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. Scott Tucson

    When did the Clintons became Jewish?? As for Obama, I wonder if he's observing Ramadan?

    September 24, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. margie(alabama)

    i no longer trust bill clinton he is not looking at sarah palin as a candidate he is looking at her as a pretty woman

    September 24, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  3. Larry B.

    Pill and Sarah got together, shared a cigar, abd now he is a big admirer of "that woman."

    September 24, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  4. Matt.G

    If Bill Clinton is Campaining for Obama then this election should be Obama's in a Heartbeat. Bill Clinton is a Wise Politian he will be very much needed.

    September 24, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  5. Jazzi

    Forget Bill... Obama has made it without his help!!! Bill does not want Obama to win. He doesn't care about the American people, he is only thinking of himself and Hillary!!!

    Obama/ Biden '08 and '12 all the way!!!!

    September 24, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  6. redhead from Toronto

    Bill...Oh Bill... What happened to you, did you forget which party you support? Tell Hillary 2012 is HER YEAR. Go Obama/Biden 2008, GO Clinton and whoever she wants 2012

    September 24, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  7. Anthony Filer

    Boy do I feel like an idiot! I have been one of Bill Clinton's biggest supporters during and afer his presidency. I have spent 8 years defending him against personal and political attacks concerning his presidency and his legacy as President of the United States. Has he forgotten the vicious way that the Republican party and their propaganda machine treated him, Hillary and Chelsea? Now, I feel like I am being personally betrayed!!! Bill, if you don't want to campaign for Barack Obama; dont! But, at least stop campaigning for McCain and Palin.

    Anthony Filer – Long Beach, Califonria

    September 24, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. FreeNLovIt

    I know what a WITCHY move. If I was pregant, my mom would have shot me death for being a disgrace. Well, let me put it this way, God does not approve of it. It's sad that she's a terrible role model for teenage girls.

    September 24, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  9. ChrisD

    Dear redhead (are you sure your not blonde?)
    If Obama wins this election how is Hillary going to run in 2012? Against Obama? I don't think so. Stick to your Canadian politics.

    From: Former Democrat

    Go McCain/Palin 2008 then
    Hillary 2012

    September 24, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  10. EPCam

    Oh come on Bill; you know that you are not an enthusiastic supporter of Senator Obama; it is so very obvious that it an extreme struggle for you to even call his name. It would really be GREAT if you would show a little enthusiasm; too bad, you can't. I suggest that you think about Hillary's political future.

    September 24, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  11. Please make it stop

    When did the Clintons become Jewish?

    September 24, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  12. Stephen from Texas

    As a former Clinton supporter, both Bill and Hill, all I can say is, don't bother Bill, we don't need you.

    September 24, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  13. WakeUp America

    Bill....ok now I'm really confused. What exactly are your motives?

    September 24, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  14. Nia Hussein- Phoenix, AZ

    Bubba get your egotistical head out of your rear end!! everytime someone asks him its something else...I'll help him after this or that...either your going to do it or your not! So far he has not been helping at all.

    September 24, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  15. huh ?

    Bill Clinton is Jewish ? I'm confused now. In any event , whatever. Obama does not need Bill Clinton to win the nomination.

    September 24, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  16. mr.truth

    either come out for oboma, or go do your charity work. just remember, black america is watching. what kind of support should we give hillary in four years?

    September 24, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  17. virginiamom

    I used to be a HUGE supporter of the Clinton's, even during the Monica mess, but I'm so dissapointed in them now. If Obama loses, I'll hold them responsible for a large part of the loss. I would refuse, also, to support them in the next election, if what they have in mind is to try again in 2012. They are not democrats anymore...only surrogates of the republican party.

    September 24, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  18. Dee Anna Roberts

    Bill Clinton will have an excuse not to campaign for Barack Obama all the way up till November 4th. Then, he'll be like "I'm ready to campaign wherever he needs me" and bite his lip.

    LOL

    September 24, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  19. Deb

    Clinton needs to stay on cue and focus on Obama given the fact that he is a womanizer. We don't want to hear about Palin, we want to hear and focus on Obama. GET IT CLINTON!!!

    September 24, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. Brock Landers

    GOSH BILL I DIDNT KNOW YOU WERE SUCH A MENSCH.....

    September 24, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  21. BJGT

    Bill Clinton does not want anyone to be the next president except Bill Clinton. He is not supporting Obama because Obama is not Bill Clinton. Just as he frequently pulled the rug out from under Hillary when she was running in the primary, he cannot be trusted. His ego needs him to be president and no one else.

    September 24, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  22. The Truth

    Billy Boy is still in mourning after the family lost the nomination.

    How sad, because he seems not to care that we are about to lose the Nation
    To the Republikins lying machine; again.

    September 24, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  23. marty from Indiana

    She is a mile across and one inch deep. She is as shallow a leader as one can get. There is no intellectual substance to her. It that the kind of leadership we want. Personally, I want a leader who is brilliant... not a pitbull in a china shop.

    September 24, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  24. Bruce

    Only 5 comments on this subject? Hmmm...looks like the Democrats apaprently agree with him since only 5 people are posting a commnet. Democrats know by now that Palin is the best thing that ever happened to this country. They're just running scared as usual.

    September 24, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  25. NOSS

    He knows Obama is a charlatan. If BHO is elected as POTUS, the world will soon know it, too.

    September 24, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
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