September 25th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Bill Clinton lavishes praise on McCain

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Clinton had kinds words for John McCain Thursday."](CNN) - Bill Clinton has long pointed out he has enjoyed a good relationship with John McCain, but for a moment the former president almost sounded like a surrogate for the Republican presidential nominee Thursday morning.

Appearing on ABC's Good Morning America, Clinton said McCain's move to suspend his campaign and request a delay in the first presidential debate was a move done in "good faith," rather than as a stunt to halt falling poll numbers as several Democrats have alleged.

"I presume he did that in good faith since I know he wanted - I remember he asked for more debates to go all around the country and so I don't think we ought to overly parse that," Clinton said, sounding a familiar McCain Campaign talking point.

A few hours later Clinton lavished praise on McCain as he introduced him at the Clinton Global Initiative forum, saying Republican presidential nominee had taken the lead in his party when it comes to climate change.

"When most people in his party were thinking that global warming was overstated and maybe even a myth - he decided to look into it," he said.

The former president also described the two trips that McCain took with his wife Hillary Clinton, “the junior senator from New York," to look into the issue.

But Clinton has also been effusive in his praise for Obama in recent days, telling CBS earlier this week the Illinois senator is better-suited than McCain to bring the country out of the economic crisis.

Clinton's praise of McCain also came days after he told CNN's Larry King Live he was looking forward to campaigning on behalf of Barack Obama, but was not planning on "dumping" on McCain.

Watch: Bill Clinton praises Obama, Palin on Larry King

"I just don't believe that getting up here and hyperventilating about Gov. Palin, or Sen. McCain for that matter, is a productive use of a former president's time and is not a vote-getter," he said, adding later he was an admirer of McCain even though the two disagree on several issues.

McCain burnished his maverick credentials largely during the Clinton administration, when he sided with Democrats on several key issues including campaign finance reform. Clinton has long expressed admiration for the Arizona senator, even during the primary season earlier this year when he said McCain and his wife are "very close." McCain did however voter to impeach Clinton however.

"They always laugh that if they wound up being the nominees of their party, it would be the most civilized election in American history, and they're afraid they'd put the voters to sleep because they like and respect each other," he said at a South Carolina campaign stop in January.

soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. Sarah Bell

    Cris Rock was right. It pains Bill to even speak Obama's name. You aren't fooling anyone Bill. I hope Obama tells you to just go home and stay out of the way. You fraud. I loved you Bill.

    September 25, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  2. Kristen

    Daily Kos is starting talk about the possibility that McCain has had a mild stroke. There are diaries showing video from yesterday compared with two weeks ago – his left eye is half the size of the other one and looks strange. Could this be the real reason for trying to cancel the debate? Could he have something else going on such as a brain tumor?

    September 25, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  3. Kevin,FL

    McCain did however voter to impeach Clinton however. < ?

    September 25, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. Truth Fighter

    No wonder Hillary lost, she had Bill speaking for her.

    Me think's him likes Mrs. Palin.

    September 25, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. Debby

    This is why Pres. Clinton is known as the best politician in history because of his bi-partisonship and so well respected all over the world. I can't say the same for Obama and his supporters they are truly a nasty bunch on these blogs.

    September 25, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. Tyrone

    Joey porked Tommy while Timmy watched and didn't tell anyone because Timmy wanted to be next or at least be in the middle of a boy sandwich.

    September 25, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. gt

    thanks mr president

    September 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. Shirley

    Make McCain feel good after all the stupid things he did yesterday. Is McCain really sound in mind and judgement to be a leader?

    September 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |

    M C C A I N,,,,,,,,,P R O M I S E D,,,,,,,,H I M,,,,,,,,,A,,,,,,,,,,,H I G H,,,,,,,,,,

    L E V E L,,,,,,,,,,S P O T,,,,,,,,,,I N,,,,,,,,,,H I S,,,,,,,,,A D M I N

    September 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Former Pres. Bill Clinton is a great political strategist so don't be fooled by his so called praise of McCain. The blood bath is yet to come.

