January 12th, 2008
02:05 PM ET
10 years ago

Bill Clinton on Obama: ‘He might win.’

Bill and Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail last week.

Bill and Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail last week.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Bill Clinton said Friday that Barack Obama’s campaign was very impressive, and the Democratic presidential candidate “might win.”

“He’s put together a great campaign. It’s clearly not a fairy tale, it’s real,” Clinton said. “He might win.”

Clinton had called into activist Al Sharpton's radio show to try to address the controversy over his remarks just before the New Hampshire primary that seemed to say the Illinois senator’s campaign was a “fairy tale.”

On Friday, he said that reference was meant to describe news coverage of Obama's war vote, and of his campaign, and not the viability of his presidential run.

“I was addressing a specific argument. That doesn’t have anything to do with my respect for him as a person or as a political figure,” said the former president.

But he said black voters should support his wife Hillary Clinton over Obama because “You know where her heart and where her life has been.”

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (739 Responses)
  1. Tom

    If Senator OBAMA wins the nomination the Democrats will not win in November I should say a Clinton /Obama ticket will be great.

    I should say in four more years or maybe in 8 years he can run for president. The Press and the media is allowing senator Obama get a free ride and not ask him any tough questions

    January 13, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. Jose Card - Independent

    CNN must have heavily invested in Hillary that they would even rerun her stories, while leaving any positive news about Ron Paul to credible news media. I can certainly understand your position.

    It's not that "He might win.".

    Obama will win the Dem nomination.

    January 13, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I don't listen to Al Sharpton's radio show or Al Sharpton. This is Clinton's attempt to associate Obama with Al Sharpton. Good try Clinton, but it's not going to work because black Americans are over Sharpton and Jackson.

    January 13, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. Eli

    To Beth January 13, 2008 1:34 am ET

    "Am I the only one that thinks Obamas speeches are fake and empty…He is sooooo untested. If he wins the nomination it will divide this country even further. He lost my vote because he hasnt told Sharpton and Jackson to shut up!!! And Obama says hes a uniter? He failed the first test already"

    No, you are not the only one. The problem is that anything people say against him is indeed interpreted as racist no matter if opinions come form other candidates or from the public. So I guess the slogan for this election will be: Its the racist, stupid!

    January 13, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Nancy

    In response to NoWay, the smear campaign against the mainline Protestant denomination, the United Church of Christ and specifically against Trinity UCC won't work except among the ignorant and racist. Check history! Obama is staying above the fray, not lowering himself to those who prefer to appeal to the basest tendencies. Sad. Very sad. I pray for the light spoken by Obama to eventually reach even the darkness of your heart.

    January 13, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Noble

    Please my good friends lets elect someone who first found change not one who want to become the first woman to become American President . not having in mind that America needs a big minded leader but not a ruler who is desporate for position

    January 13, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. Nick

    The one thing Bill is accomplishing is turning Obama supporters off to ever vote for Hillary, or giving Republicans fodder with which to attack Obama.

    I'm not a Democrat (or a Republican for that matter), but what I see from my distance is that Obama would win because he would unite the country and engage the apolitical, and Hillary would lose because she practices divisive politics, and is repulsive to virtually all the Republicans and now many of the Democrats and independents. Hillary has such ridiculous baggage that Obama could have thrashed her with effective attacks (certainly the Republicans will). This shows me Obama is indeed above negative politicking – and it's working. It's sad that the only thing the Clintons have against Obama is some quotes from years ago and some race baiting.

    Experience does not matter either way – the President is a figurehead and a symbol of America to the world, and his advisors form the policy meat. As long as Obama surrounds himself with experts and experienced advisers, he should have no problem managing the country and keeping a high level of all-around support and bipartisanship. Clinton would have a more difficult time because everyone across the aisle hates her guts and thinks she is corrupt. And what experience does she have again? All the Democratic candidates with more than a decade of experience as elected or appointed officials are gone.

    January 13, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. ihtys

    I hope Obama to win

    January 13, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. Candace

    Many other examples of what the Clintons will do to get back to the White House. Another one of the latest: comments in the British paper The Guardian by an anonymous Clinton adviser that the only white voters supporting Obama are those wanting a "cool black friend" (as opposed to those voters wanting social change, presumably, Clintonistas). This is but the latest of a series of comments by the Clinton campaign seeking to inject race into this election. This appears to be consistent with a past prediction made by Dick Morris - a Republican spin-meister who was a previous personal political adviser to Slick Willy, until Morris scandalously had a telephone conference with the Oval Office while Morris was in his office on speaker phone with a prostitute. The prostitute later went public, leading to an acrimonious breakup with then sitting President Clinton. Morris, who knows the Clintons and their scorched earth political tactics, predicted that Hillary would seed stores drawing attention to the topic of Race. Each story could be individually spun, but collectively would create a media story focusing on this divisive issue. She and her team hope - according to Morris - both that her complicity in the incitement will be sufficiently measured to avoid detection or blame, and for Obama to overreact.

    January 13, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. Karen Smith

    Politics for the most part is about deception, lies and self-interest, so stop being naive and get over the cigar and other minor things. George Bush lied and got us into a much bigger problem in Iraq, so Clinton's 'cigar, never had sex with that woman' DOES NOT EVEN COMPARE IN TERMS OF GRAVITY, DESTRUCTION AND LIVES LOST. And Hilary had nothing to do with it all. Obama is not an angel and to put him on a pedestal will do a disservice to America. VOTE HILARY, THE MOST ARTICULATE, BRILLIANT, QUALIFIED CANDIDATE IN THE RUNNING. SHE WILL JOIN THE RANKS OF ANGELA MERKEL, ELLEN JOHNSON-SIRLEAF,MICHELLE BACHELET, DORIS LEUTHARD AND OTHER WOMEN WHO SO ABLY LEAD THEIR COUNTRIES.

