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. frank

    Obama is winning the spin war with the media. That is no surprise - the media has always been mindless and relentless in its pursuit of the Clintons.

    January 25, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. Natalie

    I'm so sick and tired of Bill. I wish the man would just shut up because this latest back handed slap against African Americans is not endearing me to Hillary!!

    January 25, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. Ken

    LOL Clinton uses the word "articulate" as bait since it can be seen as racially insensitive to call a black person that (are they normally not?). But Obama is just going to take the bait and inadvertently raise the Race Card again. Then he will lose the election due to his inexperience in major league politics. Obama won his Senate seat very easily as his republican self-destructed, so he's never been in a tough election before. And his inexperience shows.

    January 25, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. Robert

    Bill didn't event the race issue he just brought it up strategicaly to help his wife
    race is front and center in your country...If Obama wasn't part black this would not be a close race Hillary would have conceded to him by now

    January 25, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  5. Betty

    Clintons can lie as much as they want ,But who is winning in the minds of the voters?
    For those who don't know, Obama is!

    January 25, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  6. Jeremy

    The backlash from Hillary lying about Obama's record on choice in order to win NH is just beginning. They call it "whining" when they get called on their lies. They call it "abandoning the politics of hope" when Obama draws contrasts, like discussing his superior track record of good judgment.

    Anybody know if the voting machines are programmed to suit a certain candidate?

    January 25, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  7. jasper

    I am voting for Obama during the primaries. However, if Hillary gets nomination, it will be so much fun watching the Republicans chew out Billary.
    Can you imaging Hillary saying "I have 35 yrs of drinking tea experience with other presidents wives and i can solve the economy problem". Romney will eat her up.
    Will definately vote Republican this fall if Hillary is nominated. The end of the Clinton era needs to come to an end.

    January 25, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. Tapper

    am starting to realize that Obama is really the man for me.

    I never wanted to cross over.
    But I realize that my beligerence is getting in the way of making
    a choice that is right for America.
    And the more I think about it, I did not like Bill Clinton
    wagging his finger in my face.
    What he does in his own bedroom is his buisnees (sic)
    But even I don't like being lied to.

    January 25, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  9. Evie Henderson

    I wish there were more accurate reporting by the media. None of the Clintons have played the race card but it has been interpreted as such. I'm a fan of Obama's but fair is fair. Please read the full context of their speeches. I believe the Clintons have been treated unfairly by the media.

    January 25, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  10. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    I'm offended by the comments that suggest anything anti-Clinton is from a Republican. I am a Democrat and have made several posts over the last few days. Don't challenge someone's beliefs because they don't like your candidate.

    People are commenting against the Clintons because of the tactics that have been used over the last couple of weeks. Hillary has made Obama the "black" candidate so that she can get more white votes. Period. It's absolutely disgusting and offensive.

    This is not a mean-spirited comment. It is a fact, and, even if you support Hillary, you should be able to recognize how patently unfair this tactic is to Mr. Obama and every other American who has worked to move forward beyond the racial divide in this country.

    Don't be angry with Obama supporters, direct your frustrations to your candidate.

    January 25, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. Tommy

    What is "going negative" about lamenting your *opponent's* negative attacks (and then correcting her blatant distortions of your record)?

    You can try all you want to create the impression that both sides are throwing mud, and that the best we can do is throw our hands up and say "all's fair." It won't work. The Clintons have crossed the line. And you're right there with them.

    Try to maintain some professional dignity, would you?

    January 25, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  12. beckstone

    Hey Jobs Jobs Jobs,
    We're disgruntled democrats, not conservatives. It has become obvious that Bill (my former hero) is willing to risk dividing the democratic party and trashing the only man that can bring this nation together in order to reign again. This isn't about America, it's about the Clintons. Wake Up!!!

    January 25, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  13. Independent in MI

    Obama supporters are so mean and vile. I will never vote for someone that inspires so much hatred. Why don't you just say good thing about your candidate instead of spewing this garbage.

    I will vote republican before voting for Obama. Can you imagine what this country would be like if these bloggers are any indication of the "inspiration" that Obama invokes!

    January 25, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  14. v.ananthan

    OBAMA is dependent of other politicians to win but Hillary needs only her husband..

    January 25, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  15. robin glover

    It is so good to see Obama not allow the cheap and dirty politics stop his powerful message. My 21 year old son along with my 13 year old son are so engaged in this election. Thank you Obama. Keep strong and do not anyone get you down.

    January 25, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. Katherine

    Thanks Willy for your announcement of a truce – the damage is done!

    I will never vote for HILLARY or should I say BILL-ARY!

    January 25, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  17. Memories of Biden

    Was Bill also going to mention the fact that Obama is clean?

    January 25, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  18. Nana B

    If the black folks in South Carolina are only supporting Barack because he's black, why did the white folks in Iowa support him [...and to a great extent in New Hamphire & Nevada...]? Bill? What say you?

    This is a rather sad attempt by the Clintons to dampen the significance of what an Obama victory in South Carolina would be.

    ...Anyone competent but Clinton!

    January 25, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. Aj

    It is just such stupidities out of Hillary world and her skirt hangers that leaves me with contempt for her and your shallowness.

    Americans have been lied to for the last 7years and they have distiguished between lies and true and they can separate what is right for them. I don't think it is time for the media to tell us what to think!

    January 25, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  20. AH

    Did you see the republican debate? Hillary is thier target. Do we want to give them an advantage? Insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result.

    January 25, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  21. Betty

    Employing innuendo and half-truths against Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton and her husband, the former President, have introduced the politics of personal destruction to the Democratic presidential campaign. They bear responsibility for cheapening the tone of the contest.
    That is what the nytimes wrote

    January 25, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  22. Nick Ann Arbor, MI

    Bill, you were a great president, but you are a devious back-handed calculating liar. Even me, who thought you did great things in the nineties, knows that. Hang it up Bill. It's over.

    January 25, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. Grace, Overland Park, Kansas

    beautiful. i love how billary has made it look like obama was actually fighting with them when in fact all obama's campaign ever did was answer the untruthful attacks. do you know why the fighting has stopped, bill? it's because you and your wife (momentarily) stopped attacking obama. of course, now you're trying to screw obama over by getting delegates from michigan and florida, but that's another story.

    January 25, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. Jeff an Independent

    This is just what an abusive person always does.

    Hit someone, then apologize. Knock someone on the head, then hug and kiss. Demean someone, then compliment. Its an abusive pattern that keeps co-dependent people dependent on the abuser.

    Why on earth do we need another 4 years of this?

    January 25, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  25. Tyler in Raleigh

    So basically the only reason African Americans are voting for Obama is because of his race, and Hispanics for Richardson because of his? Is that really what Bill Clinton is saying? Its "symbolic", but nothing more?

    How dismissive and arrogant that is of him.

    Its not about their politics, visions, policies... its because they "stick to their kind"? Thats pretty much like calling it a "fairy tale" that a minority can win the election.

    Plus, calling him "articulate" as if its a surprise that anyone other than a white man (or his wife) can be educated is demeaning. Im sorry we are not up to your standards Mr. Clinton

    January 25, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
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