    September 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Clinton Supporter

    Bill Clinton refuses to be an Obama-mind-controlled hatchet man for the Democrats. I admire him for that.

    Bill Clinton has worked hard to make his foundation non-political, and he's not about to change course for an arrogant, I'm-better-than-you Chicago politician.

    Whether Hillary Clinton decides to run in 2012 or not, Bill isn't getting sucked into hero-worship of the The One. Clinton – both Clintons – run circles around Obama.

    They're not about to let Obama define them. Or order them around, for that matter.

    September 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. LB

    Wow....if Bill says something you don't like then your yell, scream and pitch a fit. Make up your minds....flakes.

    September 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. ShirleyY - Seattle


    September 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. Chuck

    Bill Clinton is or was one of the shrewdest political campaigners around. He knows exactly why McCain suspended his campaign and is trying to cancel the debate. Yet he prasies McCain knowing it was a pure poitical stunt. Obama can and should not trust this guy. He is all about finding a way for his wife to run in 2012. But he fails to understand that he is messing with someone who can out-smart him and who is even shrewder, Barack Obama. People have wondered why Bill has not been more active stumping for Obama. Now you know. Obama has purposely kept him at bay knowing what a danger he is. Nice try Bill, but you are dealing with a person who could teach you a thing or two about political strategy.

    September 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. Daniel from FL

    Clinton needs to just stay locked in his Harlem office until after Nov. 4. He even is parroting McCain's arguments about "wanting to have more debates" (town halls)!!! If I never realized before who ruined Hillary's chances at the presidency, I certainly realize it now! I used to love Bill Clinton, but right now I wouldn't spit on him if he were on fire!

    September 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. Bob Indianapolis IN

    THIS IS WHAT WE SAW ON LETTERMAN THE OTHER NIGHT! Congrats, Bill! You're right up there with Lieberman!

    September 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. ari

    What is more important Democratic party or Clinton foundation?

    September 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. Sean Chong

    Read the words everyone, read the words. Bill's praises for Mccain is not an endorsement, but some kind words that we usually speak to one another everday, just to be polite...

    September 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. Pete

    This is the reason why Obama did not choose Hillary–Bill is a LOOSE cannon!

    September 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  20. Disappointed

    I am disappointed in Bill's support of McCain. I agree with other posters that he is perhaps bitter about about Hillary's loss, and he needs to curb his comments even if he believes otherwise. There are still far too many undecided voters that he can influence. People need to understand that the President should be able to do more than one critical taskat a time, and suspending your campaign 40+ days from one of the most important elections is just absurd. If he can't handle the economy and prepare for a presidential debate, then he certainly can't serve this country as president.

    September 25, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  21. Al

    I watched the interviews with Mr. Clinton and he was right. He feels that it's a waste of his time to run a smear campaign. I see no problem with that. Although he heaped praise on McCain, he also heaped praise on Obama saying that he is the right choice to take this country forward. Mr. Clinton wants to go out and campaign for Obama based on issues and policy. Obama and Biden should take a clue from Mr. Clinton and do the same.

    September 25, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. Jude

    McCain has no excuse now since bailout plan is agreed on. We're on the DEBATE NOW!!!! Stop the gimmicks and game ploys...

    September 25, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. Chicken's come home to roost.

    Glad to see we have a Bailout Bill Deal ... and that McCain's stunt yesterday had no bearing on the outcome ... he just got to Washington and played ZERO role.

    September 25, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. DW, NY FOR OBAMA '08

    Bill and Hillary are still very upset over hillary losing this nomination. It's sooooo obvious. But, Obama will win this election and Bill/Hill won't be able to say they had a thing to do with it. I'm sure neither one of them, billary, thought Barack would get this far along in the polls.

    Go Barack Go!!!

    September 25, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Kate

    LOL @ the stains comment

    I think he's overrated

    September 25, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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