    January 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. JS-Florida

    I sent an email to the Kerry campaign to remove me from their email list. I supported Kerry in 04 but disdains him giving my email address to Obama.....Go Hillary!!!!

    January 13, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. Mary Abaz -Sao Paulo, Brasil -South America

    Who would ever want this woman, who sheds tears on commend ( like Bill did), to get naive people's attention...?

    Does anyone want more of the old "Billy boy" government?
    This woman is in for the power! ] WAKEUP!

    Just read!
    No need to believe in these comments or any others
    Go to your closest neighborhood Library and ask for the info on her from the hippie days on (and there is lots more....;) )You will be amazed!!!
    Be informed, know what is best for this beautiful country.

    God Bless America and keep us all FREE!

    January 13, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. Velvet Garriques

    Hillary made a comment while in New Hampshire, regarding how america has been stifled. People need to pay attention to her remarks, about how she wants to reverse things. What exactly did you mean by reversing things? Are you referring to the entitlement programs, that are usually called pork barrel spending. I see you and John McCain have the same ideas in mind. 10 years will have to pass before you or anybody else thinks they are going to reverse laws on the books are sadly mistaken. The candidates need to be careful about how they speak on certain issues. I urge all of you to stay clear of the 109th Congressional Laws, also the 110th Congress. If these are the things you are hoping to put in reverse mode you're sadly mistaken. Sen. Clinton and Sen. McCain seem to be on the same path of utterly destruction! I feel none of the candidates except Sen. Obama can speak on Civil Rights issues, for the simple fact you have not contributed to any of the milestones that have been made over the last 40 years plus! Minorities need to re-evaluate who you need to stand by rather who you want to stand by. don't write your obituary too soon. I suggest you review how these candidates vote in the Senate on certain issues, not just whats presented to the public in their campaigns. I believe you will have a better understanding of whats at stake here. You need to look past the here and now, and research what is stored ahead for minorities and people of color, as well as poor white americans, and blue collar workers. I urge everyone of you to vote responsibly, ethically, morally on issues that have significant impacts on your lives and your children, you need to reach deeper than the surface. Just to validate this post it does not matter if it is posted or not, it won't affect my strategic mission to uphold and represent the under-represented minority faction in this political process. God does not bless mess! And for me, the utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the Gospel. For which I am an ambassador in bonds; that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

    January 13, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. commonsensepolitics

    This is pretty incredible, unbelievable. We're talking events of a week and Clinton has the audacity to feed THESE recent, uh, days-old, hours-old events to the Revise-History, Scorch-Earth, Didn't-Inhale Clinton Machine? And who's coming to dinner? Bob who?

    So, last week, during the NH primary campaign when they were feeling pretty desperate with the polls and everything (you with me so far - this is true, right? Happened? We all on the same page so far?), Bill appears at a campaign event and says Obama's story is a fairy tale. He can't make his wife taller, make her male, make her, well, Obama, Bill whines bitterly. Bill's very angry about this - can't you see? You're missing something here - read my lips, he whispers, "she's Female, come on!"

    Then, shortly after Bill's remarks, Hillary herself says:

    "Dr. King had been on the front lines. He had been leading a movement. But Dr. King understood, which is why he made it very clear, that there has to be a coming to terms of our country politically in order to make the changes that would last for generations beyond the iconic, extraordinary speeches that he gave. That's why he campaigned for Lyndon Johnson in 1964. That's why he was there when those great pieces of legislation were passed. Does he deserve the lion's share of the credit for moving our country and moving our political process? Yes, he does."

    After Hillary basically says, "Hey Obama, don't give too much credit to what Dr. Martin Luther King dreamt of - all this hope stuff is false. Yeah, let's not have "false hopes." I mean, MLK had to get Lyndon B. Johnson to do the real work, remember? Unlike what you think, that white man was really the one who got all the work done for your civil rights movement stuff."

    Senator Obama in the meanwhile, stays quiet. All in the meanwhile, with all these headlines going back and forth, regarding what I outlined above, Senator Obama says nada.

    The news sort of talk about these remarks by the Clintons. Sort of. There are other headline news. Clinton comes first in NH, and some people think it's because she almost cried, and she makes a speech and says, "Okay, I'll try and cry more often folks, should've listened to you a bit more carefully - huh. THAT's what you wanted?"

    Senator Obama still stays quiet. All in the meanwhile, with all these headlines going back and forth, regarding what I outlined above, Senator Obama says nada.

    Then, uh uh, problems for the Clintons. Clyburn, the top ranking black politician, gets angry at the Clintons' remarks (and maybe he also got peeved at other vicious Clinton lies, e.g., Bill claiming he was against the war from the beginning when there's undisputed evidence of speeches he gave supporting Bush on Iraq war?). "You guys being racist here?" Clyburn wonders incredulously.

    Senator Obama still stays quiet. All in the meanwhile, with all these headlines going back and forth, regarding what I outlined above, Senator Obama says nada.

    So, the Clintons, who desperately need the black vote, then go on radio to Al Sharpton saying, "Hey, Obama is a great guy, he can win, no, no, no, he's no fairy tale."

    Obama, in the meanwhile, still keeps quiet.

    Hillary now goes on Meet the Press and says, "It's Obama's fault. He's been twisting my words, and oh my god, people, HE IS MAKING RACE AN ISSUE! AND I'M CRYING, SEE MY TEARS???"

    So, Obama finally responds, "Uhm. You know, this is kinda fascinating to me. I mean, I didn't say a word? Did anyone hear me say anything about this?"

    Nope, Senator. It's just the crazy Clintons again, and some crazy Americans believing the crap, as they do sometimes.


    January 14, 2008 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
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