Bill Clinton Offers Obama Half Hearted Support in ABC Interview

ImageIn an interview that aired on ABC’s World News Tonight Bill Clinton denied that he is angry at Barack Obama, but offered very little in terms of an endorsement and enthusiasm for the Democratic nominee.

Clinton denied that he is still angry, “I’m not, and I never was mad at Senator Obama. I think everybody’s got a right to run for president if he qualifies under the Constitution, and I would be the last person to ever begrudge anybody their ambition, and he was a superbly gifted candidate in this election, and had a great operation. They thought this thing through, and it’s a contact sport…The only thing I ever got mad about was people in your kind of work pretending that she started this stuff.”

Clinton refused to comment on whether or not he had anything to do with his wife’s loss, because he said it interferes with the issue of who should be elected in November. He said that he will talk about it when the election is over. Clinton blasted former friend Jim Clyburn and blamed him for hurting his standing with the African-American community. He also blamed the media, “I got bad press, because I told the truth that there was a different standard applied to the finest candidate I ever supported.”

Clinton was asked if Obama is ready to be president, and said, “You can argue that no one is ever ready to be president…He has shown a keen strategic sense in his ability to run an effective campaign. He clearly can inspire and motivate people and energize them, which is an important part of being president, and he is smart as a whip so there is nothing that he can’t learn.”

Two things are made clear in this interview. Bill Clinton still has some issues with Barack Obama, and he blames the media for his wife’s loss in the Democratic primary. The reality is that Clinton was banished to the rural white campaign stops because he could not stop putting his foot in his mouth. I think bad campaign strategy cost Hillary Clinton the Democratic nomination, but her husband certainly didn’t help. It is obvious that Bill views his wife’s defeat as personal rejection of his presidency. President Clinton could be a valuable asset for Obama this fall, but judging from this frosty interview, I wouldn’t expect too much support for Obama from him this fall.

Watch the interview

4 Replies to “Bill Clinton Offers Obama Half Hearted Support in ABC Interview”

  1. How many times and in how many ways does Bill Clinton have to say “I will do whatever Barack Obama asks me to do on his behalf” before Obama supporters realize that Clinton is letting Obama, the presumptive nominee, make the decision about whether or not Obama wants Clinton to campaign for him? Instead, what is reported is that Clinton offers “half-hearted support.” Right.

    I am sure that if President Clinton took the initiative to campaign for and support Obama *without* Obama’s express approval, we would hear instead that the Clintons don’t know their place, can’t stop campaigning, or have some ulterior motive – that Bill is trying to sandbag Obama’s chances so that his wife can be the nominee.

    Both Clintons really are in a double bind here – seemingly nothing they do or say is reported without an armchair psychoanalysis about “what they really meant.” I think President Clinton is taking the right tack by stepping back – after all that has happened in the campaign, Obama is the person who has to take a public stand here. Many of Obama’s supporters (such as this blog’s author) seem determined to color anything the Clintons do as expressly anti-Obama. I wish I knew what the Clintons or Obama could do to stop such destructive interpretation of innocuous statements, and would be interested to hear this blog’s author opine on what those acts might be. We all need to come together in November, but slanted articles like this one aren’t likely to help achieve the “unity” that will be needed to defeat McCain.

  2. I think that you need to watch the interview. Compared to Mrs. Clinton who has done a fantastic job supporting Obama, her husband was very cold, and in fact didn’t seem to want to talk about Obama. I don’t consider a one sentence statement from his pr guy a ringing endorsement. Face it, Bill Clinton is still angry about this election. He doesn’t seem interested in doing much to help Obama. Hillary has been a great help already, and I think this interview just reinforces the idea that Bill is the problem here, not Hillary. Why does Obama have to do anything here? He won. There is nothing destructive about what I wrote, only the truth.

  3. Like he said, I do not think that President Clinton is a racist, or in any way to be liked with racism. First of all, one must realize that during that Primary season, part of him -his wife – wanted to win, ie to become the Democratic nominee for the Presidency of the US. He should not be blamed for any statement that would help advance his second half to achieving this dream. By his wife running for the presidency, and Bill(once regarded as a Black President) agreeing to support his wife, AND Senator Barrack Obama, a Black candidate running for the same position, I think that amounted to the tightest political corner – if not crucible – that President Clinton has ever found himself in. Whatever he says during that time,in order to shore up support for his wife, very likely, and most assuredly, would be misinterpreted has a racial bias against Senator Obama. What loving husband would not do that for his wife, especially given the totality of the circumstances here?
    I don’t think that President Clinton should in any way feel guilty of this media – imposed allegation of him being a racist.
    President Clinton, immediately the Primaries were over did not have to go to Africa, to prove that he is not a racist. I think he went to Africa under pressure, just to disavow the label pinned on his lapel by the media.
    As for Representative Jim Clyburn, what he did by not first of all thinking through the former President’s position, that he was indeed campainging for his wife, he- Clyburn – helped in fanning the embers of this false allegation. That is not right either. It amounts to a disservice to a former friend. Using the race game as a way to “come off it” has been played by every racial group. Whites are no exception.And if we sense any bit of it here, by the former President making that comparison of Jesse Jackson winning North Carolina, as Senator Obama did, I sincerely think that it will amount to political irresponsibility to link such a comment to racism. Bill Clinton did what he had to do, again – giving the totality of the circumstances at play here.
    By the former President,especially, when asked if he thinks that Obama is ready to be President, and him replying that “Nobody is really fully prepared for the position”. Bill is speaking purely from experience, and should not be construed as not wanting Obama to be President.
    We Blacks tend to jump headlong into the sea of racially tainted waters MOST OF THE TIME. WHITES DO IT SOME OF THE TIME. No racial group is totally exempt from the race game. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, who never agreed that he was Black, used the race game.
    I think Bill Clinton, if asked by Senator Obama to campaign for him,would do it wholeheartedly. I have no reason to think the former President will not support Obama for the presidency. Both him,and his wife Hillary, will help make Obama the next US President. I have no shred of doubt about that.
    I hope I have attempted to call a spade by it’s name here, in this write-up.
    Mike C. Okereke

  4. Just to add to Mike’s point, I don’t think Bill Clinton is a racist at all, although that is the part of this interview that is getting the most play everywhere else. I think Bill took this loss more personally than the candidate herself, and there are still some bruised feelings there, but that in no way equates to him not supporting Obama this fall. He will be a good soldier for Obama, probably just not a very happy one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.