and the media cast him as racist after the S. Carolina primary. Why would Obama want Bill to campaign for him if he truly thought Bill was a racist person? Could it be that Obama didn't really think Bill was racist but it was a good card to play at the time? Seems like the edumacated Obama followers were buying it hook line and sinker. Now they want Bill's help. Too bad.

    Everyone knows the Clintons are doing what they have to do for the party. Obama is an opportunist, just like the turncoats on his staff. It would be a terrible thing for our country if Obama wins. For the first time in my life I will regretfully be voting republican.

    July 1, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  9. Warren Webber

    Hillary and Carville has already paved the way-
    Republican's must be shaking in their boots now that they won't have this wedge issue talking point

    The last great and the next great; making it happen

    July 1, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  10. H Towell

    Why would he want Bill to campaign for him?He repeated that the first Bush and Reagan were his ideal presidents,and that the Clintons were racists(through his aa s.Remmber Dick Gregory speaking about the Clintons at the meeting in New Orleans.He was begging to hang them for being racist.There is no unity in the Democratic party-they hate each other.

    July 1, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  11. Alexis

    Bill stirred the race pot and Barack supporters and former Bill Clinton supporters called him out for the last time BARACK NEVER CALLED ANYBODY A RACIST DURING THE PRIMARY NOT EVEN GEARLDINE!!!!!!!!

    July 1, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  12. TRUTH

    obama didn't call Clinton a racist.
    Clinton did say after SC that even Jesse Jackson won NC. That can't be forgotten. That was racist.

    July 1, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  13. Unity!!!!

    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.........Lisa something seriously Wrong.......I 'm going to CALL 911

    July 1, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  14. Annette, Washington, DC

    Pres. Clinton knows what to do. He's basically taking the time he needs, when he is ready he'll do what is necessary.

    July 1, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  15. Vivienne

    Hilllary Clinton was extremely disrespectful to Barack Obama and so was Bill Clinton. They were awful and have made it more difficult for Barack Obama. Plus, she could have had a place on his ticket but she couldn't except the fact that he had won the delegate count. Now it is time for them to eat humble pie and hit the campaign trail not for Barack Obama but for this country. We can't sit back and let John "War" McCain lead us into battle in IRAN. We are in big trouble in this country. Just imagine where we will be if he gets the office in November. Geesh! I feel we are headed for something worse than a depression and the Chinese own us. This is so scary.

    July 1, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. Gene

    You PUMA people need to get in touch with reality. HILLARY IS NOT IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE! She has already conceded AND ENDORSED Obama. They are NOT gonna change their minds at the democratic convention. Obama is the democratic candidate.

    You PUMA people are so pathetic.. you would even make HILLARY sick!

    July 1, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  17. Jeb

    Bill is one stylin' dude.

    Look at that tie and shirt combo. Straight out of Miami.

    July 1, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  18. David

    haha sorry you're not fooling us about getting along with bill clinton, just like you didnt fool us into voting for you in the first place. keep stealing elections-youll fit right in with 'washington' politicians.

    July 1, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  19. C Spurgeon

    Oh for the 8 years of prosperity, peace and gains that Clinton brought to us during his tenure. I truly hope Obama can do the same plus because it is going to take a lot to do away with the harm the Bushman has done.

    July 1, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  20. Tim from WV

    Did he really have to kiss "up" as Bill said? I sure it woudl have been no problem for Obama.

    July 1, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  21. concerned

    I wish both Bill and Hillary would snub their noses at Barack. I'm sure they are doing this for their own reasons.

    I give them credit for hiding whatever hate they have for Obama. I guess that's politics.

    If I can't have HIllary – I'll go after McCain

    NO OBAMA

    July 1, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  22. The primary is over , you fools

    What better can a smart politician do than support the nominee for his party, all those who says Bill should not help Obama are pathetic .
    he was fighting for his wife to get the nomination, she didn't, now let's move on and retake the white house. If she was the nominee he would have tp help her bring over his voters and this the politically smartest thing to do..

    Staying away by not helping hoping he loses the general election so she can run again in 4 years would not go unscrutinized,
    you stupid really think the media would let this go so easilly.,
    Obama also has 18 millions who voted for him and you could bet in 4 years they would have come back haunting Hillary.

    July 1, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  23. Geneva Hill

    UNITE DEMOCRATS…WE NEED TO TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK!

    July 1, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  24. BIg Wheel Keep On Turning!!!

    Kiki ..............Dont help Obama, he is helpless. I dont want you to go down in flames with him. Tell Hillary not to take VP........Down?.........I think that is what MONICA DID !!!!

    July 1, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  25. wiser

    Senator Obama doesn’t deserve President Clinton’s support. He is a coward who gives the dirty work to his campaign hatchet men. Senator Obama falsely acts above the fray but wallows in the dirt.

    Democrats with a functioning memory do not forgive Senator Obama’s treatment of our greatest President!

    Democrats for McCain!

    July 1, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
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