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. Gov Palin, WHY WON'T YOU SPEAK TO THE PRESS?

    WE LOVE YA BILL, BUT STOP THE PALIN COMMENTS...TOO RISKY, GET IT?

    AND GET OVER THE PRIMARIES. LET THE CHANGE OF THE GUARD HAPPEN

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

    Bill, I am beginning to think that you have a bag of tricks up your sleeve and just think we was beginning to forgive you. I guess the label 'Slick Willie" is appropriate. It appears as though you want McCain/Palin to win, because they would be easier to defaet in 2012 for Hillary's run. Shame on You

    September 24, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. Emma

    I am sick of Clinton's excuses! He is a liar and he has not gotten over his racist remarks. Yes I said it, he made racist remarks during the primary.

    He has had every excuse not to work for Obama and now Senator Obama is up 9 points. Who needs Clinton? I always felt he was and is overrated and he carries that smirk (laugh) on his face. He just loves being in the public limelight. It has nothing to do with Senator Obama but everything to do with Bill Clinton.

    September 24, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. We love Sarah

    Et tu Bill!

    September 24, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. Ex-Republican for Obama

    Obama: Let's solve the crisis and have a debate on the same day

    McCain: No way, I can't multi task...my brain hurts...ouch. I'm too old to do all that stuff in one day...its rough on me and my feeble mind. Please, don't make me debate, I can't handle it.

    McCain, too retarded to multi-task, too retarded to be president.

    September 24, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. pro-choice wins

    Bill is committed to helping Barack win because he doesn't want the good Clinton legacy further ruined by another Republican president.

    September 24, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  7. TyWebb

    Whatever, Bill.

    September 24, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. gpenn FL

    PRESIDENT CLINTON MOVES IN HIS OWN WAY AND AT HIS OWN PACE. HE IS RIGHT ABOUT NOT ATTACKING, BECAUSE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE FOR THAT ARE GOING TO VOTE FOR OBAMA ANYWAY. WE HAVE TO DRAW THE INDEPENDENTS AND MODERATE REPUBLICANS AND THEY DON'T WANT TO HEAR ATTACKS. THEY WANT MEAT AND POTATOS.

    September 24, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. mm

    obama doesn't need you old boy

    September 24, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  10. Sebastian

    He wants to bone Sarah ... you can tell.

    Too bad she's not a heady person ... pun intended.

    September 24, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  11. m.e.

    Please shut up, Bill. If Obama loses, HRC will run again in four years, so I doubt Bill really cares if his statements help McCain. The question is: where would McCain lead us? And if Palin (heaven forbid) became president, where would her instincts lead us? She's clearly combative and vindictive, believes in hiring her unqualified high school buddies for government jobs and has the same mindset as Bush.

    September 24, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. We love Sarah

    Is this a democrat??

    There gose the last bit of respect I had for this clown!

    September 24, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. Kate

    Do I really even need to say it??? Everyone knows why Bill likes Palin.

    September 24, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  14. the other jd

    I am glad that Clinton is respecting the holidays. Hopefully he will squeeze some time in between RH and YK, and not wait until after YK.

    September 24, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  15. mayah

    GO BILL, I KNOW YOU WILL.

    September 24, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. Jason

    Obama tells his supporters to "get in their faces" if they don't agree with you or want to vote for him.

    September 24, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  17. Beth

    Wow, this is perhaps the most blatant attempt I've seen on the part of the Clintons.

    Bill – here's the thing – saying all these great things won't gain you any points with Palin. She, unlike you, is a faithful spouse.

    September 24, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  18. KATHLEEN

    I am happy that Bill is all for Obama. I think that he is too "wrapped"
    up in Palin. I guess it is a man's natural instinct. But, really, this is
    about the 95% of America-Our lives. We don't care what Bill thinks
    of Palin. It is not the issue that Bill should be talking to the Media (so
    much about). Your very honest opinion, yes. But not so much on Palin!

    We, Democrats get mad because we need Bill and Hillary, NOW.
    Not when Bill gets Palin out of his head. Hillary has been a true
    hero of all of the Democrats, her supporters who supported Obama,
    and Obama's supporters. God knows, I must admit we need Bill
    Clinton NOW. We can't just sit back and not be upset when he appears on the view and says nothing nice about Obama. This
    was NATIONAL T.V. Not just a few people at a Rally. We depend
    on the Clinton's! We, haven't seen you lately and when you got on
    the View, you said nothing to sustain us. The Democrats must win this election, Bill!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I was one that was disappointed with Bill's statements on the View.
    Not so much about Palin. Sure, talk about Palin if you want to, but
    it was too much about Palin and we kept waiting for Bill to finally
    come out for Obama, and he really did not.

    Bill Clinton, your party needs every bit of your attention at this time.
    We are not rich. We are waiting for some hope and your appearance
    on the View did not offer hope to the American People. What you
    say and do at this time, affects us and our children's future. I guess
    the appearance on the View was not take seriously by you or you
    were not aware that "the people" that need you were wishing and
    hoping for more to help the Democrats win the race.

    You have a friend in McCain. Nothing wrong with
    being a friend but that is not what your party wanted to hear that day.
    Basically unecessary!
    We are fearful that if McCain wins, our country will falter, which has
    already gone down as far as I want to see it go. You need to realize
    your importance in every word you speak, at this time. We have our
    Soldiers, and we want you to be real, real serious about this campaign. It might be hard for you, but you have to do it. Not for you,
    for us.

    September 24, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  19. SamSunny

    Wow, Bill's having a hard time not being King of the Hill anymore. I wonder why he can't see this makes him appear to be the small envious person.......and gives people pause as to who he use to be.

    September 24, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  20. SONGBIRD MCCAIN

    Get in line Bill after the Pres of Pakistan. Maybe that is why the First Dud is always hanging around...

    September 24, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  21. Annette

    What happens next?? Then it will be After Halloween??? By then it will be election day and it won't matter any more. Just stay home Bill, Obama seems to be doing ok without you. But please keep your big mouth shut. You keep praising Palin and McCain and someone might get the idea you are trying to help them instead... oh wait...I did hear that the other day didn't I...

    September 24, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  22. MikeH

    Oy Vey.

    Slick Willy at his finest.

    He was good on the Daily Show last night talking to Jon Stewart, although I noticed he seemed to have hand tremors.

    As smooth as they come....

    September 24, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  23. Tiffany

    If this is support please go support the other team.

    These are the types of things that let us know how far America has NOT come. I am soooo sick of this type of double talk.

    If you didn't come to play for YOUR TEAM, the don't suit up!!!

    September 24, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  24. Frantz from Atlanta

    Why can't Bill just say that she is hot and he would like some quality time with her.

    September 24, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  25. lol

    bill clinton is being honest. gov. palin relates to hillary's core base. the sexist dnc and obama camp could have picked the WOMAN with over 18 million votes, and this election would have been over. obama picked the MAN with a few thousand votes, bad judgement, lack of experience, empty suit.

    September 24, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
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