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. Ray

    too bad Obama's cult member's on here can do the same. You guys are just evil!!!

    January 25, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. Walter

    Bill Clinton lied to his wife, he lied to his daughter, and he lied to the American People. Do you think he would have any problem about lying about Barack Obama?

    “I did not have sex with that woman!”

    January 25, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. danniel

    my wife was supporting Hillary but right now she has changed her mind due to what Clinton has been saying , they think those who voted for obama in Iowa were black? for him to say about symbols?
    stop bill because we know what u did in the white house with.............
    shame on clintons

    January 25, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. chevyk

    Too you TOOOO LONG! im done with you clintons I Supported you at first but after i see that you just power hungry politicians.

    Obama 08

    January 25, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. karl from congo

    all africans love the clintons but now they are very ferious about his dirty politics he is playing with obama, clintons should be ashame of yourselves and you should never step on our land anymore you a disgrace to America

    January 25, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    I have a fealing that right wing conservatives just love to leave comments whenever they see Bill Clinton's name. All of you that are quick to judge and crticize, just remember that nobody is perfect including you. The same way you can quickly find flaws in someone, someone can quickly find flaws in you as well. Therefore, before you start jumping on the band wagon to criticize President Clinton, focus on all the good he did while in office. What good some of of you may ask..How about over 25million new jobs, a federal budget SURPLUS, overall prosperity, respect of USA throughout the world.

    Instead of solely focussing on the 20% flaws, why don't you put aside your unjustified anger, ego and consider the 80% of good deeds that someone does. I'm sure you appreciate that others do the same for you....

    January 25, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. yankee dog

    BC has sullied the office held for 8 years. Well.....he sullied it while in office too, but that is another topic. Now we see the true BC, angry and willing to do anything to get back in power. Do we want Billary back in the WH - no way!

    January 25, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. Tom, Boston MA

    Bill's playing the white race card, and the White voters' Obama support has already begun to decline.

    Rovian politics at its best.

    January 25, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. Terry

    Go Away!

    January 25, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. Arshad

    So Mr Clinton,
    What happened in a course of 1 week when "this whole thing is a fairy tale" suddenly became a "brilliant, articulate, compelling vision embodied in Sen. Obama". Both statements do not go together. We need another statement from you on which statement is real and which one you really mean and for how long starting from today. This couple has become a serious comedy lately.

    January 25, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. joe

    You all really need to get a clue .. the replubicans are afraid of them its not a matter of liking them .. they dont like any democrat and aren't going to work with ANY Democrat ... you all are living some pipe dream if you think its going to be any other way after the election.

    The Republicans know that the Clinton's hav ethe influence in washington to put them in a pickle and will force them to play hard ball. Of course the Republicans would rather have Obama .. why? Because he is weak and calculated ... it would be easy to push him around because he doesn't know his head from a hole in the ground.

    For christ sakes this is the United States of America, we can't afford to have the whimpy voice of inexperience and "i'm going to change washington" yet he can't tell you how .... If you all somehow think that the Republican's jumping on his band wagon means they are gonna cross fences when the time comes you have another thing coming. The only reason you see this support from republicans right now is because they are afraid of the alternative (HILLARY). They know if Hillary is running they will lose all around.

    Please People OPEN YOUR EYES ... I know you all are smarter than this ... just because he preaches change, doesn't mean he will be able to deliver!

    January 25, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. caywen

    I see, so Bill is now trying to paint Obama as the black candidate on the eve of him winning South Carolina.

    January 25, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. Mati

    I never understood why some call Obama 'articulate'. I don;t see much coherence in his debates. When not rehearsed, he is kind of fuzzy going back and forth, re-explaining "what I meant was.." . He might have some ideas but he needs someone to bring them to clarity.

    January 25, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. Carol

    Some polls have Obama up by as many as 20 pts. It should be interesting.

    January 25, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Andrea

    Bill Schneider's new comments today in the recently posted article about Obama are outrageous. In essence he's saying that if Obama doesn't win HUGE amongst black voters in South Carolina, that he's done.

    Bill, did you change any of Mark Penn's email to you or just print it verbatim?

    You guys get spun every single time and keep buying the Clinton spin. At some point, don't you ask yourselves why you're so gullible?

    January 25, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. Kendall, San Francisco, Ca

    To Bill Clinton:

    That dog won't hunt!!!

    January 25, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  17. Tlc

    Once again, I feel that if Senior Clinton honestly believes that this race should not be about gender or ethnicity then her husband should, perhaps stop bringing it up every chance he gets.

    January 25, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. James

    Way to play the race card yet again Bill Clinton.

    January 25, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. Derek

    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, I think you should vote for Bill Clinton this year.

    'Oh wait a minute, I forgot, he's not running. It was really hard to tell for a while there.

    If you're a Democrat, support Obama. The Clinton who could win (Bill) isn't running and the other Clinton can't win in the general election. Negatives too high!

    January 25, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. Oliver

    Well, if saying something positive (in my opinion, too positive) is not good either, because it's too patronizing, I suggest Bill should just continue to crticize him – after all, everything he has said is true – it takes more to be president that just to be "present", you actually have to make decisions instead of watching others make them for you – maybe Obama will figure it out one day ...

    January 25, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  21. Joan

    “We will only have honest government if the voters demand honesty from their leaders, and not when they look the other way when the dishonesty comes from their own party.”

    It is up to us. I know we can do better. I hope all the politicians get the message.

    The “winning at any cost” and “the ends justify the means” should be retired.

    If this kind of crud is allowed we will deserve what we get in the way of poor politicians on every level from all parties.

    “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.” ~ H. L. Mencken

    January 25, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  22. Michael

    I agree. Sounds a little too much like Republican Neo-con rhetoric. They benefit if the Democratic party continues to fight based on race and gender. If the party could come back together, they know they would not stand a chance. This is a last gasp effort on their part.
    Guess what, Bushies? The party is over, no matter if Clinton, or Obama, or Edwards wins the nomination.
    New ideas, and re-establishing our place as a beacon for other countries to admire.
    Neo-con losers!
    Enough damage done, now go away.

    January 25, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. Branco Ovitshio

    since the beginning of this campaign in the U.S.A i realise that the Clintona are big liar and this makes me angry to listen that Clinton is a black president, in my eyes it must be GWB because in the Bush administration we have seen a lot of Blacks Leraders tooks High position not in clinton administration so away with The Clintons

    January 25, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  24. Sawyer

    The clintons are “dirty politics” there is no doubt in my mind…….
    They claim they are for the African Americans but will do and say anything to get into the white house that want. Rather than see a new change in history and let an African American make history in this country!
    That is what I don’t understand…

    January 25, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. Bridget

    Senaor Barrak Obama is the oxygen we need to "Change" Washington D.C.!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Former president is not a "Diplomat" and is only for the "Corporate Giants"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    A fourth grader will have the memory of not being good enough to speak with a young person from the "Clinton Empire"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Understand the "Clinton Empire" will not be for your "Children"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 25, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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