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. Barbara

    This is exactly why Obama could not choose Hillary as a running mate. Big Mouthed Bill is at it again.
    I am positive of one thing.. If Obama loses ,the behind the scenes stuff like this and best friend of Hillary (Lynn Forrester DeRothschild) endorsement of McCain will be remembered by many. No way she will have my vote in the future. Yeah Bill and Hillary – how about Country first for real !

    September 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  2. Pro

    John McCain and Palin need to get a tent for the circus they are both running. They are making themselves into total jokes, constantly telling lies, feign knowledge that they do not have, and showing the world how fake they are!

    September 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. Texas - White Male

    Obama has to run against the republicans and the Clintons's....if he wins this thing he has to go down as the best candidate ever.

    No other candidate has ever had to endure all of this...McCain has both presidents in his pocket.

    This whole process is looking very fishy....I smell a rat or a "BLACK OUT"

    September 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. Brownie

    And he wonders why black folks turned away from Hill. This man makes me absolutely sick. What a snake.

    September 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. Cathy

    I guess Clinton doesn't know that Palin doesn't believe that global warming is man made....well she didn't up until she was picked by McCain.

    September 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |



    September 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. dru

    bill clinton- GOOOOOOOOOO AWAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    September 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. jim

    CNN loves to stir the pot. When is the last time you heard George Bush Senior put down Obama? NEVER

    September 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  9. Matt, MN

    Gotta love the comments already here.

    Love Bill when he praises Obama, yet turn around and rip him and call him names when he gives Mccain a little praise.

    Can't have it both ways here people; either we should ignore Bill all the time for the reasons you've already sprouted, or you accept his comments as "someone who knows and has been there" as so many of the cnn commenters like to post.

    September 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. s

    True politician, don't throw mud because you never know when you need them. Why don't people say what they think. John McCain is too old to be president, he can't do two things at once. Sarah Palin is window dress. The questions she answers any American can do the same thing. The GOP is a one trick pony, it will not work this time.

    Go Obama/Biden 08'

    September 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  11. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    Don't forget that your Monica Lewinsky debut is the reason Hillary lost.

    September 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. Marie

    I don't know what Clinton thinks he's doing but it's very clear to the rest of us he's trying to sabatoge Obama's chances. If he thinks Dems are gonna forget and vote for Hillary in 2012 he can forget it.

    What an egotistical whack job.

    September 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  13. Beverly, NYC

    Bill's just trying to score a date with Sarah! Calm down people.

    September 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. gobsmacked

    With friends like that who needs enemies.

    September 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. Lies Before Country = Anna Nicole Smith (Lie-a-day Palin) & E. Pierce Marshall (Inane McCain)

    From one lothario to another. Dirty birds of feather flock together.

    September 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. Horace Grace

    This is just sour grapes. Slick willie continues to be a bit miffed at the triumph of Obama over a certain junior senator from NY and is doing his party an injustice by lavishing all this praise on McCain.

    In an alternate reality where Senator Clinton were presidential nominee Clinton I would like to see how Bill would be talking about McCain...

    September 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. ME

    new poll.....michigan is much for dems and the economy.

    September 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. Sean, atl, GA

    Clinton knows if Obama wins this, he will forever be yesterday's news.....You can't talk your way out of this one Bill, we all see what you're doing

    September 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. lil yogini, san diego (north county)

    It's funny that whoever is typing

    L I K E , , , , , , , THIS , , , , ,

    has got to be the same person and it is so transparent.

    Go Away. We all think your use of caps, commas, and dashes are lame.

    September 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. RCkeene

    please don't let them try to tell us that MCcain saved the day...

    I am a little disappointed in Mr Clinton. I think Mr. Obama made an enemy that could hurt him..

    September 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. -K&H-

    Yep there goes the underhanded sabatogeing of the Obama campaign. Bill can't let it go so he just adds to the problem some how some way. He has had more strong good statements come out about McCain instead of Obama his parties pick. What a good guy to have around for help for the other side.

    September 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. Griff

    Good for you Bill. You can't very well have an election. for a Country you don't own...

    September 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. Abby

    How disappointed I am in you is equal only to how much I used to love you.

    Please stop campaigning for the side that almost took you down.

    September 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. David

    Pathetically transparent.

    Hillary '12? You think so?

    If Obama loses this election, it'll take a lot longer than four years for me to forget Bill Clinton's lukewarm support for the party's nominee.

    September 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  25. Biff

    Really Bill..... really?

    September 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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