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. dpoo

    What the "H" is Bill doing or talking about or for these days? Oh wait maybe he's giving Palin those compliments because he's looking forward to replacing Monica L. OH MY God!!!!

    September 24, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  2. observer

    someone should tell Mr. Clinton this is not a beauty contest. Our country is in deep sh-t and we need qualified leaders. God! her voice alone sounds like some of the girls I met in my daughters cheerleading group.
    So silly.

    September 24, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  3. Phantom of the Oprah

    Bill is the best.

    Bill knows Obama sucks as the democratic nominee- so he does the best he can to support Obama- encourages voters to vote for the democratic ticket.

    He knows he can not in good faith encourage us democrats to vote for the charlatan at the top of the democratic ticket.

    Democrats all know that Obama is the WORST nominee we could put forth- that is why so many resort to nasty, hateful attacks- hoping to shame and humiliate people into voting for Obama by implying if they don't that they are racists.

    September 24, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. Dillia

    Sarah Palin and family are complete morons....She was the worst pick anyone could of come up with, from abusing her office, to no birth control in her home and sehe wants to run the country?? No thanks! Hillary was wayyyyyyyyy better than that and I never liked Hillary.. Bill you're a big phony,,you're not going to campaign at all, and that's ok too....The economy is going in the toilet, our allies are ganging up against us, we can't afford the war anymore and Bin Laden is going to bankrupt this country...Good luck with Palin, cause she is so 'gorgeous', maybe the soldiers and citizens can hold onto that , when they don't have a house or job!

    September 24, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  5. Anderson Dallas Texas Obama 08

    The Clinton sare still sour grapes .....they act as if they wait to wrecki there own party......come on American ....Obama/Biden 08

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

    FLORIDA IS VETERANS AND SENIOR CITIZENS AND JEWISH
    VOTERS WHO STILL SUPPORT JEB BUSH WHO DID WELL FOR FLORIDIANS. COUNT GOVERNOR CRIST IN THERE FOR MCCAIN AND THE GOP WILL TAKE FLORIDA . THERE ARE ALSO THE DISENFRANCHISED VOTERS WHO AT THE LAST MINUTE WERE
    "HANDED" OUT THEIR FULL VOTE.. AND THEN THERE WAS MICHIGAN TOO IN THE SAME BOAT . THE DNC AND H. DEAN
    CONDESCENDED TO HAND OUT THEIR RIGHTFUL VOTE AT THE LAST MINUTE.

    September 24, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  7. I respect Bill's fairness and decency

    If Bill Clinton fawned over the unqualified and dirty rotten politician, Obama, he would ruin his credibility.

    EVERYone knows Obama is a poor choice for the democratic ticket. We installed the half black man with no credentials hoping to make history and counting on the anti-republican sentiment to vote Obama in.

    Bill is being as supportive as he can be for a poor candidate such as the inexperienced and sleazy, cheating, lying Obama.

    Fortunately, Bill and Hill will not go so far as to deride and demean and belittle other candidates JUST to make a case for Obama.

    Obama is getting full support from the media and AAs to that end. But One can NOT force and threaten and insult and mock and demean and intimidate and humiliate people to get them to vote for a candidate they do NOT believe in.

    Obama has registered plenty of NEW democratic fans to vote for him in NOV. It is amazing that even so, this race remains so tight.

    Maybe it is because Obama is the WORST possible democratic nominee for the job.

    September 24, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  8. Brennan, Seattle WA

    Oh Bill. If anyone thinks that Bill Clinton is going to pull the lever for Obama in November they are crazy. Bill Clinton will vote for McCain.

    Hillary may be a different story who knows, but Bill doesn't want any Democrat to ever be elected to the office again because they may challenge his legacy. Bill Clinton is displaying a great deal of foolishness and has been doing so ever since Hillary started running. I consider his legacy greatly tarnished.

    September 24, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  9. McCain can care less about women

    Sarah, appealing. LIke the leader of Pakistan? Does Hillary know he found her appealing. Watch out Sarah. He'll have you under the table in a minute and then tell us...I DID NOT HAVE SEX WITH THAT WOMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!

    He get's why she is doing well. Stupid white women supporting her not knowing that their husband will gladly accompany them to her campaign events. Most men support her because she looks good to their second head. Stupid white women supporting Palin while she is being prostituted by McCain.

