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. BobW

    "Barack is playing with the Big Dogs. Presidential politics is tough; somedays are good and somedays are bad. If Barack can't handle Democracts "distorting" his records how will he survive the Republic attack machine. The is just a prelude of what to come if he wins."

    This argument is getting old. What makes anyone think that Obama can't stand the heat? I haven't heard any whining coming from his corner. As a matter of fact he has been giving as good if not better, than he got and has been doing it without a former president in his corner.

    Funny how when it's a black man, he's whining but when it's a white woman of privilege, it's "finding her voice". The Clinton machine takes every opportunity to "compare and contrast" which is Clintonese for "slash and burn". If someone criticizes them, that person is whining or "ganging up" on Hillary. I think the hood in Chicago does a good job of preparing someone to play with the big dogs.

    All Barak needs to do is keep smiling like he does and let the Clintons implode as America rediscovers just how ugly things were during Bill's time in office. Obama knows that America is going to eventually remember a presidency marked by disgrace, disgust and lies and the woman who stood by her man out of blind political necessity and ambition.

    January 26, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  2. joe, Oregon

    Obama's camp hurt Obama greatly and possiblely the democratic party by injecting the paranoia that criticizing a black man on his thin resume is somehow is a dismissal therefore is racist. By twisting the Clinton words, and injecting the race in the campaign, Obama is destroying his image that he is political figure transient race and politics. word to Obama, you have to be careful, you can't the cake and eat it too.
    You cannot play race politics and expect people to see you as a person who can unite us all to better future. You cannot use the same lie tactics to poison your opponent image and the same time expect people to believe that you are politician of change.

    Obama, be careful

    January 26, 2008 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  3. Tman

    What a waste of space and attention for us...

    Media be done already!!! We are!

    January 26, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  4. Angelina

    I just respectfully ask that we do not concentrate on the EX presidente, he is the past he had his turn and now it is time to concentrate in the present so that we can have a future.
    while spouses should and will support their partners who are running for office, what has been going on here is out of control, simply put because someone was expresident should not give carte blanche to trash others, to derail from the real issues, to personal power.
    I am simply tired of hearing about Bill.............

    January 26, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  5. Angelina

    Bill and Hillary
    where is theaffirmative action now?

    please for once in your entire life, practice what you preach.................

    I am so ashamed of these two.

    January 26, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  6. Renee

    Come on you people we have to support Obama he is clearly the best. The Clintons are tearing down the Democratic Party They only care out getting into the White home and nothing eles. Can you all see that!

    January 26, 2008 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  7. James Brown ( Independent )

    I am a 51 year old white man that feels Barack Obama is just what this country needs. And you know the thing is , the Clinton's are trying to make Obama into "That Black Dude" .................Obama is just as white as he is black , but you know what ?

    I could cares less if Obama was purple ,green or blue..............He is the right person at the right time.

    Bill Clinton being out there in the lime light has really brought back the memories of all them investigations , lies , and Shame , the Clinton White House served up to this country ...........LOL............i will however give the Clinton's one thing , when it comes to scandal , cheating ,lies , and ZERO integrity or Morals.........THEY ARE THE BEST THERE IS.

    I am just one of million's of American voter's that will vote for anyone else besides a Clinton , even if that means another Republican.

    January 26, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  8. Michele

    Hillary and Bill have always been nice...that goes without question.

    As for the campaign...nothing has been said that wasn't instigated. Hillary should and does "counter attack" and she is very good at it.

    Lastly, there is no denying the race card is being played by team Obama. In a recent ad Michelle Obama stated her husband is the best candidate. She also found it absolutely necessary to add the fact that he is black to the end of her statement. Can someone please explain why that was necessary?

    Additionally, there is an antangonistic demeanor that clearly comes from Obama and his supporters. The comments above are proof of that....the people are rude and disrespectful...like a street fight. You certainly don't help the cause you're in favor.

    Hillary is resilient. She has demonstrated this throughout her life. We need that.

    January 26, 2008 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  9. (ABH) Anyone But Hillary

    Bill had his chance to shut up . You don't attack fellow democrats this year when so much is at stake! Hillary can't win in November!

    If Democrats want the White House, we must unite around Obama!

    January 26, 2008 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  10. Jufus, Milwaukee, WI

    Bill Clinton is a LIAR!

    Obama is NOT ARTICULATE!

    Fact is, Obama has a love-fest with any microphone he can get his hands on and looking up into the clouds, he launches off, speaking in paragraphs and books, never remembering what preacher verse he said... that way, when questioned about his empty speech, he can always say he doesn't remember or raise his hand, like he's asking permission to go potty, and then state, "I have another point I'd like to make," "I have another point I'd like to make," "I have another point I'd like to make..."

    January 26, 2008 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  11. Lonny

    Bill, just go home and shut up. My wife and I are white and proud to support BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT!!!!! Please bring an end to the decisive politics of the Clinton and Bush dynasties!!!

    January 26, 2008 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  12. AR

    If politics were a chalkboard, Hillary Clinton would be fingernails.

    January 26, 2008 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  13. Louis, New York

    First he plays nasty with Obama, polls go down.
    Now he plays nice but he brings race into it again by saying I can see why African Americans would vote for Obama.

    The best line was, "I was glad to see Sen. Obama and Hillary sort of call a truce the other day," He was the one doing all the trash talking! She has been playing the nice innocent one saying she wasn't responsible for what Bill was saying.


    Man what a politician, what a talker, no wonder he had so many women, he will change at the drop of a dime to tell you what you want to hear. My question is, how is Hillary going to control what he says and does when he is back in the white house while she is supposed to be taking care of business for the country? She can't even control him on the campaign trail, forget the White House.

