September 24th, 2008
04:40 PM ET
14 years ago

Bill Clinton: I'll campaign for Obama 'after the Jewish holidays'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Former Pres. Clinton weighs in on the White House race Wednesday night on Larry King Live."]
(CNN) - Bill Clinton praised Sarah Palin Wednesday, saying he found the Alaska governor an “appealing person” and her and her family “gutsy, spirited and real.”

“I think that she and her husband and their kids come across gutsy, spirited and real,” he said in an interview to be broadcast Wednesday night. “I have significant disagreements with her about any number of social and economic issues but I find her an appealing person and I think that it’s best to say that Senator McCain looks like he knew what he was doing. He picked somebody who gave him a lot of energy, a lot of support.”

Clinton said Palin’s selection also helped Barack Obama, because it brought more Democratic money and volunteers to his campaign.

Watch: Clinton on Obama, Palin

Watch Larry King’s full interview with Clinton after Pres. Bush's 9pm address

Clinton told reporters in New York Monday he knows why the Alaska governor is attracting massive crowds on the campaign trail.

"I come from Arkansas, I get why she's hot out there," Clinton told reporters in New York, according to the Associated Press. "Why she's doing well."

"People look at her, and they say, 'All those kids. Something that happens in everybody's family I'm glad she loves her daughter and she's not ashamed of her. Glad that girl's going around with her boyfriend. Glad they're going to get married,'" he said.

Referencing Palin's 5-month old child who has Down Syndrome, Clinton also said Monday that voters will think, "I like that little Down syndrome kid — one of them lives down the street, they're wonderful children.”

On Wednesday, the former president fired back at critics who’ve questioned his level of support for Obama, and have called on him to attack John McCain. “Well, if you look at the speech I gave in Denver and the speech Hillary gave, I think it would be hard to question the depth of our feeling and the fact that we gave good reasons for why we were supporting Senator Obama and Senator Biden,” he told King.

“….I think you can argue that [Hillary Clinton] has done more than all other runner-ups have in the Democratic Party in 40 years. We have been quite clear on this. We’re not party-wreckers, and we believe that the country needs to take a different course.

He also said some Democrats were so “enthralled, as all of our strongest supporters are, that they don’t think you’re for them unless you’re dumping on somebody else. I personally think that is not a good strategy to win this election,” he said. “That is, everybody wants Hillary or me or, for that matter, Senator Obama or Senator Biden just to say bad things about Senator McCain or Governor Palin. Those people are already for us.”

Clinton told King he would be hitting the campaign trail for Obama in Florida, to Ohio, to northeast Pennsylvania, and Nevada “at a minimum" in October, “after the Jewish holidays” are over.

"Are you kind of feeling Jewish that you're waiting until after the Jewish holidays?" asked King.
"No. But I think it would be - if we're trying to win in Florida, it may be that - you know, they think that because of who I am and where my political base has traditionally been, they may want me to go sort of hustle up what Lawton Chiles used to call the 'cracker vote' there.

"But Senator Obama also has a big stake in doing well in the Jewish community in Florida, where Hillary did very well and where I did very well. And I just think respecting the holidays is a good thing to do," he said.

soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. mimi

    Bill and Hillary Clinton aren't fooling anyone. Bill is interviewing everywhere, and nowhere has he been a convincing advocate for Obama. He says, "I think he's going to win," usually just before a commercial, but spends more time talking about how much he likes Sarah Palin. Hillary is out giving this soft support of "we have to have a democrat in the White House. If you suported me, please support Obama..."

    No one is asking them to do anything other than what they did through the primaries...FIGHT.

    If Obama wins, they will NOT get any credit for it. If he loses, they will certainly get some if not much of the blame.

    So sad.

    September 24, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  2. Lia

    Remember this: we want Hillary to be president after Obama, not Palin, That should be clear...
    The rest I want to say , you must know...

    September 24, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  3. Voter

    In case you all have forgotten, Bill Clinton is not running for president. And, p.s., Hillary is not on the ticket either.

    He is the former President of the United States. He can say anything he likes. Obama treatment of Bill Clinton was shameful, and Clinton owes Obama ZERO, NOTHING.

    Obama's treatment of Hillary clinton has been similarly shabby. She also owes Obama nothing. She has already done more for Obama than any losing candidate in American history. And she still campaigns for obama because she's a good Democrat and a gracious person.

    But Bill doesn't have to do anything. He has already done more for Americans as the two-term President than anyone else in the last 30 years!! And, you know, for some reason, he doesn't sit back for insults.

    September 24, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  4. jj

    Chris Rock was so Right of Dave L. show.

