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. Branco Ovitshio

    Mike K, after reading your question : I am asian people. I ask myself a thousand time the same question" Does the 80% of the white Amarican peoples accept the black president to lead them ?
    My question is also from which country or which part of Asia you are? because when you look in the History of Asian Country, you will understand that the White Americans you are praising here want to lead in Asia as they have this habits to rule everywhere. they have in Japan, they have problem with China because of the Economy is, you will never see a Black person to challenge anh Asia because you did not come in Africa and want to Colonise peoples over there but because we went in Africa,we had threatened this peoples so bad and now we are afraid of them to it us back

    January 26, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Marc

    THE CNN AMBUSH OF HILLARY CLINTON
    Susan Mavou working at the Obama camp got him prepared for the question that took Hillary by surprise, giving Obama an edge at the debate, was Wolf Bliza not aware of it ahead of time?
    CNN should should know that we are watching, and that we are not stupid.

    January 26, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Ben

    I am African American:

    The quote is "a brilliant, articulate, compelling Vision embodied in Sen. Obama."

    Vision, stupid Obama supporters. Stop trying to speak for African Americans. You demonstrate your ignorance!

    January 26, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. Sis O, IA

    They Clintons are counting on Americans having short term memory of their many scandals and gridlock. We want Change we can trust and believe in with Obama.

    We don't want to elect Hillary based on her husbands resume and her need for a co-presidency with him. Like Joe said, Did Margaret Thatcher or Golda Meier need their husbands like Hillary is dependent on Bill????

    Obama can do the job alone and he has way less negatives than Hillary. So Obama can get the work done. Hillary can not.

    Also, the hate and divisiveness that has been infused by the Clintons in this election are just unforgivable. This calculated dirt by the Clintons should backfire on them. I hope people will continue to vote against Hillary and not for her.

    ABC=Anyone but Hillary in '08

    January 26, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Phil Memphis, TN

    It is amazing to me to see the media (and yes we the people posting on here) take words and twist them, then throw them at the other candidates to force a reaction, then throw the reaction back at the first candidate. both Obama and clinton camps have brought up race in comments. I just watched an interview with michelle where that is what she talked about for 3/4 of the interview. Interestingly though, if you really analyze the comments on either side, without twisting them, they have pretty much been true comments, and really not all that controversial. Until, that is, the media starts playoing snippets out of context and fanning the flame.

    CNN does not seem to know what the issues are. while we keep asking about the economy, the war, etc. CNN keeps reporting on race and gender. The one thing I will give Bill clinton credit for is calling them out on it.

    When Barack was asked during a debate "Do you think Bill Clinton was the first black president?" how does that question help voters make a decision on candidates? It doesn't. It is a question intended to inflame and cause animosity between the candidates. Then CNN sits back and waits for the blowup to happen so they can run to their cameras like giddy schoolgirls spreading the latest gossip.

    January 26, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. Phil Memphis, TN

    Oh, BTW, reread the quote in the article. Clinton did not call Obama "articulate". He called Obama's vision brilliant and articulate. There is a big difference when you consider it from the "racial stereotype" view that a few are going to jump all over. there is nothig racist with stating that someone articulates their vision wel.

    January 26, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. Elizabeth

    I'm missing a piece of the puzzle here....Bill talking about everyone's longing for the country to be brought together. True, so very true. The question is: Why, Bill, did you start 'division' with your misguiding statements about Obama which simply were not true, and you 'knew' these tactics would bring division? Your calling a truce now, and that's good news, but why did you and Hillary begin this division? I heard Bill's comment about how the people did not care to hear about things like this so 'why' did he make intentionally misguiding statements? I'm glad you've come to know how the country does not want this...but Obama has been consistent in this knowledge. The difference is...Obama has consistently risen above low tactics and stayed close to truth and integrity.

    January 26, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. observer

    I wonder why no one has reported certain facts about the Obamas. Michelle Obama served on the board of TreeHouse Foods,Walmart being one of their biggest customers. Her salary was 51,200 . Why has this not been brought out?

    January 26, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. VictoriaHope

    Americans, democrats, what have we witnessed since Iowa? Hill weeps and Bill the Stomper in Chief commences to beat the Hope out of the Democratic Primary 2008. CLINTONIAN CORRUPTION IS UNSTOPPABLE because . . . .

