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. Tom

    Don't do it Bill – let Obama dig his own hole. Wait 4 years and campaign for Hillary again – we'll all still be here.

    September 24, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  2. Scott L

    CONGRESS IN RECESS SEPTEMBER 26

    VOTE ON ECONOMY PACKAGE: 99-0-1

    1 ABSENTEE – BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA.

    DUH!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  3. Peter (CA)

    Bill was pretty enthusiastic last night on the Daily Show.

    Said how important this election is going to be. Said Obama was going to win.

    But, since when is he Jewish?

    September 24, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  4. T'SAH from Virginia

    HILLARY's plan is to turn REPUBLICAN and run in 2012 against Obama!!! She might even pick PA'IN as her running mate... IF McSAME wins in 2008 (which he is not) ... he is going to run only ONE term... Therefore, that puts Hillary, again, the chance to run for president!!!

    TO ME – they are not doing enough for Obama. TO ME – the praises for PA'IN and McSAME are a little too much. TO ME – the stage is being set at Obama's expense. TO ME – we do not NEED them and they will NEVER get my vote in the future!!!

    OBADEN 2008-2016 – YES WE CAN do this without THEM!!!

    September 24, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  5. Va. Boomer

    Bill Off Camera:
    Hey does anyone have her cell number?
    There is something I have to tell her...., about the lincoln bedroom..., in private.
    Hillary still in new york right? Tell the secret service I'm taking the limo out alone tonight, and hold my calls. "oh yeah..., tell that new pakistani president..., get in line buddy, billy boy is back in the game!"

    September 24, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  6. georgia

    tsk tsk
    the green eyed monster rises again..but it's ok,Bill.

    September 24, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. Mary

    President Clinton,

    I was raised in the South and down here we have a saying: If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything–Please, take those words to heart and not just for Sen. Obama, but for youself as well.

    I get that you and your wife are hoping that Obama is not elected and that Hillary can run again in 2012, but be mindful of this fact–Democrats are not stupid and we are well aware of what you are trying to do and you will need us in 2012 as well.

    My advice to you is to campaign as hard as you can for Obama and if he is not elected, then all Democrats will know that you and Hillary did all that you could possible do for Sen. Obama and it simply was not to be.

    "Strong HRC supporter, now fully behind Obama"

    September 24, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  8. Deborah Black

    Bill Clinton is doing damage to himself, to Hillary, and to all democrats. I loved Bill Clinton and Hilary, but I will never vote for either of them again. They are sore loosers. Thomas Jefferson said that the test of a democracy's ability to survive is if the people can accept loosing by 1 vote. I am so disappointed in them that I almost regret supporting them so much in the past.

    September 24, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  9. Bozo Bubba

    Do it!!! PLEASE DO IT. Do it now. Nothing would hurt Obama more than for you to be out there campaigning for him. Go everywhere! Get out there and DO IT NOW!

    September 24, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  10. Marie

    CNN doesn't want anyone to remind people that Obama said Bill Clinton is a racist. Why does Obama want Clinton to campaign for him. Is he condoning racism, or is he admitting that he will do or say anything to get elected.

    September 24, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. CM

    Its not a bad tactic from Bill.

    Emphasize with the other side that is leaning but then make the case why they shouldn't be swayed by whats on the outside when it comes to Palin.

    September 24, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. Manuel TX

    The Obama supporters continue to insult Bill Clinton.

    You guys never learn.

    If I were in his position, I would tell the Obama campaign to take a hike.

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    September 24, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  13. SAT

    As one who voted for Bill Clinton both times in the past, I don't know what to make of him these days. I agree that he is undermining Senator Obama. He did the same thing to Hillary during the primaries.

    Also, I think he misses being in the limelight. Senator Obama is the focus of the DNC these days. That probably bugs him.

    At this point, it might be better not to utilize his services at all. There is no telling what he might say.

    He should definitely watch what he says about Senator Obama. Just as Hillary had 18 milllion votes supporting her, Senator Obama had the same amount support him if not more now. The Clintons own political future is at stake. There is no way Hillary can get elected without the majority of Senator Obama's supporters backing her. Both Clintons would be wise to keep that in mind.

    September 24, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  14. J Boyd NYC

    Listen, yeah, she's pretty, Bill. Now look back up at her face and start campaigning for your own party, please.

    September 24, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  15. Ron

    Me thinks Mr Clinton is secretly campaigning for McCain and Palin.

    September 24, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  16. janet, ohio

    Don't you people understand? Bill has the hots for Sarah! Is anyone really surprised?

    September 24, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    bill you need to change your name to benedick arnold, traitor!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  18. John--Topock, AZ

    Slick Willie makes me want to gag. Wonder if he will be talking like that in support of Hillary in four years when she is running in the next presidental primary campaign?

    September 24, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    BILLchange your name to benedick arnold you are a traitor!!!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  20. Megan

    Nice – sounds like Billy has a thingy for Sarah!! He seems to always have an reason why he is not helping his party. Is he with Hilly at all?

    September 24, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  21. Bluesconnect

    Bill is telling the truth about Palin and you jerks just can't admit it!

    September 24, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    POOR PITIFUL BILL, HOW PATHETIC YOU ARE!

    September 24, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  23. Michael, Pensacola, FL

    That's cool Bill, but its your legacy that will look even worse when former President Barack Obama does a better job of enthusiastically helping the next presumptive Democratic President in ways that you fail to do today!

    September 24, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  24. Time4Change

    Bill, stop flirting!

    September 24, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  25. Janice Il

    Not everybody has to love Your candidate people. The Clintons feel that they were cheated, if anybody on here felt cheated what would you do, sweep off your own doorstep before you go to work on somebody else. When this is over the truth will come out. Bo looked over 18 million votes and refused to ask her to run with him"Could cost the election" How are you going to spin this to the Clinton's if it happens?

    September 24, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
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