June 19th, 2008
02:51 PM ET
12 years ago

Blitzer: When will Bill Clinton back Obama?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/19/art.billclintonmay.gi.jpg caption="Blitzer: How active will Bill Clinton be on the trail for Obama?"] WASHINGTON (CNN) - Bill and Hillary Clinton attended the memorial service for Tim Russert at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington on Thursday. That was the first time I have seen them since Senator Clinton dropped out of the presidential race and endorsed Barack Obama. She was very enthusiastic that day. It dawned on me yesterday that we still haven’t heard the former President formally endorse Senator Obama. I am sure he will be on the Obama bandwagon openly and energetically fairly soon. But I wonder what’s taking so long. Then again, is it really all that long?

As our CNN contributor and Democratic strategist James Carville has pointed out, it was only the other day when Al Gore endorsed Obama. We shouldn’t be surprised that Bill Clinton is waiting for the right moment to deliver his big endorsement speech. And having covered the Clinton White House, I can predict that it will be a major media event when he does. Bill Clinton is just one of those remarkable political figures. When he wants to do something, he has a knack of doing it in a spectacular way.

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But after that big endorsement is made, how active will the former President be on the campaign trail?

The answer is: I don’t know. I suspect some Obama supporters will want to see him very actively out there. He remains very popular with a lot of Democrats. Others might want him to step back. I remember that Al Gore, back in 2000, didn’t use Bill Clinton all that much, even in states where he might have made a difference. I am referring to Arkansas specifically. Had Gore won Arkansas in 2000, he would have been president. That one state’s electoral votes would have made the crucial difference.

We will soon begin to learn what roles the two Clintons will take. Those of us who are political news junkies will find it fascinating no matter what they do.

One final thing: what about Chelsea Clinton? She was an amazing campaigner for her mom. Let’s see what she does for Obama.

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (252 Responses)

    BILL CLINTON - the best president in last 40 yrs does not need to support a loser -mr waffles who is the nominee b/c of race card that he played on clintons -

    June 19, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Nathan

    Interesting, perhaps, but not that interesting. As far as the campaign goes, Clinton is the past. He is much more important as someone who works intelligently and effectively on global development issues, on poverty and disease in Africa, as someone who is a model of what can be done by someone outside of government. He can contribute greatly in those areas, and he can be a great resource for Obama if he plays from those strengths as an advisor, a public intellectual, an effective activist in the field. He is just not that important as a direct campaigner. Better to give strong support from outside the campaign as someone who is doing some real good in the world–and not trying to recapture the past. This is Clinton's way to a future.

    June 19, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. Independent in Des Moines

    As a Clinton fan, I think Bill would hurt him more than help him. I believe Bill hurt Hillary with her run.

    June 19, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. mike

    I think you mean "specactular WAY", not "spectacular war" in that last sentence. 😉

    June 19, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. SZ

    Ask not what Barack Obama can do for you, ask what you can do for Barack Obama!

    June 19, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. virginia

    I think I'd be a little leary of having Mr. Clinton on the campaign trail if I were him. Look how much damage he did to his wife.....and he loves her!

    June 19, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. Trever

    Wolf Blitzer has lost my respect. Stop trying to stir up trouble for the sake of a story and just let the Clinton's do what they want, when they want. They are good people and will do the right thing at the right time. Stop making a mess of everything. You are part of the problem, instead of being part of the solution.

    June 19, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. syl

    Obama should first apologized to President Clinton.
    He ridiculed the progress made in the 90s under Clinton; he used the race card (with his mouthpiece Clyburn) and he and his supporters diminished and demean President Clinton.
    Also Obama is saying there should be no criticisms of presidential candidates spouses. He objects to criticism of his spouse. Is this another example of his sexism? Did he not criticize Hillary's spouse?
    Did he not have the foresight that he would need President Clinton's help? It is obvious that he does not have what it takes to be a presient.

    June 19, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. tess

    who cares!! i would be happy if i never had to see or hear of either clinton for the rest of my life – and the world would go on just beautifully and with much less trashiness and meaness!!!!! the best sight would be their backs leaving to places unknown!

    June 19, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    ASAP. Period.

    Since an anouncement has been made the Barack and Hillary will have a meeting, what are the ups and downs of an endorsement coming after such a meeting?

    Before the meeting would look better. It would set a tone for the meeting in the minds of the public. Even if they don't agree during their meeting, they can come out of it smiling like they do.

    June 19, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. MLG


    June 19, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. Matt M.

    "When he wants to do something, he has a knack of doing it in a spectacular war."

    Don't trust your spell-check, Wolf.

    I think you meant Bill Clinton has a knack for doing things in a spectacular WAY.

    George W. Bush, when he wants to do something, has a knack for doing it in a spectacular WAR.

    June 19, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. bridgette

    He probably won't publicly. These people are not use to coming in second place so they are probably going through a lot mentally right now. I think he should, but, what do I know. And, if he does not I don't think it will change anything. It will be what it will be.

    June 19, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. HF from PA

    Andrew....keep dreaming

    June 19, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. bill in pa

    Hopefully never. Who needs the endorsement of an impeached president?

    June 19, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  16. Susan

    He will, and hopefully Hillary will be the vice president. She & Obama can pull all their supporters together and beat McCain 🙂

    June 19, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. Cindy in California

    He will in his own time, he is probably taking a much needed vacation.

    June 19, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. I AM NOW AN INDEPENDENT!*********


    June 19, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. James KY.

    Hopefully NEVER!

    June 19, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Yes.We.Can.

    EDIT!!! 'When he wants to do something, he has a knack of doing it in a spectacular WAY..not WAR ... feel free to hire me 🙂

    June 19, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. Alex M

    It's much better to have Bill Clinton on the good guys team than Bush!

    June 19, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. vic nashville,Tn

    I think Bill Clinton and his family are independents now, I am strong supporter of Hillary I won’t vote Obama
    Bill Clinton 2 term president for Democratic party it was the best 8years we had But DNC forget every thing and support Obama
    I will never forget how DNC treat Hillary
    I am independent Now I don’t want to see Bill Endorse Obama
    Hillary 08 or Mc Cain 08

    June 19, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. Joe from Houston

    How long did it take Al Gore to recover after his win of the popular vote and still loose the Presidency (2000). Well the Clintons won in the popular vote but still lost the nomianation. Democrats are upset at the republicans for this stunt but turn around and pull the same stunt against their own. The DNC should be ashame of them self. I hope Bill never comes around. I plan on staying home in November.

    June 19, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. Lisa CA

    It doesn't matter. Obama has already begun to show his true colors by backing out of public finance. the lies will keep coming no matter who endorses him. He won't win because he isn't about a new kind of politics, he's about hiding all the huge PAC and special interest donations in the middle of the internet cash flow. This is purely the old money laudering type of politics you can expect from a Chicago politician.

    June 19, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. Desiree

    Never I hope.

    June 19, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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