Bill Clinton heaps praise on Obama as calm manager
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Former President Bill Clinton appears to have gotten over any misgivings he may have had about Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Campaigning with Obama on Wednesday, Clinton not only gave the Illinois senator his support, he heaped praise on him, describing him as a calm manager who had responded deftly to the financial crisis and sought advice from the best experts.
“You’ve got to see (Obama’s) reaction to the financial crisis, and America nearly coming off the wheels,” Clinton told a cheering crowd of 35,000 in Kissimmee, Florida.
Appearing on stage with Obama, Clinton said the Democratic presidential nominee “took a little heat” for not saying very much when the financial crisis first erupted in mid-September.
“He talked to his advisers. He talked to my economic advisers,” Clinton said, listing experts such as investor Warren Buffett and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker whom Obama consulted.
Obama also spoke to Clinton himself and Hillary Clinton, the former first lady and Obama’s former rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“You know why? Because he knew it was complicated. And before he said anything he wanted to understand,” Clinton said.
It was probably the highest form of praise that Obama could have received from Clinton, who prides himself in particular on his own handling of the economy.
Although Bill Clinton endorsed Obama in his campaign against Republican John McCain, and he and his wife have campaigned for Obama, many media reports have said the former president continued as recently as the summer to harbor hard feelings about the primary fight. Some reports also said Clinton had reservations about whether Obama was experienced enough to be president.
Wednesday’s open-air rally in Kissimmee marked the first time the two campaigned together, although they met for a private lunch last month at Clinton’s library in New York.
When he took the podium, Obama immediately complimented Hillary Clinton, saying he had learned from her as a candidate, and saying that most Americans wished that the last few years “looked a lot like the Clinton years.”
He called Bill Clinton a “great president” and said Americans were nostalgic for the good economic times of the 1990s.