January 25th, 2008
04:15 PM ET
12 years ago

Bill Clinton: Obama vision is 'articulate, compelling'

CLINTON, South Carolina (CNN) - A day after slogging through several low-key, wonkish events without mentioning his wife's top Democratic rival, a more-energized Bill Clinton once again brought up identity politics on Friday.

Despite the media furor surrounding some of his recent comments, the former president avoided any of the race-based South Carolina expectations-lowering for which he has been criticized. The state's Democratic voters head to the polls tomorrow.

"While I think it would be good based on my personal life experience to have the first woman president," Clinton said in this town that shares his name, "I also understand why a lot of African-American voters think it would symbolically powerful and important to elect a brilliant, articulate, compelling vision embodied in Sen. Obama as the first African-American president."

Clinton made the remarks, unprompted, at the beginning of his speech here, also adding that Hispanics had also been excited about the prospect of Gov. Bill Richardson's candidacy.

He said voters "are entitled to have their choices respected" but concluded that Americans should choose a president based on qualifications and experience.

In Spartanburg earlier Friday, Clinton decried racial divisions in politics and said that Americans are "literally aching to live in a post-racial future."

He said Obama and his wife had called "a truce" over their recent sniping, although he did not specify which statements he was referencing.

"I was glad to see Sen. Obama and Hillary sort of call a truce the other day," he said. "They said 'Okay, we've got some differences but we can't let it become so harsh that it undermines our longing to bring this country together.' I think that's important. The country is literally almost in physical agony begging for this."

The two campaigns had tried, but failed, to come to a similar agreement last week.

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby</p

soundoff (405 Responses)
  1. david

    Who the heck is this Mark Halperin guy. Just saw him on CNN. Is he bought and paid for by the Clintons or what. When i see other white males use the term articulate to describe a black man it has no other implication other than racism. The Clintons are on their way to destroying the democratic coalitions. I know many black people who have been so offended by Clintons recent race baiting remarks. I dont think i could vote for a Clinton. I now see what the republicans used to be offended by.

    January 25, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  2. Jose Card - Independent

    If you think this is bad now to watch how the Clintons act, wait till after they move back to the White House. There will be continuous fighting within the Dems and between parties, and there will be no energy left in the country for improvements.

    The Clintons will continue campaigning for the fourth term from Day One.

    Anybody but Clinton and Huckabee!

    January 25, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  3. Micahel Guinn, Ventura, CA

    Shame on you President Clinton!

    January 25, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  4. Joseph

    Some people will vote for Hillary thinking Bill will be there to help her! Is this the rigth way to chose a President?

    After all the nonsense I guess we can we say that Obama is running against "Bill"ary Clinton?

    January 25, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  5. kay

    Hillary is the best among the candidates. Obama is so shallow..no substance as all in whatever he says ....him as the commander in chief of the US army? give me a break! him leading US against recession, what does he know? he is only good as a speaker....but as a president of a country like US of A? NO WAY!!!

    intelligent voters should vote for Hillary.

    Hillary 2008!!!

    January 25, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  6. tom

    I can imagine the list of pardons after a hrc presidency.......will she pardon vince fosters murderer?

    January 25, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  7. John

    As a white male, I am SO MUCH longing for BARACK OBAMA as president of this country!! Please bring an end to the decisive politics of the Clinton and Bush dynasties!!! BARACK FOR PRESIDENT!!!!!

    January 25, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  8. Dwayne, Pa

    Obama/Richardson in '08 ! The ultimate ticket!

    January 25, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  9. John C

    I think that Bill Clinton's sniping an Obama is damaging to our party. I am an Edwards supporter and I believe he is the best candidate! We need to rememeber that the enemy is George Bush!! I was a Republican for 27 years but for the past 7 years I have been a Democrat and you can thank Bush for my conversion. I always tell people that I didn't leave the Republican Party because the Republican Party I knew has been destroyed with no place for moderates, only extremists.

    January 25, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  10. N

    When will Bill Clinton stop talking about race and gender? I will give him this, he is the master of manipulation and mean spirited.

    January 25, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  11. Jessica

    I'm not a die-hard Clinton or Obama fan, but I am voting for Clinton because I know she has the political connections and savvy to get the policies I want (primarily universal healthcare) implemented( I am black by the way)...but if Bill Clinton calls Obama "articulate" one more time - a remark that every black person knows has belittling implications - I"ma get real mad - I will vote for Hillary still, but Bill Clinton finda piss me off.

    January 25, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  12. San Diego

    No More XXXXBush-Clinton_Bush_XXClintXXONXX (Actually..REPUB!) stuff!


    January 25, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  13. Karen, Jersey City

    Seriously, is Bill Clinton in love with Obama? That's all he talks about. If he and his wife aren't worried about Obama why talk about him so much?

    Bill, if you got a thing for Obama just say so! All these love taps is really getting ridiculous!

    January 25, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  14. John


    January 26, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  15. Lance in Monrovia

    Bill Clinton is so full of crap that its coming out of his microphone.

    I used to have tremendous respect for him, but it is so far gone away now that it cannot come back. I've been a Democrat forever, and I wont support the Republican nominee because I've seen what they've done to this country.

    If Hillary is the nominee, frankly, at this point, I'm very sad to say I cannot support her, and in fact I'll probably try to stop her from becoming President.

    Can Obama run as an independent in the general? I'd support him in that.

    Bill Clinton just makes me feel all slimey inside. First he turns south carolina into a race war, then he cleverly, a day before the primary decides to play nice so he can try to make himself look like the victim yet again.

