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, β€œthe 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. TYPICAL POLITICIAN

    He's so bent out of shape over the entire Hillary thing, it's so obvious. She didn't deserve the nomination, YOU HAVE TO WIN IT! Get over it!

    September 25, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Pete S

    Who cares about Bill Clinton? It seems that everyone has forgotten what he did during his time as president from a family perspective and what he did not do for the country. The man was impeached! Its time to put politics aside and wake up. Go away Bill – no one wants to hear from you ever again.

    September 25, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Dick in Sioux Falls

    If John McCain was in such a great hurry to get back to Washington, how come he canceled Dave Letterman, but since the taping of that show was the same time as his taping of the Couric interview, how much of this prevarication (lying) are we supposed to swallow?!

    Bill Clinton is fast becoming yesterday's news. It was during his administration that much of the control of the banking industry was removed. It is increasingly clear that the Clinton's have not given up on 2012. Such perfidy within Democratic ranks!

    September 25, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Rob

    ya McCain is such a wonderful candidate – if you don't agree with his position on something just wait a day or so he'll come around.

    September 25, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. frank, pennsylvania

    I AM DISAPPOINTED IN BILL! HIS SELFISHNESS IS VERY APPARENT IN HIS COMMENT!

    September 25, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. J.D.

    As a Barack Obama supporter, I have a request for President Clinton: stop helping.

    September 25, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Confused Billy

    (Horns) Hmm if McBush wins he will really screw up the country bad and then Hillary will destroy him in 2012.
    (Halo) No No Darn it. McBush would be terrible. I know Obama must win this for the sake of our country.

    Oh what to do and what to say???

    September 25, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Charlie

    Bill! SHE LOST! GET OVER IT!

    September 25, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. K. S. Minneapolis,MN

    McCain owns 7 houses.
    McCain owns 13 cars.
    * Country First? * Hardly.

    That Obama is such an elitist.

    September 25, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. PlJones

    Well Alrightee Then – Okay Bill if you want to turn Repub, go ahead then you can talk about Mccain, being your good friend, and have all these nice things to say, with out leaving a lot of Democrats wondering who side you are really on..

    September 25, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. Mooseintheheadlights

    Put him back in the lock box throw the key away .
    Dont even have to Read between the lines on this.
    Latest news flash
    The Wildlife gun toting hunter and McWar are lost in the underBush.

    September 25, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. Dameun Strange

    Honestly, I could careless what Clinton thinks. He is self-serving opportunist trying to sabotage Obama's campaign. Sad thing is people will remember this next time his wife calls. I am fairly certain if it were Hillary running he would dump on McCain.

    Bill you continue to prove me, right...throughout the 90's when everyone was singing your praises, I knew who you really were. We can win without you. Go back to your exploitation in Harlem.

    September 25, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. S. Boatman

    You Are Not Helping Bill! It Is Ok To Criticise Mccain! Try It Sometime!

    September 25, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Johnny Gentle

    Who's the 'moron with the caps lock key stuck on?

    M U S T... S P E W..... W E A K...... S A U C E

    P L E A S E.....P A Y.....A T T E N T I O N.......T O........M E.......

    September 25, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. Dan from california

    If you want to know about the Clinton's politics read the book "You can't be President" and you find they sabotaged not only Howard Dean but Kerry and obviously now Obama. Typical Clinton power play, Chris Rock on Letterman nailed it if you watched the other night.

    September 25, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. barbara miller

    Bill,
    You're just darned lucky that Obama is not going to lose. You say one thing one day – and a different thing the next. WAIT A MINUTE – no wonder you're praising McCain:)

    September 25, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  17. Dick in Sioux Falls

    If John McCain was in such a great hurry to get back to Washington, how come he canceled Dave Letterman, but since the taping of that show was the same time as his taping of the Couric interview, how much of this prevarication (lying) are we supposed to swallow?!

    Bill Clinton is fast becoming yesterday's news. It was during his administration that much of the control of the banking industry was removed. It is increasingly clear that the Clinton's have not given up on 2012. Such perfidy within Democratic ranks!

    To the computer control – I've never said this before, because most of this took place yesterday, not weeks ago when I questioned Bill Clinton's loyalty to his Party's Nominee!

    September 25, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    I used to like Bill so much, but he clearly has his eyes on Hillary in 2012. So much so that he's as much a shell of his former self as McCain is.

    September 25, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. Victor

    Simple question for Bill...if Hillary was the nominee for president...would you still be heaping all these praises on her opponent 40 days before a crucial election? And you're supposed to be arguably the single most influential democrat in the last quarter of a century!!! C'mon dont be a sellout!!!

    September 25, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Dave in Illinois

    What a bunch of whinning haters, you Obama supporters are.

    The only thing missing is the accusation that Bill Clinton is a closet racist for not vilifying McCain every time he opens his mouth.

    September 25, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. Chicken's come home to roost.

    I'm sorry Bill, but I'm not seeing the same level of fervent energy you put into taking every swing you could at Barack Obama during the primary now that you are suppose to be supporting him in the General Campaign.

    You were hardly this respectful of him.

    Your legacy is on the line with me and a number of other Americans. I have no doubt that Barack Obama will win.

    However, if I don't see you moving heaven and earth to make it happy, the glow of the halo effect won't go very far to benefit you.

    September 25, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. aware

    Right Bill!

    Obama's disingenuousness is disgusting! He did refuse 10 debates with Senator McCain because he did not think they were not in his best interest! Obama first! 😦

    Bill Clinton offers respect and honesty as a former Democrat president rising above the current Obama dishonesty and hypocrisy! πŸ™‚

    McCain/Palin 08! They are authentic, country first reformers! πŸ™‚

    September 25, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. Amy in Woodstock, NY

    Bill is just another member of the "Grumpy Old Men" club.

    September 25, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Marsh

    You have to love the ANGRY left. Now they have turned on Bill Clinton because he will not spew the same hate they do

    September 25, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. Brandon

    Way to go Bill... First he barely mentions Obama on Letterman and now this... He's becoming a very bitter man.

    September 25, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
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