September 21st, 2010
11:14 AM ET
8 years ago

Clinton cautions Democrats on Palin: 'always a mistake to underestimate your opponent'

Bill Clinton has some advice for congressional Democrats and for President Obama.

Bill Clinton has some advice for congressional Democrats and for President Obama.

(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that Sarah Palin is "somebody to be reckoned with" and cautioned Democrats that "it's always a mistake to underestimate your opponent."

"We may be entering a sort of period in politics that's sort of fact free, where the experience in government is a negative," Clinton told ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

The former president wouldn't say whether Palin is qualified to hold the highest office.

He also had some advice for President Obama ahead of what's likely to be a Republican resurgence in November's midterm elections.

Clinton said Obama should ask the American people for two more years to right the economy and put his job and those of his Democratic allies in Congress on the line.

"[He should say:] If we don't do better, you can vote against us all and I'll be on the ballot too. Vote against us all if it's not better," Clinton said.

Clinton will sit down with Wolf Blitzer Tuesday afternoon in The Situation Room, starting at 5 p.m. ET on CNN.

Filed under: 2010 • Bill Clinton • Sarah Palin
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Obozo VooDoo Economics 101: Spend your way to prosperity, tax your way out of recession.

    Vote against us all if it's not better," Clinton said.

    That's the plan come this November!! BYE BYE DEMOCRATS!

    September 21, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Matt

    Much like Obama, Palin is an American. She wants what is best for America. Obama and Palin may have different ideas (Palin's are better), but they are doing their best for the country.

    Democrats have damaged our economy, but we can still recover.

    September 21, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. Abu Bhuiyan

    This is a good advice from former President to the current President. Clinton knows that President Obama's opponent can't do better what he is doing now.

    September 21, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. Expat American

    President Clinton is absolutely correct. It would be disadvantageous and unwise for the Democratic Party to underestimate O’Donnell and Palin; mind you not for their intelligence or global perspective, because both of these shrieking loons have the equivalent of that of a cockroach, but the fact that they are the voices of those who emulate a candidate who is just as stupid as they are…and in the American electorate where many if not most of these Tea Partiers don’t even have a passport; this is a significantly large number.

    September 21, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. bellagrazi

    Obama was the one who didn't have any experience. That was Hillary's argument all along. And she was right. The guy is a hot mess as President. But I don't think that's the only reason he's such an incompetent President. Obama has no common sense. Which Sarah Palin has in abundance. As well as executive experience. And Clinton is right. Never underestimate your opponent. Especially this one. She runs circles around Obama, and the Dems know it.

    September 21, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  6. AB Baltimore MD

    Bill Clinton knows all-too-well what he is talking about, given his and hillary's experience with Obama two years ago. The Clintons didn't do their homework and underestimated Barack Obama. Hillary paid for it dearly. Never underestimate your political opponent, no matter how incompetent he/she may be or appear to be. The experience of that lesson was also conveyed from the election mess in South Carolina involving Alvin Greene who defeated the Democratic Senate candidate in the primary. Always study and prepare for any candidate in any political campaign. Remember Asop's fable–The Tourtoise and the Hare?

    September 21, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  7. Snow

    Finally, the light comes on for at least one democrat but I hope the rest of the demorats ignore the former President and continue to attack main street Americans to their own political demise. Millions and millions of average Americans in the Tea Party and still the demorats are to dumb to realize who they are messing with.

    September 21, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. DagnyTag

    Socialism—defined as a centrally planned economy in which the government controls all means of production—was the tragic failure of the twentieth century. Born of a commitment to remedy the economic and moral defects of capitalism, it has far surpassed capitalism in both economic malfunction and moral cruelty. Yet the idea and the ideal of socialism linger on. Whether socialism in some form will eventually return as a major organizing force in human affairs is unknown, but no one can accurately appraise its prospects who has not taken into account the dramatic story of its rise and fall.

    September 21, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. DagnyTag

    BO and his "elite" group of corporate socialists see your paycheck as their private property. This nightmare needs to end NOW!

    September 21, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Meka

    Thank you President Clinton . . . Even if Sarah Palin believes the EARTH IS FLAT!

    September 21, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Hunter of the lib hunter

    I agree will Clinton. You should never underestimate any candidate who palled around with Alaskan Secessionists, had her witches exorcised, and can lie and call people names with the best of the schoolyard children. Although she has a 4th grade understanding of how the world operates, she appears to be two grades above the average tea bagger.