    January 26, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Ronald in B.R.,La

    Its insulting to me as a black man that the only positive thing that Clinton can say about Obama's campaign is that his vision is "articulate". I have found myself in the center of many exchanges in which a white person surprisingly refer to me as being articulate, as if that is some kind of compliment. I expect better from a former president........but then again we do have Bush.

    January 26, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. ken

    hillary will win the election

    January 26, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. tsk

    she'd do best it he'd bow out. kinda sounds like bow-wow now after the heat he took for the horrible damage he did to his wife now he's offering pithy damage control. Go home Bill ...read a book do the laundry– do us all a favor

    January 26, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. lk

    Obama the amatuer! Cant get much worse than Bush – oh yes it can!! Dont think we can risk our country going further down the drain by electing a newcomer and junior just cos he is black – must we pity him! Same way must we pity Hillary for being a woman! Vote for Hillary because she is smart capable and ready to lead – she wont take 4 years to get up and running ! Hillary 08!

    January 26, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. Nash

    The Clintons loves to be hilly billies in Washington. They will probably do anything to get there.

    January 26, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. nii kotey kotey

    i do not personally think qualifications and experiennce is just enough to bring a nation like USA to her future if glorious. America needs no more experience and big oxford and harvard names but one who would have the nation at heart. experience and qualifications have both failed America and will fail America again. America needs more than that. like a father protects the interest of his family even to death America needs the fathers.

    January 26, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. Butch, queens, nyc

    articulate...thats what you call a bck handed compliment.

    the clintons are really masters of the racial codes that have been into the nations unconscious

    a note to white people, please, please do not ever ever use that word when describing a person of any color, it really is not a compliment.

    if you think i'm wrong, when was the last time you ever heard someone use that word to describe a white persons character?

    bill clinton has wasted any and all goodwill i had for him.
    this is disgusting.

    January 26, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. Marcus, Independence MO

    Divide conquer and then shake hands. Anything for power I guess. But I am a firm believer that how you campaign is how you will govern. Reaching out to other Democrats will be impossible if Clinton is elected let alone Blacks. We all remember the swiftboating and the Bush Administration afterward. It was horrible and included so much partisan fighting. I am an African American male and to imply that we have less at stake than whites is offensive. As if we want to see history, a black president, more than a bigger paycheck. And then to play the race card or to acuse us of being racist is like calling a Muslim a liar. The notion that we look at race more than nationality is stupid. If this were the case than why do blacks proudly compete in the Olympics under the American flag and not the Nigerian, Sudanan, or Ghaian flags?? Why did we fight in wars with whites while still disagreeing with the agendas? Obama looks past race and many of us do to but we also see that the Clintons just want power and that's a turn off. No one has ever criticized our loyalty to this party and Bill didn't play the race card nor mention the fact that Blacks voted for him over Jesse Jackson, a divisive figure to many African Americans. And to DUDE who posted above me. Name one thing the Clintons acheived while in office?? I mean seriously they owe all of their success to Al Gore signing the internent act into law. Without this the Clintons have a at best average presidency. And please explain to me how she can help America when: 1. Her husband left to the preceeding President Bush the justication for war in Iraq. 2. She voted for the war. 3. She voted for the Bankruptcy act. 4. She voted for the resolution against Iran (another blank check for this president to cash). I see all her mistakes as the same mistakes as Bush she voted with him on more issues than not. If it were her in office she'd be the fool. OOOooops can't be a word you use often when you're a president or senator.

    January 26, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. David Snider

    bob January 25, 2008 4:37 pm ET

    Can some one fill me in on what the vision is? I keep hearing him talk about change, but I have yet to hear many specific examples of changes he supports

    ***
    Obama talks about a Clean America. An America that ACTUALLY comes together for once (which has a true chance this time). Obama talks about treating everyone fairly, including people of all colors. He wants us to naturally accept that we all may be different , but have the same goal in the end, FREEDOM and PROSPERITY. Americans who can afford to buy what they want, including affordable health care without the Government controling it. Unlike 2 other canidates. He even talks about uniting Republicans, Democrats and Independents and working with them to satisfy American people, not their own ambitions! Obama talks about healing this world instead of dividing it even more. Obama has a dream of our own energy which supplies 100% of Americas energy forever! He believes that talking to our enemies might be better for America, since most of the Aggression over the past 7 years was caused by US and has made it almost impossible for peace some day. He talks a lot and I'm LOVING what he talks about. he has the same view points as me.

