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. California

    dont matter his a crook to me all the time

    September 25, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. Jude

    I don't have a problem with Clinton praising McCain. If people want to point this out...then they should also point out the Clinton's vote for President is "Obama". Period...End of Story... So what, if he doesn't go negative on McCain...that's okay becuase he doesn't have too or need too....We don't need more Rove politics here.

    September 25, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  3. jAYjAY

    Bill is happy that McCain has a pretty intern.

    "so John did you bring Palin with you?"

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  4. Victor

    Bill's been running his mouth lately...has anyone ever heard the only surviving past republican president, Bush Snr. say anything about Obama? So much for statesmanship at this crucial stage Bill...this is a serious election and issues should should be more important than personalities...you may be sending the wrong message to your supporters and admirers!!!

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  5. barbara

    I have lost all respect for Bill Clinton. It sounds as though he is
    trying very hard to get McStupid elected so Hillary will run again in 2012. Sour Grapes!!

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. thor

    You Go Bill.
    About time the truth comes out.
    Ba Ba Ba you cry baby Dem

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. Michele

    President Clinton is a sharp , wise and smart politician, I am sure he knows what he is doing, he did the same things during the primaries, he acted like he was sabotaging his wife for a while. Just give him a little bit more credit, he is not senile yet, he is la ong way from being that

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. Ed from Dallas

    You know, am kinda happy bill is being a jerk.
    When Obama gets elected, he will owe the Clinton's nothing. He will be free from their influence and solority politics.
    Obama will win with a clean slate.

    Bill can try to put Lipstick on Johnah McPalin's campaign but they will still be swines come Nov 5.

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. Preatorian, Fort Myers

    Of course.
    How could he lavish praise on Obama..stumblbumpkin-–who hasn't really ever done anything of note.

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. Biff

    THE most tepid support of a nominee by a former president of the same party that i have ever witnessed.

    Shameful.

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. Canuck

    Why is it that through this whole crisis Hillary Clinton has looked the most presidential? And seems to have the best ideas to boot. Americans, you really blew it. You had a chance for an amazing leader. Now you're stuck with McCain or Obama. Good luck with that!

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. Arkansas Undertaker

    Everytime Bill Clinton opens hisa mouth now a days He upset me.
    This man wants Obama to loose because he cant stand giving up the Power and Leadership of the Democratic Party. And this is very SAD.

    Even if Barack looses, which I dont think he will, Hillary's chances of being President have been shot to hell because of her husband.

    Bill Clinton's legacy is in the crapper, especially with African Americans.

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. Beth from Virginia

    No matter which way I look at it – giving Clinton EVERY benefit of the doubt – it sounds so much like an endorsement for the opposition. I think its disgraceful that Clinton isn't out there stumping for Obama like a madman. What is he thinking???

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. jim, kansas city MO

    Even good ol' Bill knows that Obama is no good.
    Claiming McCain is afraid to debate Obama. Thats mildly put load of BS.
    Debate is supposed to be in foreign policy, what does Obama have to debate here, his experience as "community organizer" , as major Guliani said "what!!!!!!!!!!"

    If he wins he will be by far the most inexperienced president in the history of the USA.

    I will give him this, when it comes to giving speeched and reading from telepromter, communication professors and students who study communication should take notes from Obama, this guy has it down, he is PRESENT all the time in front of cameras.

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. Loud & Proud Leftie

    McCain's grandstanding exposed (from Joe Sudbay)

    At 10:00 a.m., Congressional leaders are meeting to work on the bailout deal:
    Congressional Democrats and Republicans on key committees are nearing agreement on a Wall Street bailout package and will sit down Thursday morning to craft a final bipartisan plan, according to a Democratic source.

    The aide said that “not too many” issues remain unresolved for the 10 a.m. meeting
    Because John McCain is campaigning in NYC, he won't be there. But, most of the Congressional leaders really don't want him there anyway.

    At 4:00 p.m., (ABC News reported via email) George Bush, whose approval rating on the economy is at 16% with a 76% disapproval, will be hosting the White House photo-op (that's what Barney Frank is calling it). John McCain will be there for that session.

    Let's be clear: McCain will miss the meeting about substance. But, McCain will be there for the grandstanding. You know the Palin/McCain campaign is secretly hoping there is no deal. For them, no deal means no debates

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Democrats for McCain

    Buried on page two, we are reminded that McCain has been inviting Obama to debate MANY times and been turned down. Asking Obama to step out of the campaign celebrity spotlight and into an office to work on dire economic issues probably won't suit him well. Ditto for the Presidency.

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. Canadian Cate

    well, well, well, – the mask comes off the obamabots – I think it's you so called citizens that should crawl back into the attic – what's going to happen if obama gets elected – are you going to throw out the other half of the country – good luck with that and good luck with your empty suit candidate – you will get what you deserve in your blind faith in a loser like him.

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  18. Pro

    Is it me or is he starting to look like Senator Joe Lieberman, a total sellout and traitor!

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. McSLICK

    So what if the McLame campaign use his words and praise for an ad against Obama

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. jim, kansas city MO

    Even good ol' Bill knows that Obama is no good.
    Claiming McCain is afraid to debate Obama. Thats mildly put load of BS.
    Debate is supposed to be in foreign policy, what does Obama have to debate here, his experience as "community organizer" , as major Guliani said "what!!!!!!!!!!"

    If he wins he will be by far the most inexperienced president in the history of the USA.

    I will give him this, when it comes to giving speeched and reading from telepromter, communication professors and students who study communication should take notes from Obama, this guy has it down, he is PRESENT all the time in front of cameras..

    September 25, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. CM

    Bill still has memories of the maverick McCain. Too bad he's not in active politics anymore to see what McCain has become.

    I still believe that Bill has a greater plan in mind and he probably told Obama the outline when they met for lunch.

    Independents still trust Bill, this way he doesn't come off as partisan but will gently persuade the undecideds to go for Barack.

    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  22. silencedogood

    Clinton's comments are right on and add to my respect for him.

    Bottom line: McCain has proven yet again that he is a true patriot, has sound judgment, and is willing to make tough decisions. In other words a real leader. Obama seems content to just vote "present" on the economy.

    It is absurd for Obama, as a sitting senator and presidential nominee, to refuse to engage this difficult issue by sitting down at the table with the combined gravitas he and McCain would bring and working on this tough issue.

    Biden says we need to debate the issues, well, the financial crisis is THE issue right now. Just as with the Russian invasion of Georgia, Obama is sitting on the sidelines while McCain is out on the field.

    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Swing vote

    You go Bill tell them Obamas supporter that this COUNTRY NEED HELP FIRST. McCain is helping bailing out in good faith not OBAMA FIRSt.

    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. kevin

    I am an ardent Hillary supporter. She is the woman. I feel bad for Hillary. Because of Bill's stupid remark- Hillary lost black votes. Even if Hillary wants to run in 2012- is not it politically correct to keep his mouth shut today? Is not it safe to show ,"Oh we have been after Obama- but sorry he lost- so i am running- all Obama supporters- come to me"..Probably that is a better way to get Obama supporters.

    Bill needs to go back to his closet. He is losing his legacy- and he is not able to see it.

    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. ME

    lil yogini.....why are you liberals all so angry? so mean-spirited? so awful?

    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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