    September 21, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. Four and The Door

    "[He should say:] If we don't do better, you can vote against us all and I'll be on the ballot too. Vote against us all if it's not better," Clinton said.
    Sorry former President Clinton, Obama pretty much said the same thing when he was making all those promises in his push to get the Stimulus Bill passed 18 months ago. When asked in a televised interview, he said if it didn't work he believed he would be looking for a job, too. He was correct.

    September 21, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Fair is Fair

    "Clinton said Obama should ask the American people for two more years to right the economy and put his job and those of his Democratic allies in Congress on the line."

    And the person conspicuous by her absence in this statement is....? If this isn't a plug for Hillary, I don't know what is.

    P.S. Don't waste your breath giving Obama advice, Bubba. His ego cannot be overcome.

    September 21, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Michael in Houston

    Which is an extremely polite way of saying that there is just enough lunacy and irresponsible voters out there to actually vote for Palin.
    He is right. We are in a climate where we have an overabundance of absolute crazies coming into politics to gain celebrity and fame and many of us dont take them seriously. We had better wake up and regain control of the insanity in this process and work hard to keep these circus freaks out of government.

    September 21, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. geecee

    President Clinton is absolutely correct. Don't take this upcoming election lightly. The Tea Party supporters are so insane in their beliefs and anger at the Democrats that they will vote for anyone under their label, regardless how far-out and whacky he/she may be. They are so full of hate and frustration and vindictiveness that they would vote for the Devil himself if they could beat Obama and the Democrats. So, Dems, get out and vote in the mid-terms or we will have these nutjobs in the government for a long-time to come. Not a good future for America if that happens!!

    September 21, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. Jerry

    Clearly Palin was more qualified than Obama to be president, that's for sure. Also i like Clintons offer, we have given the Democrats in congress and the senate four years, they stink so vote them all out.

    September 21, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  17. Lucas

    If things/economy don't bet better in two more years. That’s a pretty good bet since all reports are it is improving now not that any of us can feel it. Even with Obama's best anti-business efforts with more regulation, higher taxes and Obamacare I think Americans can turn it around in two years. With new Congressional members in November just like Clinton had it will happen but Obama is such an ideologue I do not think he will meet in the middle to make the economy hum like Clinton and Gingrich did.

    September 21, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. Tam

    If she tries to get any further - everyone must insist that she sit down for normal interviews with the media. No palm notes, nothing in the ear. And how about a normal debate?! Equal playing field. Whooo-eeeee. What entertainment. She won't be able to blame anyone for anything.

    September 21, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. JasonK

    The country is taking turn to the stupid lane as we transition from a developed country to a 4th world country with crumbling infrastructure. In the stupidlane Palin would make a formidable opponent. Brace yourself for the worst because when the teapublicans take the country back to king George we would not have the Clinton surplus that cushioned the Bush disaster for almost 7 years.

    September 21, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. Dave

    If the media stopped giving her airtime people would forget Palin and move on. The only reason she's any threat at all is because there are millions of people who believe in things far worse than her, who act far worse than her, who will give her a guaranteed Republican vote. No questions asked. But they wouldn't if someone worse came along to replace Palin. Republican voters are after the lowest value possible and Palin could well be it if the media keeps that spotlight on her.

    September 21, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Correction: that would be "public office" not "offer". My mistake.

    September 21, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. ex-repulican since McCain picked Palin

    Sorry Sir, but I totally disagree and think comments like that just add to this womans ego trip. Can you honestly see her going up against Hillary or President Obama where her questions she has to answer are not rehearsed and she can not get away with the so many lies she tells. She caters to those who hat the President and says what they want to hear, end of story. She will never, ever be President of the United States.

    September 21, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  23. Hunter of the lib hunter

    Don't forget, the Koch brothers can buy an election for any right wingnut candidate.

    September 21, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  24. King

    These repug are being brain washed by the rich. The are supported by the rich for one reason to put them back in power and get rid of government intervention so they can bankrupt us again by sending our factories oversea and investing their tax break money in china.

    September 21, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    10 women Presidents: Pratibha Patil (India) -law degreee, masters in political science & economics; Dalia Irzik (Israel) – min. of environment,industry, trade, communications; Gloria Arroya (phillipines) – masters & doctoriate in economics; Ellen Johnson (Liberia) – masters public relations & economic accts; Mary McAllese (Ireland) – prof. criminal law,criminology & penology; Michelle Bachelet (Chile) – pediatrician & epidemiologist w/military studies; Christine Fernandez de Kirchner (Argentina) – Law degree; Luisa dias diogo (Mazambique) – master & Bachelors in financal economics; Phumzile Mlambo (So. Africa) – Masters philosophy & bac. social science & education; Joyce Murure (Zimbabwe) – masters. They have worked in their fields prior and taught at Universities.

    September 21, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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