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. Obama 08

    People who are tending to Clinton because of the "2 for 1" promise, should look closely. This man is an egomanic whi thirsts for the spotlight and thinks he can say anything. Is this really what we want on the world stage? His reputation worldwide is not as strong as the Clinton machine tells us and the dynasty mentality in a democracy is getting a lot of negativity as is his nasty involvement in this campaign.

    January 26, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Courtney S.

    Bill & Hill....PLEASE keep talking.

    Keep showing the American people WHY they elected Bush!

    Keep on keeping on!

    Each time you open your mouths you show your true colors.

    This is why you have the support of the uneducated because they are too poor to have the time to think about your comments and they buy the hype. But that is going to change too...so keep on talking.

    Bill & Hill you signed NAFTA, you made it nearly impossible for small time drug user to get goverment funding, you ignored Bin Laden.....but lets keep talking about the good times, and not about all the things YOU did that are impacting us now. YOU and your actions got up GWB....Own it!


    January 26, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. tmd1104

    I am amazed by the Clinton supporters who feel Obama is whining when he has to defend himself against the blatant lies coming from Hillary's camp. Wake up, people! There is no way Hillary can unite this country when so many people hate her. The best thing for America would be for the Democratic party to pull her from the race and send her and her lying husband packing.

    January 26, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Me Me

    Every spouse stumpin should be awarded two minutes a week or pay for additional air time.
    Like the rabbit says: "That's all folks!"

    January 26, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Jan

    Get one thing right! Obama supporters introduced RACE into the primary. Not Obama, not Hillary, not even Bill. This is acknowledged by many blacks including MLK admirers. And it backfired. Many white supporters will not vote for Obama now. And it didn't help when Michelle Obama said that "if you can't run your household, you can't run the White House". Course she recanted, it wasn't about Hillary, it was about her...slippery, smooth, manipulative...You can fool some of us some of the time, but not all of us all of the time. Go Edwards!!!

    January 26, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  6. W. T. Moses, Boca Raton, Florida

    I pray Obama, Edwards & Hillarious Clinton will get out of the race. Can you imagine any of them being in the White House...uggg!! What a horror chamber it would be. Thank God for THE FUTURE PRESIDENT ROMNEY – pray to God!!!

    January 26, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. Renea

    I am so sick of having to read reports about what Bill Clinton said. He needs to shut up! From what I can tell, many people who are not African American have and will vote for Barack Obama. How much more devisive can he get? Ooops, I shouldn't have asked. When Obama wins SC, I'll see how much worse Clinton can get.

    January 26, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. Tom Masters

    Now THIS is the Bill Clinton I want back in office.

    I loved 98, it was freakin' Utopia, let's move ahead to go back there.

    Bill, I may never get to actually speak to you, but what a great thing to say about Obama.

    Any chance you guys would go for VP, it would advance the human race sooo much.

    January 26, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. Spinmaster

    cnn specifically sensors the replies to make sure there is an 80% obama spin on it.

    I am convinced of one thing. The reporting on the democratic nomination has been completely lopsided. They give both candidates the same coverage. In fact, they give bill clinton the most of all.

    But all of it is SPUN negative for the Clintons, positive for Obama. Every single time. The media has tried to stick a TEFLON suit on the guy.

    The media is trying very hard to nominate a manchurian candidate. We all know Obama is nowhere near ready to be president of the united states.

    Everyone knows you cant elect a first term junior senator who has never run a business, city, let alone a state. Certainly since the united states became any kind of world power has some nobody with no experience to do the job been elected to be president.

    There is definitely something going on here. It would be outright stupid to elect Obama. Untill he gets more experieince, he is an EMPTY SUIT. Using him as a puppet to unite with great speeches is to hand over power to the democratic elite who will be pulling the strings.

    January 26, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. adam

    guys, please back off the clintons. some of your comments are very intimidating

    January 26, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Harry, Michigan

    It seems Obama is the recipient of the anti-Hillary vote!

    January 26, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. Kathy Bell

    It's pathetic to see Democrats doing to the Clintons what the Republicans did. Since when did saying someone was articulate become patronzing? George Bush isn't articulate, nor a lot of the candidates, especially Giuliani. Grow up people, you're being played by the Republicans and you're too naive to eve notice. Clinton was a great president, and what's wrong with a woman for President? FYI – Obama is white and black, like all of us, a person of multiple races. The only racism comments are those that are interpretted by the media. Stop with the bickering, if they can't take on each other how are they going to lead the country??? Stop the whining.

    January 26, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. NpCA

    I have lost faith in CNN to report the news accurately, especially politics.
    CNN has become the 'pity Obama news station'. CNN please go back to reporting the events and let the people decide who is wrong or right. All my friends and family feel the same way.

    January 26, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. rubin

    "Articulate?" – – Wasn't Joe Biden taken to task for using the same term ?

    January 26, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. richie

    Can someone tell me how the Clinton's are going to win incase they win the primaries? She was doing poorly before Bill got in to campaign for her, and he has made it worse now. If the democrats have to win then its either Obama, Edwards or Gravel.....oe Bloomberg on an Indipendent ticket.
    Hillary, Bill has killed your candidacy....

    January 26, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. richie

    Bill is crying Wolf, he initiated and fuelled the race factor, even dragged Obama into it, he now wants to pretend to be the clean one after all the damage. he is either crazy or too old, if not both. I repaet, Bill Clinton has undone his 8 year legacy in less than 2 weeks......

    January 26, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  17. doro, USA

    President Clinton deserves respect. Bill Clinton, the campaigner with his wife's encouragement, is tiresome, slippery and divisive. Please, CNN, give it a rest. How about Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama's campaign speeches for a change?

    January 26, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. Texan

    To all of you that keep saying that Clinton injected race into the primary, just go back and check out Obama's speeches ( even several years ago) where when speaking to black audiences he states " you've been hoodwinked and bamboozled " and uses the word okydoky ad infinitum. FYI, hoodwinked and bamboozled were favorite words of the great Black Muslim leader Malcolm X.
    Who is injecting race into this?

    January 26, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. Ellen

    Bill Clinton needs to stay out of the race. His negative comments and angry tones are only making him and Hillary look bad.

    January 26, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. votehillary2008

    Maybe Bill really thinks Obama is articulate. I love how the Clintons can't say anything without people going "what do they really mean by that?"

    However... nobody talks about the Obamas and their stereotypes. Sen. Obama said "Tell Pookie and Ray-Ray to vote for me." I am black and I have never met a Pookie or a Ray-Ray. I don't need Obama to show that's he's "down." He doesn't have to try to speak on my level. Speak to African-Americans the way you speak to the rest of the country. Had Bill Clinton said that people would've been outraged.

    Michelle Obama said she misprounced Navada because she'd "been in South Carolina so long." That's an insult to all South Carolinans.

    Lastly, Obama wants to see Bill's dancing skills to see if he's a "brother." Give me a break. It's bad enough white people repeat such stereotypes, now we have Obama condoning it. What black person really uses the term "brother" in 2008.

    January 26, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. Bethany

    Tell me? Why is everyone buzzing about this Resko man and no one seems to ask Hillary or Bill for that matter about the mess with Peter Paul? Why is that being swept under the rug?

    January 26, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  22. Lydia

    Billary is full of it. Talk about throwing rocks and hiding your hand! The Billary's are a joke! How could Obama call a truce in a disagreement he did not start.

    January 26, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  23. Susan

    Bill Clinton is a national embarrssment.

    January 26, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  24. genia

    Bill Clinton is showing just how much of a racist he is. If Obama was white I would still vote for him and I am a Black Woman. The color of the skin doesn't matter but a person telling the truth means a lot. Further more the Clintons have had their chance now let someone do the same.

    January 26, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  25. Linda

    why pick on Hillary when her husband is the one who started speaking out to Obama not Hillary she didn't tell him to do that he did it on his own which he should never of done, He realizes now he should of never done that. Now I hope they call it truce between them so we can see a normal campaigning and conentrate on issues.

    January 26, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
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