    September 24, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  5. me

    People have to realize that opposition are people respectful people too. They are not bad, evil or stupid because they do not belong to your paarty. It applies to all.
    Have a tolerance, respect for others, for other religions, parties. This is what freedom is about. One cannot dictate his/hers ideas, likings etc.
    Stop being so so nasty to the others. So far Obamistas are the most viscous attackers.

    September 24, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  6. Voted for Perot

    Unlike Bill, Obama doesn't need a Ross Perot to split the opposition ticket. It's so true what your campaign once said, and why Obama will win, "It's the economy stupid!"

    September 24, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  7. barackobama4prez


    September 24, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  8. The Fab One

    Another thing, since when was Bill Clinton EVER Jewish???

    September 24, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  9. atalyah

    I believe in giving every persn a chance but this lady Sarah Palin isjust not ready to be a leader when she speaks you should not listen to how it sounds but what she means by these inportant things in the election she can not down senator Obama because she doen't(in my opinion) have the right experience to become vice president. Even if she has meet finally a foreign leader that still does not change the fact that she contradicts herself for example when she was in church she said the war was from God but in an interview with Charles Gibson she said she doesnt know with the war is from God or if he approves for the war..... She isnt ready to lead any thing but more down fail thanks but no thanks Gov. Sarah Palin keep that unfinished bridge in Alsaka

    September 24, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  10. SteveJJ

    You have to love the fact that voters get to vote in private. I think Billy Boy is voting for Sarah...I mean McCain. You know he has a picture of Sarah posted over his bed.

    September 24, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  11. McChicken2008

    Oh Please! Get over it.

    September 24, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Everything that is being said about Bill Clintonn not eager to help Obama, is true. In my Opinion, he Clinton, feels he should still be President. Black folk need to pull his name from the Black Hall of Fame, cause he nothing but shame.

    In case people forget, he gave the same cold shoulders to Al-Gore, and seemed exceedingly happy when Gore didn't win the Presidency. Anyone who is slick enough to keep fooling so many people of how great he or she is, ought to be in love with his or herself.

    September 24, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  13. Eric

    If Obama loses the election, everyone will blame the Clintons. How foolish and unfair. Don't we remember how well we had it under the Clinton administration?

    If Obama loses the election, the people to blame will be Obama himself, along with the team that anointed him, Nancy (jealous of any other woman) Pelosi and Howard (do whatever Pelosi wants) Dean.

    September 24, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  14. Kim

    Doesn't Bill find every woman appealing? Seriously!

    September 24, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  15. Grandma for O

    Watching the interview and I've drawn a different conclusion than the previous posts.

    I believe Bill Clinton does want Obama to win and he is believable, particularly in his views on what the American people should think about and question themselves on when they go to vote.

    Thank you and good luck Bill and Hillary. Hillary I'll be voting for you in 2016, until then

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 24, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  16. Eric

    For that matter, why aren't Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean out on the campaign trail?

    Oh I forgot, Mrs. Pelosi was on vacation in August, and is now trying to "look tough" dealing with a "financial crisis" reminiscent of the good old WMD "urgency" leading up to the war in Iraq , and Howard Dean is...where? And where are all those other surrogates? Don't hear about them on the campaign trail Where's Caroline Kennedy? Oops, I guess she dropped the torch once her symbolic role was finished. Where's John Kerry? Where are all those other superior, I mean, super, delegates?

    So we focus on the Clintons, the only Democrats aside from the candidates themselves, willing to spend time on the campaign trail.

    President Clinton's remarks, it seems to me, were quite measured and subdued - anticipating and deflecting the inevitable sexist charges the Republican party will bring to any less than glowing coverage of Mrs. Palin (who is herself a sexist, since her religious beliefs insist that she cannot speak without permission of her husband (or husband surrogate) and his respect for the Jewsish holidays is commendable. I don;t remember Senator Obama or Senator Clinton campaigning on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

    September 24, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  17. Delores

    Bill Clinton does not owe ANY loyalty to Obama or the Democrats who pretty much did everything they could to screw over his wife and lie about him. I say let ego obama do it himself or go get John Edwards or love lips as his lover calls him.

    September 24, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  18. pop


    September 24, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  19. NY Red

    And the whining continues! If a former president is voicing concern over Obama by his actions and subcontext, a wise objective voter – like me – will see this for what it is. Only close minded partisans will lay blame on the man, instead of examining their own flawed expectations and opinions. An unexamined life is not worth living.

    September 25, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  20. SpaceCat

    Bill, if you expect Democrats to nominate Hillary in 2012 should the country be unfortunate enough to have McCain elected this year, you'd better start playing the good Democrat. Some of us have very long memories, and anything other than full-throated support for the Democratic candidate this year and absolute disdain for the GOP ticket is unacceptable. Grow up and stop thinking about yourself for once.

    September 25, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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