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. MARYANN Oswego IL

    Barack Obama is NO President William Jefferson Clinton. Barack needs to publicly apologize to our great ex-president for calling him a RACIST. Obama needs the CLINTONS to pave his way because he will not know how to handle the bumps in the road. The Clintons are and were GREAT for our country..The Obama 's are going to set back racial differences especially with Michelle and her attitude toward TYPICAL WHITE AMERICANS.Obama is no different than are current president ,except for the fact that Obama gives a great speech.

    July 1, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. Willow, from Iowa

    I think they will all do what they need to do this fall to win the election. Regardless of how they feel about each other, regardless of whether they even respect each other, they will band together to get the GE won by a Democrat.

    Like Hillary has said, "We are a family. We work together, we know each other. Once the primary is over, we will again band together to get done what needs to be done." (Paraphrased here).

    W

    July 1, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  3. The Lady

    I really don't care.

    July 1, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  4. Debby

    I have to laugh how Obama is groveling up to Clinton now. What happened to all his endorsers like turncoat Richardson and the rest of the losers club.

    July 1, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  5. Loretta from California

    and he's tough, courageous, has back-bone. He also knows what it take to fight the "Elitist" GOP Dictatorship.

    July 1, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  6. OBAMA 08

    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..........HELP ..............SOMEBODY CALL 911 for LISA!!!

    July 1, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  7. Annie

    Why would Obama want Bill Clinton to campaign for him when he specifically said, "Reagan was a good orator, Bill Clinton was not".

    I remember when Obama made that comment. I thought Obama was rude and "hit below the belt," especially when he compared Clinton, a democrat, to Reagan who was a republican.

    If I were Bill Clinton, I would outright refuse to campaign for Obama – unless Obama made Hillary his veep.

    In fact, if Obama doesn't make Hillary his veep, he won't get my vote!!!

    July 1, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  8. Mary

    Senator Obama is expecting too much since he and his supporters were so uncivilized toward the Clintons.

    July 1, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  9. JfromNC

    Slim – The faith-based program was actually started under Bill Clinton. Bush changed it to line the pockets of his buddies. Obama will restore it as it was orginally meant to be.

    July 1, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  10. california voter

    you guys are such poor excuses for journalists. "Obama said he wants Clinton ... even though the former president's periodic outbursts and at-times aggressive promotion of his wife's candidacy drew widespread criticisms." give me a break–obama doesn't deserve help from clinton after his own guffaws on the campaign trail. clinton would do well to distance himself from the unexperienced junior senator.

    July 1, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  11. AKRON, OHIO OBOMA SUPPORTER

    BE CAREFUL OBOMA DO NOT FORGET ABOUT THE WORDS THAT WERE SPOKEN THE CLINTONS PLAN ON BRINGING OUT SOME WHAT THEY CALL AWFUL NEWS ABOUT YOU IN OCTOBER.

    July 1, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. Herman in LA

    I'm getting sick of it all...

    July 1, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  13. Ron. Toronto Canada

    SAGA FOR OBAMA ! I am a 75 year old Canadian and watched the Primary"s from start to finish. I also watch CNN everyday. I agree with every word SAGA FOR OBAMA say's.I am also a Hillary fans.As for Puma and the Hillary girls,GET OVER IT ,We lost.

    July 1, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  14. Chris in Va.

    I found it amusing that Hillary was more of a man at accepting defeat than Bill. What do you expect from someone who will have the first presidential library with an "adults only" section?

    July 1, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  15. dan

    "Did he say to Bill, sorry about the whole calling you a racist thing"

    Quots and links to those quotes please, oh wait is this just another blatant lie that never happened by a obama hater? Couldn't be.....

    July 1, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  16. Indra in FL

    I honestly believe that the Clintons don't want Obama to win in 08 so that Hillary can run again in 2012.

    Bill's ego is larger than China. Obama's done just fine without them – I wish he could continue without them, but I'm not sure that he can. Obama is, by far, the bigger man here, though. So for the sake of party unity, I hope the 3 of them get together, hold hands, and sing Kumbaya.

    July 1, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  17. Unity!!!!

    Obama...........“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."Let the SHOW begin ..........NEXT!!!

    July 1, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  18. Jeff in California

    Bill didn't run a succeful, scalpel, precise war. He was too busy trying to "save" his legacy after the Monica scandel. If he did conduct such a war, there should not have been an extremist force that could have performed the 9/11 attacks. The fact is Bill was more concerned about himself than Osama and we have all paid the price. Too bad that more of the American people don't seem to realize it. But, Bill is a teflon guy, nothing sticks. Each party has them, I can't fault the democrats for that.

    July 1, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  19. kit hogan

    Run Obama, Run!! Stay away from Bill and Hillary...they do not have your best interests at heart...why would they want him to win in the fall? that would screw Hillary's chances in 2012.......how dumb do the clintons think Obama is? how dumb do they think we are?

    July 1, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  20. Joe - Wilmington, DE

    Why is this unethical pervert still considered important?

    July 1, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  21. Pinoy_Ako

    Kiki, I know you! Stop posing as a Democrat/Hillary supporter... you Republican!

    July 1, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  22. Unity!!!!

    Obama...........“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."..............LOOK OUT McSame.... Obama
    bring in HIS BIG GUN............Unbeatable......OLD jerk!!!!!!

    July 1, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  23. Ron

    He did not help Hillary I cannot see him doing much good for Obama.
    Bill has made some real brash comments during the primaries. I hope he can keep his arrogance in check during the general election.

    July 1, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  24. NoBushThirdTerm

    Bill Clinton is nothing if not the consummate politician. He won't be "First Man" and can clearly see that the role left to him is that of mentor. He's smart enough to play that role to the hilt...

    July 1, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  25. Democrat Still Thinking

    This is ridiculous. Obama is the same guy that praised Reagan and trashed Bill Clinton up to the point where he was telling African Americans that Clinton did not do anything for them. I say Bill, don't do it, don't endorse this no good Novice.

    July 1, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
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