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. Patrick

    wow these obama supporters are such Haters! THey love to hate and are always so angry. I think they are really Really Republicans working for Karl Rove. THey hate Clinton more than Republicans do!

    CLINTON 08!!

    January 25, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  2. Bill

    Yankee Dog :

    You have it right. This about re-obtaining "power"

    Their goal is not to inspire nor to lead nor to guide nor "change" the people or politics of the United States of America.

    Their goal is to get the power back.

    The sad part is that the voters of this country might just believe their red-neck , trailer trash talk'n bullXXXX !

    If this campaign didnt include a Black eloquent inspirational United States Senator , the trash talkin Clintons would be nothing but nice.

    America deserves better.


    January 25, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  3. Gail

    What a shame Bill.

    January 25, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  4. Khan

    Is that the politics we need?

    January 25, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  5. Chris-Seattle

    Corporate trial lawyer, civil rights lawyer & a personal injury lawyer! Which would you trust????

    January 25, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. Karen, Jersey City

    Bill Clinton the snake in 'Flying Liar Hidden Dragon' co-starring his wife....

    January 25, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  7. J. McKinney SW MO

    Go, Hillary, GO! We need experience and ability to lead. We need Hillary!

    January 25, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  8. Richard Zee

    A vote for Hillary is a vote for the next Republican President.

    January 25, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  9. David, Silver Spring, MD

    I know as a white person, I'm supposed to think it symbolically powerful and important to support a white candidate. But what can I say, as an American I'm more proud to support Barack Obama.

    January 25, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  10. Lisa

    I am a Caucasian woman who will vote for the best candidate – OBAMA!

    January 25, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  11. way, ky

    with these 2 in the lead, republicans are very happy.

    January 25, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  12. Denise, Phoenix, AZ

    At least Sen Obama has a vision beyond getting more power.

    Every time Bill moves up (Gov of Arkansas), Hillary moves up with him (Attorney General of Arkansas). Bill moves up again (President of the US); Hillary moves up with him (US Senate). See the pattern, women?

    I want to hear Hillary discuss her plans - in detail - for fixing the many ills we face. I don't want to hear her slinging mud (abortion just to get the female vote, when it's not an issue here). It's a waste of time, money, and effort! Re: healthcare, she still does not understand insureds vs. uninsureds, nor why the numbers are at 47 million. She still needs something of truth and relevance to criticize Obama on!

    Consider what America got with the first Clinton co-Presidency:

    • Abuse of the powers of the office of the President
    • Granting Presidential pardons to buy Hillary's election to the Senate. As a woman who made it on my own, Hillary's need to ride Bill's coattails and her sense of entitlement (as in "it's my turn and Obama should wait his turn") makes me doubt her capabilities.
    • Hillary's long-suffering marriage to Bill, enabling a lifetime of sexual trysts and trying to contain the Bimbo eruptions, gives me a President without the backbone to stand up to a man. Hillary claims to be tough enough to play with the boys when, in fact, she is unable to leave a cheating husband. How will she stand up to other male leaders who see this in "Mrs." Clinton and walk all over her?
    • Being married to a former President does not make one qualified to be President.
    Hillary has less experience in elected office than Barack. She's held elected office for one Senate term plus one year and has introduced no major legislation during that time. She showed us in the interview about Pakistani elections the extent of her foreign policy experience–she did not know what office the election was for or who was on the ballot! Is this the kind of experience we want in the Oval Office?

    I am not a "Hillary hater;" I am an America lover. Please consider very carefully which candidate the Democratic Party puts on the ballot. The future of this country absolutely depends on it.

    January 25, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. BILL5321

    If Hillary wants to be President she needs to do her own talking. Otherwise she is not qualified to be president. Ever if her husband says so?

    Obama speaks for himself. His wife is nice an all, but I am not voting for his Obama's wife.

    January 25, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  14. Ibeam

    If hillary is elected will interns be allowed in the Wite House? Bill, give it a break...The Clinton regime is died. I'm sure the founding fathers had you in mind when they decided on a republic vice a monarchy.

    January 25, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  15. Obama 08

    CNN: Where are the comments made by the CANDIDATES?? We don't need endless comments by a former president who IS NOT running for office (ha! ha!

    Haven't any other spouses said anything today.?

    Your partiality to Bill Clinton is sickening...he gets mad at one of your reporters and now he is the political Messiah??

    If you want to talk about Clinton give some "fact checks" on his re3cords and ties to interests to Saudi Arabia and the $ 20 million he expects to make...you remember the Saudi Arabians...i5 of the 16 murderers on 911 were from Saudi Arabia.

    January 25, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. Donna

    January 25, 2008 4:24 pm ET

    I love it when we blacks are called "articulate," as if by default we are not. The man is running for the office of the president. no duh he's probably articulate…

    it's like when everyone said that colin powell "spoke so well."