    January 26, 2008 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  14. Joelle, Racine, WI

    Lisa January 25, 2008 7:40 pm ET

    I am a Caucasian woman who will vote for the best candidate – OBAMA!

    Isn't the Caucasian's a mountain range next to Murfreesboro, TN?

    I'm a black woman, not a brown woman, but a very black woman who is voting for the most experienced and electable Democratic Candidate – Hillary Rodham Clinton!

    I really didn’t appreciate my people com’n home for OJ; I certainly don’t appreciate my people com’n home for Obama!

    January 26, 2008 03:35 am at 3:35 am |
  15. Curtis Hill

    I love how the top news story is about how South Carolina will prove that Obama is the "real deal". Give me a break! ALL the polls show Obama leading in South Carollina by double digits. Minority support is very important amongst democrats, but it doesn't take a genius to realize that the majority of African Americans will support Obama in the primaries. The SAME voters, for the most part, will support Clinton in the general election if she gets the nomination. How can Clinton win S. Carolina if Obama has over 70% of the black vote and when her and Edwards are splitting the white vote? It can't happen! This is Clinton's WEAKEST state out of all 50! So, for CNN to imply that this primary is somehow going to indicate Obama's legitamacy is simply obsurd...and goes to prove how bias CNN has truly become. I am disappointed and don't even know where to turn.

    January 26, 2008 03:39 am at 3:39 am |

    Lets start with that I am not a R or a D, but a I. I sit over here in Europe watching these debates till 4am and I walk away thinking what the hell is going on. Hillary Clinton is not looked up at over here. They don't belive that she can bring about any change in America. This election is about the American people and not who has the most power. You have to be able to cross party lines to get things done. Look at the loggerheads we now have in office and what has been done. We had 3 months of debating the war and nothing came of it. Now that we are going to vote for our next leader, they all have plans and quick fix ideas. Can someone please stand up and be truthful to the American people. We don't need this mud slinging side show, which the people from around the world are looking at. Why don't the press give one hour of time to let each person, give his or her plan in detail as if you were in board meeting. Leave the husband and wives at home and any other distraction. Spell it out for everyone to see and ask questions. How hard is that?

    January 26, 2008 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
  17. P.Jamieson

    Too little too late.
    I voted for Bill Clinton for president. But, I've been so disgusted by both of the Clintons recently that I've decided that my vote this year will be ABC (anything but Hillary). It is really quite amazing that after so looking forward to the thought of the Clintons return that I now have an opinion of them that is more like Sean Hannity's. But, former President Clinton's despicable fall from statesman to attacker-in-chief leaves me no other choice. The Clinton's stepped over the line and there is no going back for me.

    I listen to Bill berating of and distorting Obama's record and statements and all I can think of is, "I did not have sex with that woman." I can't stomach the thought of more Clinton drama in the White House.

    Let the world be rid of both the Clintons and the Bush family in the White House for good.

    January 26, 2008 04:10 am at 4:10 am |
  18. Rock

    Let's test a new word – and let's call it the "I" Oh, really have not heard it to often in this campaign, so here it is, "Integrity"

    Obama – I did not vote for the war in Iraq!

    Clinton – I did not have . . . with that . . .

    Obama – 1

    Clinton – 0

    January 26, 2008 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  19. jeff

    we have yet to hear obama acknowledge that hillary and yes bill may also provide "historic" leadership in these difficult times.

    January 26, 2008 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
  20. Benny

    I really like the statements about experience from the Clinton campaign. If this experience had really been there, i would have expected Hillary Clinton to be the First person to know that Iraq did not have WMD before suporting the Iraq war based on her 8 years experience in the white house.

    January 26, 2008 04:58 am at 4:58 am |
  21. Ricky

    When the race card was introduced in the Presidential campaign, I believe the Obama could have quelched it, immediately. How?

    1) By Sen. Obama stating in his own words, what Queen Elizabeth, the Vigin Queen, stated about her parent, namely, that, "I AM MY MOTHER'S SON! AND JUST AS THE LIFE BLOOD THAT ONCE FLOWED THROUGH HER VEINS ALSO NOW FLOWS THROUGH MINE, AND IT IS PRECIOUS IN MY EYES".


    January 26, 2008 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
  22. Ricky

    When the race card was introduced in the Presidential campaign, I believe that Obama could have squelched it, immediately. How?

    1) By Sen. Obama stating in his own words, what Queen Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen, stated about her parent, namely, that, "I AM MY MOTHER'S SON! AND JUST AS THE LIFE BLOOD THAT ONCE FLOWED THROUGH HER VEINS ALSO NOW FLOWS THROUGH MINE, AND IT IS PRECIOUS IN MY EYES".


    January 26, 2008 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  23. Susan NH

    During this campaign the Clintons have exhibited the qualities that the world hates about Americans - self-absorbed, greedy, arrogant, and crude.

    I'd like to think that the majority of Americans are not like that. Most folks that I know are hardworking, respectful, honest, want the best for their kids, and care about their neighbors.

    We can choose to elect the Clintons, who represent the worst aspects of our national character, or we can choose someone who represents the essential goodness and core values of the American people.

    I prefer the latter. I support Obama.

    January 26, 2008 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  24. Andy, New York, New York

    Bill Clinton oozes hypocrisy when he speaks condescendingly about Obama, because in Clinton's heart, he knows this race is about paying back Hillary for all she did for him during his own presidential run and tenure. Obama is just another hurdle to overcome and then it will be all downhill, or that is what he hopes.

    January 26, 2008 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  25. omike

    Vote for clinton now and in November, clinton all the way, do not waste your vote on Obama because based on what I seen so far, he can't win in November if he is the democratic party nominee.
    Obama could be Clinton VP.

    January 26, 2008 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
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