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. Kate

    Wow!! This is an event held bipartisan, held in Clinton's name, for a cause he believes in. Do people expect him to slash someone's name who is helping him with his inititive. Both Clinton's have done more than what is required of them for Obama. They support him, not McCain. Doesn't anyone remember when Hillary was running that she alway talked praise on McCain. She is his friend, but doesn't believe in his politics. End of story. You talk nice about your friends, doesn't mean you vote for them.

    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Brent


    McCain supporters are trying to spin his return to Washington as a "Country First" approach to the economic crisis, but yesterday his campaign inadvertently released a list of right-wing TALKING POINTS to the media about how he's "suspending" his campaign until the bailout bill is completed.

    Talking Points? Still sounds a lot like "Politics First" to me.

    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. Pat

    Would the Real Bill Clinton please stand up!
    Who is this man? And what part of the Democratic Party does he
    belong to? Hi appearance on Good Morning America has proved to be a Sad Day for America! He sounds like he's making a bid for the New Member of the Republican Party! They can have him!

    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. Amy in Woodstock, NY

    Bill is such a sore loser. He is not promoting Obama. He is working on a Clinton 2012 strategy. And for that, I have lost ALL respect for Bill.

    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. WASP Member!!!

    Bill Clinton would be a diarrhea mouth on McCain if Hillary was the candidate. He is still a sore loser. His praise doesn’t change the fact that McCain is a liar!!!!

    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. Johnny Gentle

    Wow, McCain looks more and more unqualified to deal with a crisis than ever. This is just another member of the old guard, good ole boys trying to prop up another fellow good ole boy. But we got news for ya, real change is coming. You can take the Bushs, McCains AND the Clintons back from whence they came.

    But does anyone actually believe that an 8PM debate has anything to do with showing up to vote for a proposal?

    A proposal that has already been worked out even! McCain is trying to look like the saviour, but his white pony came in just a little bit too late. Oh well, John, time to start planning the next reactionary stunt!

    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Paula, Los Angeles CA

    Former President Bill Clinton is ridiculous! He is just throwing an "undercover" tantrum because Hillary did not win! No one was truly fooled by his great words and mediocre display at the convention, we all know how he truly feels.

    I wonder how much praise he would be lavishing on John McCain if Hillary had become the nominee!

    Go to bed GRUMPY!!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08!!

    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. Tired

    What is really going on??????????? is he trying to get McSane and Fake Palin in office.....It seem that he is doing more talking for McSane then Obama.....Where the HELL is Hillary?

    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. WOW


    I wish you could be so truthful win it comes to Obama...........

    I don't care what you or the media says your still holding Obama responsible for Hillary's downfall........

    You won't admit you and Hillary played dirty politics and it didn't work and your still MAD


    I USE TO LOVE YA .............BUT NOW I'm on the you gave a little speech at the convention that it.......



    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. CNN pro mcain

    -----i didnt have sex with that woman.....

    ....can anyone after that care what mcLinton says??!!!!!

    September 25, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. JBP

    Clinton has a right to his opinion – however wrong it may be.

    September 25, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  12. Antoinette - CA

    Biil: If you think that throwing this election with get Hillary into the white house faster, you are MISTAKEN. You have lost the support of many with so called 'support' of Obama.

    September 25, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. Never obama

    Hurry,hurry...................obama has been in debate school for the last 3 days and he doesn't want to forget his answers.

    What a joke this moron is. People won't believe your lies forever.

    September 25, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. CarolO MI

    Nothing wrong with that. You can like a person you worked with but it doesn't mean you support his policies. Cinton is smart enough to know that bashing someone brings in votes for the other side, as well. He's smart, tactful and always has been. He is campaigning and endorsing Obama so who needs to more more?

    September 25, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. smokesignals

    I'm not happy that Bill is still getting the news coverage that he is, but I'm even less happy about CNN's headline.
    "LAVISH PRAISE"! is not exactly what he did.
    I can understand being the nice guy and his statements make a little sense, but good grief, CNN, don't you realize how inflammatory your headlines are? Get back to the real news.

    September 25, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. democracynow2008

    CNN and the Press need to ignore stupid comments from Bill Clinton.
    Which Side Are You On ?
    Bill says we should praise Senator mccain ?
    Maybe Bill is a Closet Republican now .
    As a True Democrat I give no praise to Senator Mccain with friends like that who needs enemies
    Hillary control your husbands outbursts.
    Obama will win anyway .
    We cannot have another 4 years of Republican Rule Noway Nohow never
    Obama/Biden 08

    September 25, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Tired of W, OH

    Bill, buddy, pal....Put your country first and SHUT THE HELL UP! Hillary lost! If you help to ruin the country by putting McCain in the White House history will not be kind to your legacy. You'll down in history as a turn-coat of the Democratic party, just like Joe LIEberman.

    September 25, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Fee, Philadelphia

    Bill needs to get a grip. I just don't get this guy!

    Great ad from Obama on the economy...meanwhile McCain's ads are still running and his advisors are still talking and Palin is scheduled to attend a rally in Philadelphia today. McCain please take your marbles and leave. I am so tired of the circus act. I still can't believe Americans want to vote for someone who has 13 cars, 8 houses, voted against raising minimum wage, and voted against equal pay for women. He doesn't put country first, he has missed the most votes out of the current Senators...on absent...he is first!

    Obama/Biden '08....the only choice for me

    September 25, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. Sarah Does Bill

    Man, a woman can have a real bad affect on men.

    I am not fooled though. I know which head to think with.

    September 25, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. Rhonda

    Wow! i've been seeing Clinton rallying for Mchaos. How sad.....I believe he needs to put the drink down and zip his pants...i mean mouth. I think he is overcompensating for Hillary not being picked as Obama's running mate. I must admit it would have been nice, but puullleeezzee get over it Clinton!! WE CAN SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOU CLINTON! Hillary still has her chance later to run again, but we aren't going to forget this Bill.

    September 25, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. Robert in raleigh

    Clinton's a pos . You can't trust him , it seems as though he can't find it within himself to support the man who beat him and his wife for the nomination.......period

    September 25, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  22. AJ

    Independent but learning: You don't sound like an independent in your comments but a conservative republican. Don't try to bluff. Say who you are.

    September 25, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  23. Longtime Democrat voting for McCain

    Its obvious that President Bill Clinton one of the Greatest Presidents we have ever had, knows the difference between a lot of empty promises and action.

    Obama-Talk talk Talk Talk. Instead of making a decision between "Yes" or "No" Voted Present 140 times.
    Biden – Plagerist who has called his running mate "an articulate clean black man."

    McCain – Battled tested war hero that puts his country first
    Palin – A true reformer

    September 25, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. Independent in NC

    Why is this listed as filed under Barack Obama first, when the article is about Clinton and McCain?

    I hope Obama and McCain are paying attention. I've never been a big Clinton fan, but he does know his way around polictics. Good for him for being able to acknowledge the strong points of an opponent and find ways to utilize them.

    September 25, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. Sarah

    Shame on you bill...
    It is clear that you and your wife want Obama to loose. If that happen we will not forget this to you or Hillary in 2012

    September 25, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12