Bill Clinton heaps praise on Obama as calm manager

October 30, 2008

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.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Dear Friends:

My dad passed away in 2006. I miss him greatly but will always honor his memory for being a man of courage and compassion for those who needed his help. He served in the army in World War II. He stayed with my mother in a senior center when he didn’t have to and preferred to die there so she wouldn’t have to be alone. He helped minorities get jobs at the factory where he worked at the loss of his own promotion as a result. Knowing dad as I did, I’m sure he would have voted for Senator Obama if he was with us today.
This is why I stand on a bridge for the next week with people who support Senator Barack Obama as President of the United States of America in 2008; because regardless of what I have become, dad’s values managed to permeate the thread of my life and belief system. I feel even stronger about the things he cared about since he has passed away and know that he is glad to see me walking the streets playing my harmonica with my Obama button on my hat and standing on the bridge with others carrying signs for the senator where drivers can see us on their way into and out of town.
It is so necessary to remember that this election is probably the most crucial for the advancement of human rights since the elections of George Washington, John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. So please, even the smallest person doing what may seem like an insignificant thing like holding a sign or talking to neighbors and friends can make a real difference.
Thank you from myself and my dad for all you do to make the world a better place for human beings to live. God bless you all and your families and may God always bless and protect our Constitution, our homes, and our beloved USA.


Dan Whittman

Posted by Dan Whittman | Report as abusive

This year the White House goes to a son of a single mother, who grew up with his grandparents in Hawaii. I know people who wanted to think of themselves as blue bloods two years ago looked down on this guy. The Barack Obama’s story is just as interesting as Lincolns in my opinion. I am proud of my country when I see this story unfold. We American’s are different. Sometimes I think God loves us just a little more. We are a sign to the world that life is full of possibilities. Sorry republicans this is not your year.

Posted by Archie Haase | Report as abusive

If Clinton is all out for obama,you know the clintons are eying something for them selves.

Posted by nitzie | Report as abusive

Bill Clinton’s word means what? Oh I forgot, he’s the only good President we’ve had, according to these liberal illuminati. But there was so much spending during those years, and it’s caught up with us today.

Posted by Ms.k7225 | Report as abusive

Everyone knows that even though Bill & Hillary are speaking out for Obama when they go into the voting booth they will be voting for McCain.

Posted by fran kubbishun | Report as abusive

Dan Whittman: I fully agree with you that should be very proud of what your father did before he died, and for this reason I do not feel you should compare him with Obama who, without a doubt, will let you and the country down as he’s totally unlike your father.
Take a look at his character; while running in primaries, he was mocking Hillary for bringing up the prosperous years enjoyed by American due to her husband’s successful administration and, instead, mentioned Ronald Reagan as one of the great and transformational Presidents.
Now, in his desperate attempts to win the election, he says that Pres. Clinton was a great president and Americans should look back with nostalgia the good old days of his administration. Obama is a snake oil salesman and will say ans do anything to win the election. And Dan, don’t hold your breath, an Obama’s administration will stifle your voice and will not advance human rights. I’m a canadian and have no horse in this race, but if I can see this from afar, how come you Americans cannot and are continually being fooled by this Obama who is really a fraud.
If he’s elected, may God help America.

Posted by Veridico | Report as abusive

Yes, Nitzie, I’m sure Bill Clinton wants to take credit for swaying the public enough so that Obama wins.

And you know what? If Clinton’s efforts were what made the difference, then he should deserve credit! Put it down in history that former president Bill Clinton helped Obama win this crucial election, that one of Obama’s main goals is to restore that glory of the United States that existed under Bill Clinton’s terms! Even now, no one talks about trying to restore the US to how it was after Bush’s first 4 years, or after the senior Bush left it, or even how Reagan left the US, or Carter, or Ford, everyone wants the US to be like how Bill Clinton left it.

Posted by Mitch | Report as abusive


Clinton left the country in far better shape than either Bush The Evil or Bush The Stupid or how McCain The McSame would leave it. Many of us would like to see the country be more like the 90s where we had budget surpluses, the respect of the world, and lots of annoyed right-wingers who just couldn’t bear it.

I’m not sure why so many of you resist. If you’re in that upper 5% that will pay more taxes under an Obama Administration, you’ll just have to suck it up and sell that condo in Vale. It’s hard to come up with an explanation other than racism for the rest of you. Why else would you vote against your own interests?

Posted by DaveSEMass | Report as abusive

I wonder if all these previous posters want to revise their statements. Buyer remorse anyone?

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive