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. Amy R

    Bill is STILL bringing up the race card.

    Obama got a majority of votes in Iowa so he trancends both race, gender and party lines. I am tired of people trying to pigeonhole Obama, (who had a Mom who was white mind you) as "the black candidate"...that is just not true. Obama is the PEOPLE'S CANDIDATE. He is America's candidate: Obama '08.

    I am so tired of the Clinton con. Please turn the page America.

    January 25, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. SD Mann

    Regardless of the race of the voters, it should be noted that a Democratic voter is not a race. Because a majority of a democratic demographic goes one way, does not indicate racial prejudice but preference. The NEWS MEDIA should frame it that way because that the way it is.......

    January 25, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Sis O, IA

    We can not take a risk to have the same old status quo people doing the same old things and getting no results. No more gridlock. Obama for Change we can believe in.

    January 25, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  4. bryan, san francisco, CA

    good call "colene from new york"...i like that analogy

    hillary clinton is the tonya harding of politics...


    January 25, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Bill speaks with a "fork tongue". Why doesn't Hillary just zip his mouth up.

    January 25, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. srs, ok

    just because one is running for president, or is, in fact, president, it doesn't necessarily follow that he/she is articulate: case in point, current president.

    January 25, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. Kermee

    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.

    January 25, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. Joe

    We really need a sitcom called, "The Clintons". Suddenly Bill and Hill are taking the high road by playing nice again. I remember the last time they called for a "truce" - that was just before they started bashing the Culinary Union for voter suppression (after it had endorsed Barack) and ripping on Barack for his innocent (albeit ill-timed) Reagan remark. Clearly the Clintons saw themselves slipping in the South Carolina polls and decided to change tactics... again. So now we are to believe they won't resort to dirty politics after South Carolina. As they say, fool me once...

    January 25, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. Keith

    So is it articulate or a fairy tale? What will it be next week Bill? Good Bill, or bad Bill? I guess it all depends on who wins in South Carolina tomorrow.

    January 25, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  10. Obama in TX

    Don't fall for the trick folks: Bill and Hillary will keep pointing out the Obama is an African-American to marginalize him. Remember, the bulk of of Obama's support is NOT among African-Americans. Instead, it'sthe affleunt, educated Whites that are his bread and butter in this campaign. The Clintons are trying to squash that demographic.

    January 25, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. tomw

    hill and bill knew they had to cool it or they will lose and i still think they will obama has taken evrything they threw at him told them were to find the facts and never lied about anything,that is what people want to see

    January 25, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. Bill Henderson

    I used to like Bill Clinton. I was going to vote for Hilary. However, after all of Bill and Hilary's disgusting tactics, I am now voting for Obama.

    Now I see that Vladimir Putin and Bill Clinton are the same person. Bill wants to be America's Czar.

    January 25, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. Jacque Bauer

    Yes, I am sure that Bill is now out campaigning and saying these things for Barack's good!! Watch your backside, Obama, the man is sheer EVIL!!

    January 25, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  14. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    To Bob, and to anyone else who questions the change that Obama supports: At this point, and I'm not trying to be offensive to fellow bloggers, anyone who claims they don't know what Change Obama stands for is not trying very hard. All news outlets show the candidate's platforms. Obama's website details plans on every major issue–including energy that no one seems to care about, unfortunately. Please take the time to do a little research on the candidates' positions before regurgitating talking points.

    January 25, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. Casey

    Oh, God. I think I hate CNN (anti- Clinton News Network).

    January 25, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. James Brown ( Independent )

    LOL............The country is begging alright , begging you to just go away Bill Clinton !

    January 25, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. GiveMeABreakInTexas

    CNN please don't keep my post in moderation all night.

    January 25, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. MomentOfTruth

    Good job, Bill! It's great to see him standing tall for dems!

    So many of these comments are angry and whiny! I have a hard time believing democrats would post them....gotta be republicans. These mean-spirited comments show, some people will tear you down for no reason at all.

    January 25, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  19. George from Minneapolis

    correction- 4 years of bush 1.

    January 25, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. Andrew Kenneth

    " I cant imagine Bill Clinton in the White house with all that time in his hands"

    January 25, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  21. Derek

    The identity politics must stop!

    "brilliant, articulate, compelling vision embodied in Sen. Obama as the first African-American president." Why not stop at "Sen. Obama"? Why the "as the first African ..." extension.

    The fact that Obama is "African-American" has nothing to do with his vision!


    January 25, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. jess

    Seriously?!? How much more transparent can one candidate be? Let's show the Clintons that we are much smarter than they give us credit for. They view voters as fodder for votes, that is it. They will do anything for power. We deserve so much more credit.

    January 25, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. danniel

    these clintons are bad people
    pretenders they think we are stupid
    i am a white man and i have seen what is good for america is to have obama in 2008
    we dont need games anymore
    bill and Hillary should stop playing with our mind

    January 25, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. GiveMeABreakInTexas

    Clinton needs to keep his mouth shut and go away. Oh look...he is playing the race card again....I know all you bloggers will say "what race card" so I'll spell it out.

    Joe Biden said Obama was "articulate" and black American just got up in arms saying it was a racial slur. Now can Bill say that and just dance away?

    I read all the posts on why some of us hate the Clintons...because it is so easy to do. If you take off blinders and see Bill land Hillary go good/bad/good/bad and then good right before the election. Then Bill is out there now pretending the be the "great healer" of the democratic party. Really, Give Me A Break, Just Give Me A Break!

    January 25, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  25. Kimmie

    SC election is tomorrow. Hillary and Bill have to come across as truce – makers. The day before election it is always something, to try to divert the people from Obama.

    Vote Obama!

    January 25, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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