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. R

    I agree. This frustrate democrats so they go donate more money to Barack. No way, no how, no McCain/Palin

    September 24, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  2. Tom in Delaware

    Did I miss something, or did Bill Clinton just switch parties?!?

    September 24, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. Obama is the REAL Change

    Well if that's the case Bill, EVERYTHING the Republcians said about you in that Oval office GOT to be TRUE............I will never defend your lies and cheating ways again!!!!

    Obama you can do BAD by yourself......Bill is AGAINST you WINNING!!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    September 24, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  4. Betty

    Oh my !!

    I can't believe the things Bill said. "I like that little Down syndrome kid — one of them lives down the street, they're wonderful children."

    He and McCain should just retire to a remote island somewhere.

    September 24, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. Steve - Philadelphia

    Why doesn't he start now ????? The VAST majority of people voting aren't Jewish. They don't have enough of an effect on the ultimate count to worry about anyway so this sounds like more foot dragging by Bill to try to help out HRC for her next bid. I'm extremely disappointed in the Clinton's support for Obama to date.

    September 24, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  6. Tiffany

    He sure doesn't seem to have trouble fitting in the talk show appearances.

    September 24, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  7. Oblio

    Thanks, Bill! News flash for you and other Clinton supporters voting for McCain because they want Obama to lose so they can vote for Clinton in 2012: If Obama doesn't get elected this time around then part of the blame belongs to Hillary Clinton and neither Obama nor Clinton will be on the 2012 ticket.

    September 24, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  8. REPUBLICANS SUCK!!

    MCCAIN'S CHOICE HELPED OBAMA TREMENDOUSLY!! THEY HAVE RAISED LARGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY. THE OLD MAN IS GETTING SCARED BECAUSE HE DOES NOT HAVE THE INTELLECT TO DEBATE BARACK!!!! HAHA

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08

    September 24, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  9. Tom

    President Clinton is the best. It was never said he played dirty politics except from Obama and his surrogates. Obama should learn from him and Hillary. I wish we could have him or Hillary and great times of the l990's (for most Americans) again. His foundation is saving millions of lives all around the world. His foundation does not look at race. Obama should be ashamed. Obama won't even go do his job in Washington during our crisis. And he wants to be President. First crisis in his administration – he will probably go on vacation.

    September 24, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. onelove

    "WASHINGTON – First lady Laura Bush says Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin lacks sufficient foreign policy experience but is a very quick study."

    Bill, if Laura Bush can say this so can you.

    September 24, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  11. Fed Up with Slick Willy

    Slime, Slime, Slime.... I can't wait till November when this horrible person will finally be purged from the Democrat party!

    September 24, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  12. GOD BLESS AMERICA

    Just try harder Mr president,we are countin on you to keep your promise of going everything to help elect OBAMA our next president.Godd health and Long life Mr president.God Bless America,God bless President OBAMA

    September 24, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  13. Phil in KC

    OK – I'm confused. Whose side is he on??
    I wouldn't mind if he said that she seems like a nice person. No harm there. And appreciate that he said he had differences of opinion. But to say McCain made a good choice and to compliment as he has is no help to the Democratic party.

    September 24, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. Life long democrat against demonizing

    That is why Bill and Hill are the best.

    They do not confuse politics with the personal.

    They do not hate others like Obama and all his supporters do.

    Sarah Palin is a great Republican politician- she is a lousy democratic politician.

    But as a person- she is awesome and inspiring.

    September 24, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. pat

    The pompous obama cult will be unable to decipher what Bill Clinton is discussing. They will see it as an attack on the great BO – messiah of their time. Rather, it's HUMAN and REAL comments from Mr. Clinton. Yes, she is personable. And also what Bill Clinton said was that she differs on many social and political opinions of himself and his party. Unfortunately the O-Kids and of course, BO will find it as an attack and resort to their petty school yard mentality of belittlling Palin and now Mr. Clinton. Grow up you idiotic Obama Cult – it is possible to say positive things about your opponent and still STRONGLY disagree.

    September 24, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. BlogBully

    First it was "after my Clinton Foundation work". Now it is "after the Jewish Holidays" .... wait for the "After the we have got through the economic crisis!" Plausible, Procrastination, Political or Poor Form? Hmmmm .....

    September 24, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. Rusty from Charlotte

    This man is appallingly straddling the fence. What’s more, it appears that neither he nor I have any ideal what’s he talking about. Equally important, is he Democrat, is he Republican or has he suffered a nervous breakdown? Despite all of this, one thing is extremely evident, Bill Clinton is a scandalous cutthroat.

    September 24, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  18. Carlisle Barracks Soldier

    Bill, stop being crunchy about your wife not winning and help the DEMS get elected. You have permanently lost the support of alot of African Americans as well as other Dems, shame on you. I guess Monica took a little more than just your juice lmao.

    September 24, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  19. Dems are stuck in the fix they rigged

    I agree.

    Attack Palin on her policies- but these personal attacks just turn more democrats off to the democratic ticket.

    That is what is so great about Hillary and Bill Clinton. Neither of them engage in insulting filthy and foul attacks on their opponents.

    They are both gracious enough to give credit where credit is due.

    The media is helping Obama to trash and demonize a great Republican politician- not on her positions- but on lies about her personal and family life.

    Not a good move- although it is the usual MO for Obama.

    September 24, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  20. California Gold

    “Are you kind of feeling Jewish that you’re waiting until after the Jewish holidays?” asked King.

    I really despise Larry King. These kind of stupid questions are part of the reason why I can't stand more than 5 minutes of his program. Yes I know he is Jewish, and that fact alone makes this sort of question even more disgusting.

    Clinton should have responded with, "Tell me what I should be feeling to know if I'm REALLY feeling Jewish?"

    What a stupid old idiot.

    September 24, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  21. Erika, KS

    Bill,
    I love you and Hillary, but you two need to stop campaigning for this fool.

    This is Obama's election to win or lose. It is quite pathetic that he leans so heavily on you, especially after the way he treated you. And furthermore, the fact that the junior senator has the arrogance to think, or at best try to dupe the public into believing he is the best qualified to do the job is an insult to my intelligence.

    I don't want a rookie to operate on me, and we don't need a rookie to attempt to fix Bush's mess. This is not the hour for on the job training.

    September 24, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. marianna

    Yeah, I'll campaign for Obama after hell freezes over.

    September 24, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. Good for Bill

    If Obama keeps up the relentless personal attacks and insults against fellow Americans he is sure to lose the election this Nov.

    I am a democrat that is sick and tired of the way Obama and his campaign keep maligning others who they disagree with and the way they denigrate and deride anyone who does not vote for Obama.

    Obama loses more votes than he gains by being vitriolic and divisive.

    September 24, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  24. for Obama

    Okay so this helps Obama , How?

    Come on Billy ....get over it ...Hillary lost , now you need to get out there and sing his praises not Palin or MCCain...

    Clinton is just staying too neutral to be of much help!

    September 24, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  25. Sarah

    You are one of the best Presidents in US history as far as I know.

    September 24, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
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