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. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    Okay, I have to say it: "With friends like HIM (or rather THEM, Bill and Hill)", Obama needs no enemies. TALK about walking the line and being a politician rather than a campaigner. The fact that he thinks Palin is "appealing" we know that Bill likes the girls, they don't even have to be pretty, so the fact that Sarah looks okay, well, we'll give that over to testosterone, Bill. HOWEVER, waiting to campaign until AFTER the JEWISH holidays? What a stretch to get out of doing anything of significance at any chance he can take! I dare say there are voters of other religious persuasions to whom he might appeal as a campaigner for Sen. Obama. They are so bitter, the both Bill and Hillary. The fact that each gave a speech at the Convention is fine, but one speech does not an enthusiastic endorsement make!
    OBAMA/BIDEN '08 & '12 YES WE CAN (and without the Clintons, thank you!)

    September 24, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  2. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Looking forward to the interview on Larry sgould be as gutsy, spirited and real!

    September 24, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    September 24th, 2008 6:30 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Looking forward to the interview on Larry King…it should be as gutsy, spirited and real!

    September 24, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  4. catawungus

    Clinton is supporting??? Whom?

    With support like that... as the saying goes.

    September 24, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. Mike in NYC

    Now, now, Bill, let's not reinforce that old canard about disproportionate Jewish power...

    September 24, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  6. FL4OB

    Thank you, President Clinton!

    Looking forward to seeing you in Florida.

    Let's do this together!
    Obama/Biden '08

    September 24, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  7. AP


    September 24, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  8. wiser

    Thank you to my favorite president! I wish President Clinton, Senator Clinton, and Chelsea a sweet new year filled with peace!

    They are a truly great American family!

    September 24, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |

    Bill after the termoil that came about in the White House when you were president, I don't think that it is wise for you to be commenting on another women's beauty other than your wife!!!

    September 24, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  10. nelda

    What?? Bill Clinton needs to be out there campaigning for Obama. I do not believe he would be "waiting after the Jewish holidays" if Hillary was the nominee.

    Come on, Bill!

    September 24, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. marie

    why would Bill Clinton campaign for this man. Obama labeled him a racist in front of the whole world. It was an outrageous lie, and now he expects Clinton to campaign for him. My question, Mr Obama, if Bill Clinton is such a racist, why do you want him supporting you, or is it that you will say or do anything to win. What a disgusting person you are! Don't campaign for him Mr. Clinton, tell him to take his racism comments and stick it!

    September 24, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. Louis

    Get a clue Bill–you had some success as President, but you've shot your legacy to crap. Too bad, so sad. Obama will win without you and you'll be shut out of the action.

    September 24, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  13. This is funny


    September 24, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  14. Thanks, but no thanks

    Many people in the Jewish community are not happy with the anti-Semitic preachings by Palin's pastor.

    September 24, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  15. 1LT. Ron

    I sure hoped that Bill would get on board, but it looks as if he will not.... No matter though, obama is doing fine without his "lukewarm" support.

    September 24, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  16. high school student making a difference

    I love this guy lol.

    And I have much respect for both he and Hillary.

    PUMAs need to follow suit. You aren't punishing Obama or the DNC, you're punishing yourself and your country by voting for McCain-Palin. You're the victims of a cleverly orchestrated political ploy.

    BOJO 08

    September 24, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  17. Moe, NY

    President Clinton: To quote Senator Hillary Clinton..."NO McCain, NO Palin..NO WAY...NO HOW." She has it right!

    September 24, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  18. JCB

    Well, Bill should stick to his schedule, and he is respecting the Jewish faith. Also, he is now spending time to raise money for hurrican disaster victims again along with George Bush. You can only do so much at one time - give him a break! Why does the press spend all their time trying to tear down Bill and Hillary. They are working hard for the American people, and thweir are more people in need right now than Obama. After all, Obama can just call on his pal Oprah. She got him the nomination - now she can campaign for him. Oops! I guess she works too!

    September 24, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  19. Ken Boyd

    Bill country need Clintons in different economics time like this

    September 24, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. NH Mom

    I love Bill Clinton. I wish I could vote for him again.

    September 24, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  21. Barney

    And I'll vote for you wife when pigs with lipstick fly. You are irrelevant, Bill. Use any excuse you want – you are still pouting because you can't be co-president for your third term.

    September 24, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  22. MoreOfTheSame

    Bill you can tell that your heart just isn't in it.

    September 24, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  23. Ron was a REP now a DEM

    Thank you again Mr. President

    September 24, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  24. smokesignals

    Obama will win regardless of Bill's obvious problem with supporting his own party. Sore loser.

    September 24, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  25. Former Alaskan - Current Texan

    Bill- quit being so "diplomatic"– go ahead and the world "She's dumb as a stump". It's not like you're up for election or anything, so you've got nothing to lose. The Republicans already hate you, and the Democrats will love you for finally saying what we're all thinking.

    September 24, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
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