(CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton says he talked to Rep. Kendrick Meek about ending his bid for Senate twice, but that he never discussed the issue with the White House.
“He was trying to determine what was the best thing for him to do,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN’s Susan Candiotti Thursday. “I knew it was being discussed, people had discussed it on and off… it was no secret.”
Clinton said Meek did not have enough money to break through in the polls.
“He was trying to think about what was the best thing for Florida,” Clinton said.
He said he thought it was important that Meek not discuss the issue with the White House, and instead do whatever he thought was right.
Clinton declined to detail his discussions with Meek or address whether he had planned to attend a joint event with Crist and Meek.
“I think he should be free to say whatever he wants to say about it,” Clinton said. “He’s the candidate, it’s his life, his choice, his decision.”
Clinton released a statement regarding his conversations with Meek on Friday:
"Kendrick Meek is my close friend. I have supported his campaign from the beginning, though our relationship extends far beyond politics. We did talk last week following a rally in Orlando about the race and it's challenges. I didn't ask Kendrick to leave the race, nor did Kendrick say that he would. I told him that how he proceeds was his decision to make and that I would support him regardless.
Over the years, I have watched Kendrick become an able, effective public servant with the strength to fight for what he believes and the common sense to work with people of different parties and points of view. I still believe he could be the best Senator to help Florida and America emerge from the current crisis and build a growing middle class economy."
– CNN's Susan Candiotti and Laura Dolan contributed to this report.