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. SickOfClintons

    Can we the Clintons out of the picture already!! maaaaan!!

    September 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. Mike G

    Careful Bill! Look what happening to that turncoat Lieberman. It's one thing to not attack someone... it's another to lie for them. WE ALL KNOW THIS IS A POLITICAL STUNT. You don't need to feed the Rove lie machine.

    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. bern

    Bill Clinton is full of it. He is still trying to hurt Barack despite what he says. That is the very reason Hillary was not picked as VP. It is getting to the point that every time I see Bill Clinton I want to throw up.

    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Kel in Auburn, AL

    Hillary needs to tell him to shut his mouth again, LOL

    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Paizley

    Bill, Bill, Bill. If you are not careful you are going to sink any chance for Hilary to win in the future. Do you not think that we can see your deep seeded hatred for Obama? Obama won. Hilary lost. Get over it. Do what you know is right.

    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Women in Penn 4 Obama

    I am so glad that Bill is not campaigning in this election. Maybe he is hoping that Obama loses and Hillary can run in 2012. Which party are you for.

    McCain has been a liar in this election and has sold his soul to the Republican right wing. Bill I voted for you twice but I am losing respect every time I hear you speak.

    Obama / Biden '08

    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. Obama will be a fine leader!

    My, my! Bill's tune has changed these past few weeks. What's the matter, Bill? Do you have goo-goo eyes for Palin?

    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. Donna

    Considering that McCain was speaking at Clinton's Foundation, I don't think that would have been appropriate to attack him do you???

    Seriously, what was he suppose to say about a Presidential Candidate whose support he would need in the future??

    This isn't's called being SMART enough to not burn your bridges!!!!

    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. Renee, VA

    I understand it. They both cheated on their wives and they're both selfish, sulking and bratty little boys when they don't get their way.

    Clinton and McCain, two peas in a pod.

    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. Real Real Change

    Is anybody else sick and tired of all the coverage of the Clintons?


    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Vote Republican because

    You have to remember BIll Clinton has a stake in this whole process himself...

    1st his wife wants to be Prresident and Bill would love to have the ear of which ever candidate becomes POTUS so that he can lean on him to help with his efforts and do things with the Clinton Global Initiative and even the William J Clinton Foundation.

    Come on people, Bill is going to be Bill...

    I do not blame him or believe he is being Two Faced. Bill has an agenda as does McCain and of course Hillary... Bill is going to say anything and everything he can to get whatever he wants and needs.

    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. Gman in Columbia

    What was the name of that famous movie? Oh yea, "Kill Bill".
    He just can't get over the fact his wife lost and he cannot get his groove on again in the White House.

    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. Mike

    Bill wasn't so diplomatic about his wife's opponents!!

    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. john

    As fond of good looking woman as Bill and John are Hillary and Cindy better keep one eye open at all times when they are together.

    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. Sandy H


    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  16. Liviu

    Smart people look beyond this posponed Presidential debate, as a way for a posponed VP debate.

    And Bill Clinton is smart.

    September 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. Shawn - GA

    Why are so many Obama supporters so hateful, reading some of these posts where people call aother people horrible names and say terrible things about eachother... makes me ill, not joking makes me sick in my stomach. Why on earth are you like this? I know that most of you are young, however if youa re voting you are at least 18 and that young brashness should be winding down by now as you become more wordly.

    I Pray for this country and the poeple in it to have more tolarance for one another, I pray every day for this.

    September 25, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. Arin

    Looks as though their gearing for 2012.
    I wouldn't buy a used car from Bill Clinton, would you?

    September 25, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. Don from California

    Bill is doing this too often for us not to think that something is going on with the Clintons. I heard that when Obama was down and he met with Bill, Bill demanded a few things in order for him to help Obama in his campaign. I think Obama has dropped the deal now that he is dominating the race, and Bill is making him pay for it.

    September 25, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. McBlackberrys will help the economy

    Can you say bitter?

    BTW McCain made it to DC just in-time to see both sides agree. I knew they needed the guy that knows nothing about the Economy to save us.

    He just went in there and said-

    "My friends, the fundamentals of this economy are strong...uhhhh...i mean that we are headed for a Great Depression!" All nodded and signed. Wow! Hero! POW!

    September 25, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. Bruce

    McCain has been looking for an excuse to avoid real confontatin. How handy that the US economy had to melt down to give him an excuse. He is just like Bush that had too much to do to care about the Katrina victims. MULTITASKING is not their strong points.

    If you know how to use a computer you can get a lot done with out beingin the same room. McCain is not involved in any of the commities that are worki ng the issue, so him GRANDSTANDING to pretend he knows something is not what is needed.

    What is needed is for the candidates to stand up and let the people see and hear what they are really thinking abut hte future of America.

    September 25, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. W O W WO W

    M R,,,,,,,P R E S I D E N T,,,,,,,,,,W E,,,,,,,,, K N O W,,,,,,,,,,T HA T,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Y O U' L L,,,,,,,,,,,,,,D O ,,,,,,,,,,,T H E,,,,,,,,,,R I G H T,,,,,,,,,,,T H I N G,,,,,,,,,,,

    F O R,,,,,,,,,,,T H E,,,,,,,,,C O U N T R Y,,,,,,,,,,,,A N D,,,,,,,,,,,,,,L O T S,,,,,,,,,,

    O F,,,,,,,,,,,,,D E C E N T,,,,,,,,,,P E O P L E,,,,,,,,,,O N,,,,,,,,,,,B O T H,,,,,,,,,,,

    P A R T I E S,,,,,,,,,,,W I L L,,,,,,,,T H A N K,,,,,,,Y O U,,,,,,,,,A N D,,,,,,,,,,,,

    H I L L A R Y,,,,,,,,,M C C A I N,,,,,,,,W I L L,,,,,,,,,G I V E,,,,,,,,,Y OU,,,,,,,,,

    T H E,,,,,,,,,,,U N I T E D,,,,,,,,,N A T I O N S,,,,,,,, P O S T

    September 25, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Heather, Cleveland, OH

    Get the hook and yank him off the stage, dems. It's not the fact that he refuses to "hyperventilate" over or "dump" on McCain/Palin. It's all these little backhanded slaps like repeating McCain's "town hall" talking points, saying that a race between his wife and McCain would be a lot more civilized and generous praise of McCain while barely mentioning Barack Obama.

    I think it's obvious to many dems what's really going on with Bill. He thinks it's not, but it really is. It sucks that Obama not only has to run against McCain, but now he seems to be running against a popular ex-president.

    This will be remembered in 2012 if Obama loses in 2008.

    September 25, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Becky

    I'm looking forward to the debate tomorrow night, whether it's with McCain/Obama or Palin/Biden.

    September 25, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. Shrinath

    And I thought that Bill had finally reformed. I guess he is still bitter that he was denied the "third" chance to live @1600, Penn. Ave. Come on William, you can do better than that. McCain might be a good guy personally but this politics and his party stinks. Get real. This is a stunt by McCain and the Clinton's are sour losers.

    September 25, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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