September 25th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
11 years ago

Bill Clinton lavishes praise on McCain

Clinton had kinds words for John McCain Thursday.

Clinton had kinds words for John McCain Thursday.

(CNN) - Bill Clinton has long pointed out he has enjoyed a good relationship with John McCain, but for a moment the former president almost sounded like a surrogate for the Republican presidential nominee Thursday morning.

Appearing on ABC's Good Morning America, Clinton said McCain's move to suspend his campaign and request a delay in the first presidential debate was a move done in "good faith," rather than as a stunt to halt falling poll numbers as several Democrats have alleged.

"I presume he did that in good faith since I know he wanted - I remember he asked for more debates to go all around the country and so I don't think we ought to overly parse that," Clinton said, sounding a familiar McCain Campaign talking point.

A few hours later Clinton lavished praise on McCain as he introduced him at the Clinton Global Initiative forum, saying Republican presidential nominee had taken the lead in his party when it comes to climate change.

"When most people in his party were thinking that global warming was overstated and maybe even a myth - he decided to look into it," he said.

The former president also described the two trips that McCain took with his wife Hillary Clinton, “the junior senator from New York," to look into the issue.

But Clinton has also been effusive in his praise for Obama in recent days, telling CBS earlier this week the Illinois senator is better-suited than McCain to bring the country out of the economic crisis.

Clinton's praise of McCain also came days after he told CNN's Larry King Live he was looking forward to campaigning on behalf of Barack Obama, but was not planning on "dumping" on McCain.

Watch: Bill Clinton praises Obama, Palin on Larry King

"I just don't believe that getting up here and hyperventilating about Gov. Palin, or Sen. McCain for that matter, is a productive use of a former president's time and is not a vote-getter," he said, adding later he was an admirer of McCain even though the two disagree on several issues.

McCain burnished his maverick credentials largely during the Clinton administration, when he sided with Democrats on several key issues including campaign finance reform. Clinton has long expressed admiration for the Arizona senator, even during the primary season earlier this year when he said McCain and his wife are "very close." McCain did however voter to impeach Clinton however.

"They always laugh that if they wound up being the nominees of their party, it would be the most civilized election in American history, and they're afraid they'd put the voters to sleep because they like and respect each other," he said at a South Carolina campaign stop in January.

soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. Franky

    Well, the former President does have a good friendship with Senator McCain and I believe him. I do believe Senator McCain wanted to do this in "good faith" but guess what? Perception is reality...I'm sure you agree with that, right President Clinton?

    Well guys, I'm gonna be gone for an hour or so but I wanna see this bailout plan they have. Hopefully when I come back later, we should see some action on the plan...

    September 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Steven McCarthy

    Bill needs to learn to shut his mouth. He is no longer President! Someone needs to remind him of this.

    September 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. bridgette

    I think it is time for Obama to just put him back where he came from. He is still angry that Hilary lost and he has not gotten over it. Everyone knows that it's a ploy by McCain to try and stop the VP debates. I think Obama should just tell him don't campaign for me anymore. Thanks but no thanks is what he should tell this man. Because he has no intentions of ever fully endorsing this man and he seems to be doing pretty good without it. I have lost a lot of respect for this man.

    September 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. blake

    Irrelevant...

    McCain is finished. If he goes to the debate he looks wishy washy...

    If if does not go to the debate he looks cowardly...

    Either way this is a win for Obama because millions will watch the debate, with or without grumpy pants.

    September 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  5. Don

    You have have overstayed ur welcome Bill!!

    September 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  6. Republican Supporters in the Dark

    I truly believe that the former President is on a personal crusade for Obama to lose the election. He has more positive things to say about McCain, than for Obama. The only positive thing he usually adds (in his opinion) is that he believes Obama will win. I think he is still bitter from the primaries. I was warming back up to Bill Clinton after the Dem. Convention, but now I am really not pleased with the way he has been putting the knife into Obama in a subtle way. Shame on you Mr. Clinton.

    September 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. Pam

    More proof that he wants Obama to lose so his wife can run again in 2012. Not going to work, Bill, give it up.

    September 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. Hillary

    Can someone please remind Pres Clinton that he is a Democrat? Stuff a sock in his mouth or somehting. He derailed Hillary and now he's trying for Obama.

    He's still out for number 1, himself.

    September 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. I feel sorry for you Bill

    I think Bill is having a hard time giving up the reins of the Democratic party. It must be difficult for him -to have had all the control and then watch some other candidate take that lead-especially the candidate that beat his wife for the job. It is time to move on, Mr. President. We are about ready to have another Democrat in office and it won't be a Clinton.

    September 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. DKW

    Sounds like a endorsement!! LOL...LOL

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. Megan

    Clinton is getting scared because the polls are looking good for Obama...what they say and what they really want are two separate things!!

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    don't care for you, bill

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. john

    Bill gives a new meaning to the saying " With friends like that who needs enemies"
    I am in the Northeast Pa. 20 miles from Scranton. Between the Clintons meeting with the McCain people and the lack luster support given to the democratic party I think Leiberman and McCain aren't the only mavericks.

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. angie

    uh ... yeah, right ...
    "They always laugh that if they wound up being the nominees of their party, it would be the most civilized election in American history, and they're afraid they'd put the voters to sleep because they like and respect each other,"
    we've seen both of them campaign ... & if they were campaigning against each other ... we're talking bloodbath!

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. Preatorian, Fort Myers

    Perhaps because Clinton knows better than anyone else–much of what we are facing today–is due to his own policies on degregulation, global economic expansion (anyone remember most-favored nation status for China), and ignorance or the need for oversight of the impact of a diregulated banking industry. Hello OFF SHORE BANKING, hello BANKS ACCEPTING MORTGAGE BACKED SECURITIES AT LOW RATES, thanks Bill C. you reallly grew the economy *(on paper).

    No doubt Bill would lavish praise on McCain–since he was against nearly everyi policy decision Clinton came up with except Vietnam and veterans healthcare.

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Brian MacDougall

    Wow. With friends like this...

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Sandra Florida will vote RED

    That is why Hillary supporters should NOT abandon Hillary by voting for Obama.

    The Clintons are trying in VAIN to get us to vote McCain without just coming right out and saying it. Hillary has a great relationship with McCain and may be able to get a great position on his administration.

    No OBAMA, He bashed, and trashed this phenominal woman, and the Obama supporters are using your votes for their gain.

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. AVERAGE JOE

    barrack supporter (including me)

    RELAX

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. JusLaugh

    Who's side is Bill Clinton on?

    It seems to me that he is trying to remain neutral without seeming too neutral. He either needs to fight for Obama or stay out of the picture.

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. ME

    Where's this story all bias all bull CNN???
    Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings, a democrat, on Wednesday warned two minority groups to beware of Sarah Palin because “anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks.”

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  21. BJGT

    Keating 5 – After a lengthy investigation, the Senate Ethics Committee determined in 1991 that five senators, John McCain being one of them, had substantially and improperly interfered with the investigation of Lincoln Savings.

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  22. Obama/Biden 100%

    WHAT?
    BILL, YOU NEED TO QUIT. AND YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I MEAN!

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  23. MD in GA

    I will never vote for a Clinton again as long as I live.

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. shirley ann

    Bill,

    Get over the fact that your wife lost. You can do all you want to jeopardize the election But Obama is going to win anyway. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. Larry

    CNN this is not news. He's still sulking because his wife lost to Obama.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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