    September 24, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. Paula, Los Angeles CA

    Former president Clinton needs to be silenced AGAIN! He has never been the same since his surgery... He has become a very angry, vindictive individual! Everyone knows he is still 'bitter' and only supports our next president Barack Obama in words (and very few at that!)! He has praised McCain and Palin so much you'd think he switched parties!

    Hill and Bill.... closet repubs?!

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08!

    September 24, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  11. Gov Palin, WHY WON'T YOU SPEAK TO THE PRESS?

    BILL PLEASE STOP...TOO CLOSE TO ......

    September 24, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  12. Subhash Durlabhji

    Just you watch. The Clintons will swing into action when it counts, in the last two weeks before November 4. All part of a clever strategy from the Obama campaign. Independents and swing voters tend to decide at the end.

    September 24, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  13. Obama fever is - i mean WAS-all the rage now

    Too many Americans are self-rightous and judgmental towards others.
    Democrats have become hateful, insulting, sexist bigots- they belittle and mock others.

    They insult and ridicule and they put down those who they disagree with.

    This Obama-inspired vitriol and attacks on other Americans is the biggest reason NOT to vote for Obama.

    We will become a nation of haters and the uniter will agitate for more division and antipathy. Look at how ugly all the Obama supporters are acting.

    No one should be disrespected like Hillary and Sarah have been- by the loyal fanatics for Obama.

    Bill knows that Obama is not the man for the job- so the best he can do is encourage people to vote for Obama because he is the democrat. No other valid reason exists and Bill knows it.

    September 24, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  14. M. Weekes

    HE'S INSANE

    September 24, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  15. M. Weekes

    He's insane - i used to love him but now he realy needs to SIT DOWN - he was a horrible backer for his wife and now he's bad for Obama - O MY GAWD!!

    September 24, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  16. Doug in Renton, WA

    Why are you being so congenial Bill? Shouldn't you be supporting Barack a little more forcefully? Telling everyone how nice Sarah Palin is and how smart McCain is for picking her might actually help them. You are a smart man Bill, so I know that is not by accident. Could it be that you actually want McCain to win so that Hillary will have another chance in 4 years???

    September 24, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. Democrats....a party divided....I LOVE IT!!

    Off camera Bill Clinton said......" I'd love to stain her dress"

    You poor democrats and your pathetic politicians......

    John McCain and Sarah "Bill Clinton hit on me" Palin 2008

    September 24, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. Palin = Runner Up:

    This guy is such a sleaze and low-life. Face it bill clinton YOU will NEVER reside in the WH again. Get over it. Try all you might but it won't hurt Obama's campaign. The clinton's just can't be trusted. America is so much better off without them.

    September 24, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. politicojunk

    Coming from Bill, Ahem!

    September 24, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  20. Allan Jones

    Watch out Sarah! We all know what Bill Clinton tries to do with women he finds "appealing"!

    September 24, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  21. Rodger

    First he was our first "black" president, now he's Jewish?
    If Bill Clinton doesn't get his act together and be a strong Obama supporter, it will reflect on Hillary. He needs to be only half as helpful as Hillary's been. Congradulations to Hillary, Bill, get with the program!

    September 24, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. Amerika for Obama

    Bring back Hillary.

    Bill and Hill tell it like it is.

    I am tired of people forcing me to vote for Obama.

    I will vote as I see fit.

    Stop trashing others just to advance Obama.

    Bill is right. Enough already with smearing Palin and McCain. Has Obama no positive points to run on? Must he run only on trashing his opponents? Even those in his own party.

    September 24, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  23. Chardonnay

    BC is so full of it...now its after the holidays...yesterday it was after his global initiative! BS Bill stay at home if you dont want to do it!

    September 24, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  24. Martin

    Bill she acmited she inhaled, More balls the you

    September 24, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  25. Sick of the hatred in the democrats

    No Obama supporter can simply BE FOR Obama- they all must be ANTI everyone else.

    it does not matter who or what or where. Obama= great. Everyone else= evil.

    Such simplicity just installs dictators.

    Obama sucks. The Nation knows it. So the knock everyone else in order to make Obama look good.

    September 24, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
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