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= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/24/art.billlkl0924.cnn.jpg 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. Debby

    Go Bill you are still number one and I be you would be on your way to Washington like Sen. McCain if you were the nominee to help the Am. people with this bailout.

    September 24, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Longtime Democrat voting for McCain

    Obama is a cry baby. WAAAA WAAAA thats not fair. I studied all week for this debate. I know exactly what I am going to say in case they do not let my telepromper in....

    What am I going to do now? You mean I might actually have to vote on an issue instead of voting present.? Oh NO!!!!!!!!!!!

    GO McCain

    September 24, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. N.S of Huntsville, Al

    " who cares"

    September 24, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. Jeff, SD

    Don't bother, stay home. We don't need you. If the tables had been turned and Barack had waited this late to support Hillary, the Dems would have been up in arms.

    I think jealousy is so disgusting and low. The Clintons are selfish to the end. Anything that they have done so far has been for Hillary's 2012 campaign. I even think some of the B. Streisand money from her concert went to pay Hillary's debt. Bill was on the David Letterman show and all he talked about was Hillary, Hillary, Hillary. Give me a break.

    Moving on...

    September 24, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. Rick

    lol...slick Willy.....just keeps getting greasier.

    September 24, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  6. Selfish Billy Clinton

    Why not wait and campaign for him after Halloween? Let's see Halloween is on October 31st and the election is on November 4th. That sounds about right, three days of campaigning for the most selfish man on the planet. He and Hillary make a great pair–selfish to the end.

    What jerks.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 24, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. JT

    Wow.

    When will Clinton stop complimenting McCain and Palin?

    Snap out of it Bill.

    September 24, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. Shari, NY

    Bill, you may disagree with her policies but you ADMIRE her and her hubby. Don't bother waiting 'til after the Jewish holidays to hit the trail; the Obama camp has not had your full support and still it is doing relatively well thank you!

    September 24, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. Michael

    She comes across as "Real"? Are you serious? Hey Bill you have been drinking wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy to much Palin flavored Kool-Aid!

    September 24, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. mmd

    Bill is an idiot. He seems taken with yet another p name. Pfor palin and Pfor paula. Both from the backwoods and dark. Although palin in better looking. that not to say paula is not smarter.

    Bill you dont have to say negative things about the other side, but you should not act like you are in the can for them.

    I am convinced that you have lost what every you once had, stay away.

    Aksim, Hill had better keep two eyes on you are the p

    September 24, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. No Hillary = No Obama

    Bill and Hillary Clinton – the Democratic Party Gofers – Bill and Hill – the party and Obama need you more then you need them. I'd wait for next year's Jewish Holidays, Bill – tell them you have more important things to do then to help someone like Obama who turned his back on Hillary as soon as he got the chance.

    September 24, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. obama

    Go Bill Tell this people that mccain is a fraud and liar. amaerican people should open their eyes to see whats going on now and we all pay rent and all this job losses is heading us to homeless shelters

    September 24, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. GARY

    KEEP DOING WHAT YOUR DOING BILL. DONT WORRY ABOUT O.B. HIS FOLLOWERS ARE ALL NAIVE HATERS. MCCAIN IS SHOWNIG COUNTRY FIRST ON ECONOMY .O.B. PUTS HIS CAMPAIGN FIRST. SHOWS WHO REALLY IS A LEADER.OBAMA IS ALL TALK NO ACTION. WHEN IS AMERICA GOING TO REALIZE .HE DID THE SAME THING WHEN KATRINA WANTED HIM THERE EARLIER IN THE RACE. HRC WENT ,BUT HE KEPT CAMPAIGNING. OBAMA IS JUST INTO MAKING HISTORY BEING FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT. HE CARES SO MUCH FOR US HE WONT GO TO WASHINGTON AND VOTE ON THIS ECONOMY ISSUE. HE JUST WANTS TO TALK ABOUT AND MAKE STATEMENTS. THATS NOT ENOUGH TO LEAD A COUNTRY.

    September 24, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. Keith

    Yeah, he's too busy enjoying the Jewish holidays with Lieberman.

    September 24, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. Lesley

    Well this juror is still out on Prez Bill but I'm willing to wait and see this interview on tv and Clinton's campaign activities on behalf of Obama. He has a strategy about how to approach it and what not to do. I'm willing to believe he has a valid point.

    September 24, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. John

    GET OVER IT BILL YOUR WIFE LOST YES SHE LOST.

    September 24, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  17. ML

    Good ol' Bill. Never met a good looking woman he did'nt like. Blah. Blah. Blah.

    September 24, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  18. bert

    McCain is runing from the debate and they are trying to keep Palin out of the spot light!!!!!!! P.O.T.U.S. is something that is too serious to put on hold. MCCAIN IS CRAZY AND THIS IS A PLOY TO KEEP HIS FALLING NUMBERS FROM FALLING MORE. SUSPENDING HIS CAMPAIGN WILL NOT MAKE THE 700B PLAN GO ANY SMOOTHER. HE HAS ONE VOTE AS A SENATOR BUT THE PRESINDENT HAS A LOUDER VOICE. Obama needs to keep the pressure on the slick GOP. They are hiding Palin and now they want to hide McCain. The GOP are weak and they are trying to pull a fast one. ELECTING A PRESIDENT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN A MERE 700 BILLION DOLLARS. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY THIS NATION MAKES AND IS CAPABLE OF MAKING? VOTE FOR OBAMA 08 AND 2012.

    September 24, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. White Mother for Obama!!

    I see Obama has made him be nice and yet against issues LOL

    I didnt think anyone could break Clinton!!

    September 24, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  20. Rob indetroit

    Please ignore this Garbage.

    September 24, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  21. Julie-Washington State

    I think he is praising the Republican running mates way more than his own party. I do agree with him that with the majority of Florida being Jewish and because of the Holiday it would seem appropriate not to campaign.
    If Bill is thinking of Hillary in 2002 he needs to be careful how high he praises Sarah Palin and her family. Sarah may be the one running against Hillary if that is the case.

    September 24, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  22. Susan

    Watch it Bill. Sometimes it's better to have your advisor to remind you where you stand. Or just tell us out flat so we can deal with you instead of playing with our minds trying to read between the lines on what you REALY are saying. Watch it Mr. President!

    September 24, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  23. Sarah does Clinton

    He is campaigning for a "piece" of Palin.

    Waytogo PIMP Prez

    But seriously we need a REAL leader...
    Obama

    September 24, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. ken

    mr. president, i know that you have to be very disapointed in the actions of the last 8 years, to see all that you have done for this country go down the drain , the fact that this country was in such great shape , we had a great surplus , everyone was working , everyone loved us , and now we are about to go under, trillions owed. and we are one of the most disliked country, thye thing they had against you where so pettie as to all of the laws broken by this adminastration. ken

    September 24, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  25. David

    Just stalling to support Obama. If he truly supported Obama you would not give the repubs talking points. Imagine him at a rally and he starts saying these kindds of things. Total disaster. I think this guy is not over Hillary losing and really doesn't like Obama.

    September 24, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
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