    A Military Civilian who seves his country proudly but also is in need of money to pay bills, buy health care..etc.. P.S. I DO NOT get cheap deals for Medical Health care or any care for that matter.

    Obama didn't support the War
    Obama did NOT designate with Bush to label Iran's Guard as a Terrorist organization

    This vote that BUSH and HILLARY CLINTON voted for is the drum beat to war with Iran! But, America doesnt need a war right now because our first priority is our people first and healing our nation! America could of course deal a death blow to Iran. They could basically put out of commission Irans Navy, Air Force, Military Bases and support structures, but this would only lead the American economy down even more and we dont want this and OIL at $200 dollars a barrel and WORLD economies, including ours,, plunging to hell!!

    OBAMA 08!

    This is exactly what we need in Ameirca and the world CHANGE for the BETTER

    Obama 08!

    mary January 25, 2008 8:53 pm ET

    time for a real change. elect a smart women president. go HILLARY.

    January 26, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. jyfranca

    Clinton dont act smart you wanna lower the expectation and say obama won by blacks votes.Why dont you say there is half to half between blacks and whites in south carolina?Hypocrite you should say hillary gets many votes from whites than black and she is racist.We are tired of your politics.We are waiting you in November.mcCain will knock you both out.never lower expectation McCain is white and your wife is white i dont know what propaganda you will use Mr.divide and rule.

    January 26, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. Why

    Mr. Clinton, when Senator Obama won Iowa I doubt it was because blacks thought it would be great to have the first black president. Should I choose Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama it will be because one of them best represents my interests and the issues I care about. Black and white Americans may actually like Sen. Obama for more than his skin color. Yet on a daily basis President Clinton is reinforcing the idea that Obama's appeal is in the color of his skin. Sen. Obama has more experience as an elected official than Sen. Clinton. I believe e is best equipped to lead and unite our country on day one. The issue of race seems most important to President Clinton as he brings it up more often than any leading surrogate. Now why would he do something like that if he thought his wife would somehow be at a disadvantage? That's right, he wouldn't.

    January 26, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  21. tycho47

    I was busy reading all the comments after this article, and getting some fresh opinions, when I noticed most of you don't know how to spell.

    January 26, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. Phil Memphis, TN

    It is amazing to me to see the media (and yes we the people posting on here) take words and twist them, then throw them at the other candidates to force a reaction, then throw the reaction back at the first candidate. both Obama and clinton camps have brought up race in comments. I just watched an interview with michelle where that is what she talked about for 3/4 of the interview. Interestingly though, if you really analyze the comments on either side, without twisting them, they have pretty much been true comments, and really not all that controversial. Until, that is, the media starts playoing snippets out of context and fanning the flame.

    CNN does not seem to know what the issues are. while we keep asking about the economy, the war, etc. CNN keeps reporting on race and gender. The one thing I will give Bill clinton credit for is calling them out on it.

    When Barack was asked during a debate "Do you think Bill Clinton was the first black president?" how does that question help voters make a decision on candidates? It doesn't. It is a question intended to inflame and cause animosity between the candidates. Then CNN sits back and waits for the blowup to happen so they can run to their cameras like giddy schoolgirls spreading the latest gossip.

    January 26, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Phil Memphis, TN

    Oh, BTW, reread the quote in the article. Clinton did not call Obama "articulate". He called Obama's vision brilliant and articulate. There is a big difference when you consider it from the "racial stereotype" view that a few are going to jump all over. there is nothig racist with stating that someone has articulated their vision well.

    January 26, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. h.taylor

    Bill Creepton: Obama vision is 'articulate and compelling."
    Check this out Clintonians,
    From Obama speech about opposing the "Bush War on Iraq"

    How we made that decision, and how we talk about it, is critical to understanding what we would do as President. Will we carefully evaluate the evidence and the consequences of action, or will we skip over the intelligence and scare people with the consequences of inaction? Will we make these decisions based on polls, or based on our principles? Will we have the courage to make the tough choice, or will we just choose the course that makes us look tough?

    "Bill and Hill War on Obama"

    January 26, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Fatima

    Bill has stooped to conquer.....

    I hope the people of SC will show all that authenticity and inborn intelligence is all that is required for real change that crosses racial divides, ...take a look at the mastery and deftness of 36 yr old Bobby Jindal, Governor of Lousiana.

    January 26, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17