    I'm so angry, I'm so very very angry to see what this man is singlehandedly doing to the Democratic party. We've got the election in the bag. The Republicans don't have anything. Nothing.

    Instead of trying to unify the party like Barack Obama, Bill Clinton uses his bully pulpit to call people names, spout out a bunch of race related rhetoric about how women may vote for women and black folk will vote for black folk.

    Then he tries to play nice. NOW, FINALLY, after all the years of defending his sorry excuse, I really do see why the right wing neonuts call him Slick Willy.

    He's slick alright. I hope he slick and slides himself into obscurity on the junkheap of history that he belongs on.

    If you think I'm a Republican plant, you're wrong. I"m just one tee'd off Democrat that has found the most inspirational, real deal leader of the 21st Century in Barack Obama, and I can't stand the fact that ego drives people like Bill Clinton to lie, steal, and cheat their way to victory.

    But I also believe in the goodness of the universe and that hard work and truth and honesty pays off. That's why I believe with all my heart and soul that Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States.

    I know this to be true. Mark my words it will happen. It will happen because the Slick Silly Willies of the world like Bill Clinton always get outed for what they are in the end.

    It hurts me deeply to say all this. I don't want to slam someone who did some good things. At the same time, I realize now that he did a lot of good to benefit himself and that's about it.

    He's bad for this party, and he's bad for this nation.

    he's the past, and Barack Obama is the future.

    Get used to it. vote. Go to the polls and stay there so you make sure you camp out there until all the votes are counted.

    Nobody's taking my democracy away from me again. Nobody.

    Barack Obama in 08. Stop The Hate. Change Our Fate. Don't Be Late.

    January 26, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  16. Ruth

    President HillaryBill Clinton. Can you say that ten times really fast?

    CNN can.

    Have you seen an article about Ron Paul lately? Do you think CNN is leaving him out on purpose? OOHHHH Shameful, very childish.

    January 26, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  17. John


    January 26, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  18. From The North

    Awww Gee I just love Bill. What a Master Mind and such Charisma. He can hold the audience's attention for hours they cling to his every word, You could hear a pin drop.

    What a shame the Repubs Witch Hunt gave America Dubyah, eight years of misery, devastation, broken English, and a vocabulary that begins with Decider and ends with STAY.

    Be Sure to Vote Republican now so Dubyah's men can finish the job! It's the honourable thing to do!

    January 26, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  19. noboby

    Hey! Why is everybody pretending now that they knew Clinton to be Good? When Clinton decided to tie the hands of the UNITED NATIONS by redefining the word GENOCIDE during the RWANDAN civil war , leading to the death of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans, I knew then that he was and still is Wicked. These people were killed with axes and matcets- NO BOMBS, FEW GUNS AND NO TECHNOLOGY. The UN had decided that they will never standby and watch another holocust, yet the UN was not able to overcome Clinton during those few months. WHO CAN STOP THEM?

    January 26, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  20. John

    Karen, JC– A quote from Ghandi seems appropriate:

    "First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. Then they fight you. Then you win."

    January 26, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  21. Audrey in Alexandria, Virginia

    Bill Clinton said. " Americans should choose a president based on qualifications and experience."

    In the past how many candidates have we voted for that were qualified and experienced and yet when elected they were a dissappointment to us ?

    Clinton mentions the obvious however, fails to state the unique qualities that set a candidate apart from all the rest.

    And Obama is a candidate that is apart from all the rest. Americans are choosing Obama for his ablility to inspire and his ablility to lead.

    No other candidate has it like Obama. And Clinton knows it. That is the difference between a good president and a great president.

    Those are qualities in a candidate that cannot be taught. They are born with it. Obama was born with it and we are fortunate to see it in our lifetime.

    January 26, 2008 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  22. vwcat

    Articulate? Is he clean, too, Bill?
    What an insult to people all over the country. Tonight CNN had a story with the title, He's Back.; About Bill. And when they said that I wanted to puke.
    The thought of the Clintons getting the nomination makes me want to vote for a republican for the first time in my life. ABC Anyone But Clintons.
    It is my HOPE that Senator Obama prevails and this country will finally see the light of day from the nightmare of the Bush/Clinton reign .
    I have lived with a Bush or Clinton in power since I was in my early 20s. I am now 50. I do not want my whole adult life ruled by these two corrupt, criminal and nasty families like it has been so far.
    No more dynasties.

    January 26, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  23. Kevin

    “Experience is like taillights on a boat which illuminate where we have been when we should be focusing on where we should be going.” – John F. Kennedy

    Pretty much sums it up for me.

    Oh and I'm tired of an "experienced" President who isn't a leader.

    She's not a gifted leader. Sure, she's an experienced and intelligent manager, but is that what we need right now?

    January 26, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  24. mike

    Clinton, stop this race baiting now.

    "I also understand why a lot of African-American voters think it would symbolically powerful and important to elect a brilliant, articulate, compelling vision embodied in Sen. Obama as the first African-American president"

    It is not "a lot of African American voters" that know Obama is the best candidate. It is a large segment of the American public including Iowa that is 95% white. This subtly coded message of race baiting must stop or a Republican will be in the WH.

    January 26, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  25. Mary

    What does race have to do with it? Plenty. Remember the great racial divide when O.J. Simpson was found not guilty? Blacks cheered and jumped for joy. Whites were left with that deer in the headlight look. So it is with all the hoopla over Obama. Blacks will flock, whites not so much. Too bad.

    January 26, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17