    Well, Bush is white and anything "but" articulate so we can't take this sort of thing for granted. Remember how everyone voted for Bush (instead of Gore or Kerry) because Bush was the kind of guy they could sit and have a beer with. good thinking folks.

    Give me brilliant and articulate any day for our PRESIDENT. I don't need to have a beer with him, though he sure seems like a decent guy.

    still hoping. Obama 08

    January 25, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  17. John in Columbus, OH

    They now realize they made a huge mistake. When you alienate a demographic that votes 90%+ Democrat....that's just plain dumb....or should I say....stupid.

    January 25, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  18. omike

    Why is everyone crying for obama? Obama can't win even if he is against another African American, I am still waiting to hear from any one who can tell what obama has done for African American community.
    This is a man who can not take simple responsibility for his actions, all he does is cry foul anytime some one pointed it out to him, he is not good for America he is very divisive and I can't wait for the super Tuesday to be over so that we hear less of him.
    When he started he was always dancing, but lately he has come to realized that politics is not about dancing.
    I am glad that we have people like bill Clinton who are not afraid of obama to tell him the truth. Obama is not good for us as African America he is not good for America; in fact obama is republican party sponsored, they have been contributing to his fund, and the reason is to have obama as Democratic Party nominee as this would be the surest way to have a republican president come general election. For this reason and others I am not voting for obama because I can not afford to waste my vote in this very election.

    January 25, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Joseph Ronald Toussaint

    I am an haitian and I am following closely the US election events through CNN news. Sometimes, I effectively got the impression a portion of american citizens are afraid of Hilary. I don't know exactly the reason and motivation: may be I don't understand the american context. Sometimes also I found CNN doens't make things easy for Hilary: news are not balanced. You always presented former president clinton asa bad gourou saying bad things on Obama. WE in Haiti we have a very good impression of the Clintons. WE also appreciate OBAMA. Our deep wish is to have a ticket: HIlary Clinton wining the democrate nomination and Obama as the Vice-president. With such a ticket, the republican party will be beaten even they choose Mc Cain.

    Congratulations for the US democracy and the tolerance spirit shown by CNN to post e-mails criticizing the way the network treats the information.



    January 25, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  20. Bridget_Stupid

    This is politics. This is not child's play. If Barack wants to be a baby, let him be. Bill Clinton is good at whatever he does. He ran the country effectively and efficiently.

    There is the one thing most of us (democrats, Independents and those republicans that are upset with the current administration) fail to understand that Obama is NOT going to win the general elections. Simple as that. Those of you in S.C., use your vote wisely tomorrow –

    Bridget, what is the Clinton empire? Some of you are so dumb it is not funny.

    Go Hillary!

    January 25, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  21. Sean in Charlotte, N.C.

    Bill Clinton is completely ruining his image amoung Democrats. We are all beginning to remember him for what he truly is...a liar, who will say anything to get ahead. Dont forget that this is the same guy who continuously and habitually lied to his family, the U.S. grand jury, and most importantly, to the American people!

    We don't need four more years of the Clintons in the White House. It may end up dividing the country more than it already has been divided by the Bush administration.

    It's time for some new faces. I'm voting for Obama.

    January 25, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  22. An Illinois Democrat

    I am wondering who Obama would pick as a running mate if he luckily ended up winning the Democratic nomination---possibly Oprah?

    January 25, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  23. Truethis

    Even though I'm a Democratic, I watched the Republican Debate and I'm going to tell you if Hillary becomes the Democratic Nominee, we are going to lose. I never thought how so many people (Republican & Independents) dislike the Clinton. And I'm not trying to sway you but the way the Republican acted last night, they want Clintons because they have so much baggage along with that 35 years of experiences that I can honestly see Romney as the next president.

    The tactic that Bill Clinton doing is actually helping Hillary but in the long run when itt's time to pick a new president, Bill is going to destroy our chances for a new Democratic president........and it's really sad.

    January 25, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  24. Dan Campbell

    Bill Clinton gives a compelling speech, 99.9% of which is about policy and a better future. CNN pulls two words out of it – perpetuates the 'race' issue and the villagers run across the street with torches and pitch forks (again accusing the Clintons of racial tension). You people need to wake up. The media is playing the race card because THE CAMPAIGN IS IN SOUTH CAROLINA. Do the Clintons benefit from racial tension in SC – of course not.

    Grow up and reject the media's racial insertions. If there were ever two people that have stood up for equality, its Bill and Hillary.

    There is an obvious bias in the media against the Clintons and if you are a smart voter, you'll use that as a filter.

    Clinton/Obama in '08

    January 25, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  25. being too nice bill

    bill's being too nice.

    January 25, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
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