July 11th, 2008
10:45 AM ET

Clintons Never Quit: Bill Clinton

Program Note: Watch a special hour, “Clintons Never Quit.” Tonight, 10 ET

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/11/art.billclinton.jpg]

Tom Foreman
AC360° Correspondent

When it all began he was the superstar. He drew big crowds and big bucks. He had the title she wanted: President Clinton. But as the race for the nomination dragged on a curious thing happened. Sen. Clinton’s public approval rating fitfully improved over the long battle while the former president’s got decidedly worse. Hillary Clinton's numbers are now better than his across the board. As former Clinton adviser, David Gergen, put it “one of the enduring mysteries of this campaign has been...Bill Clinton's sometimes erratic behavior.”

He insulted reporters (remember what he called Vanity Fair writer Todd Purdum?) and accused the Obama campaign of playing the race card. "The rage he exhibited at the end of this campaign did not go unnoticed,” said CNN’s Jessica Yellin, “Not only by the media, but by average people, average voters who were sort of astounded by it.”

Did Bill Clinton lose the primary for his wife? That depends on who you ask. Paul Begala, former Clinton adviser: "I don't believe for a minute that Bill Clinton was a negative to his wife's campaign. And…if it helps them sleep easier at night to believe this myth that the most popular man on earth…was somehow a detriment...I want a case of whatever it is they are drinking." Former Republican National Committee Senior Adviser, Tara Wall thinks “Bill Clinton soured a lot of voters with the way he debased and degraded Barack Obama.”

Today the campaign says unequivocally Bill Clinton is behind Obama. And Obama wants that support. But the two have yet to be photographed together. David Gergen has talked to people close to the former president and reports that he’s angry but “it's not that he's got an anger directed at Barack Obama, but he really deeply believed that his wife deserved this, that she had made all the preparations, that she would be the better candidate, the country would be better served."

Filed under: Clintons Never Quit • Raw Politics • Tom Foreman
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Louise

    Bill Clinton was absolutely right to be outraged at the way his wife was treated by the DNC, the superdelegates and most of all – the media, especially cnn! Jack Cafferty, Wolf Blitzer, Bernstein, Donna Basile, nearly every commentator was embarassingly besoted by Obama letting everyone of his misteps slide. Sexism turned out to be the more powerful force in the primary election than racism. Hillary is to be commended for sticking it out until the end, most candidates would have thrown in the towel with the beating she took, instead she listened to the voters, the people who are supposed to count. Bravo for her and nay for the rest of you.
    I and millions of others hope she will be on the ticket but my fear is she will become the scapegoat when and if Obama loses. After all, he apparently can do no wrong.

    July 14, 2008 at 12:27 am |
  2. Sonali

    Bill Clinton, the best President of the time did not lose it for his wife. The astonishing hatred for Clintons by the Media and DNC superdelegates is the reason she is not the nominee. She is the most intelligent, strong and inspiring woman I have ever seen in a politician. Both CNN and MSNBC are the worst news networks of the Day. Even Anderson Cooper couldn't stop blushing in front of Obama. Shame on you. I will do my best to make sure Obama the flip flopper loses in November. He voted wrongly on a very important FISA bill which has just done it for me. A confirmation on his empty Rhetoric about "Change" in fact he is the politician who will do or say anything to win the elections.
    Preisdent Clinton and Senator Clinton have a vision for the country and Fortitude to work towards it. Obama is a slime ball corrupt politician with no vision just ambition to get power. Please post this. CNN.

    July 12, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  3. J.V.hodgson

    Dear Mr. Foreman,
    I think it is simple. Mr Clinton had no choice but to support his wife however he could. He should however as an experienced politician have kept his emotions and the more outlandish of his comments in his pocket. It would have helped HRC campaign in a much better way.
    Those who complain about the media must know, as he did ,that every word he uttered would be dissected unmercifully as have all other candidates sound bites.
    Bills apparent reluctance and saying nothing relative to the title of this report or meaningful support to Obama speaks volumes and certainly equates to him not having "Quit "on HRC for President.
    The sooner the Democratic party and Obama's Campaign stop this nerdy conversation, and just let him decide sooner rather than later on his VP the better.

    July 12, 2008 at 1:47 am |
  4. GAIL Centre,Al;

    The news media hasn't helped Hillary or MCcain, they've tried to give it to Obama. Foxs news sure isn't fair and balanced maybe balanced on their scale. Cnn hasn't been fair either, maybe somebody needs to keep Cnn honest. we'll see how much coverage.MCcain gets positive or negative.

    July 12, 2008 at 1:14 am |
  5. GAIL Centre,Al;

    Bill Clinton has a right to be disappointed. The way the domocrates did Hillary, espeacially Gov. Richardson alias[JUDAS]. After all Bill Clinton was a very president. the economy was good, unemployment, very low, NO WAR, balanced the budget. and plenty more, and this is the way he and Hillary have been treated. He got a good reason to stay mad as long as he wants. Everything is not O.K. we'll have to see what happens at the convention, it's going to be like a circus, can't wait to see what happens becaause, something's brewing.

    July 12, 2008 at 1:04 am |
  6. Pat

    Hi David;

    Bill was right. She was the better Candidate, the more intelligent Candidate, the more experienced Candidate, the more compassionate for the less fortunate Candidate, the more able to get the job done Candidate, the more gutsy Candidate, the more passionate, stand up for all Americans Candidate, the more true to her beliefs and the more apt to never sacrifice her beliefs Candidate, the more loyal to all Americans Candidate, the more experienced and practiced Candidate on an economics front, the more known and respected Candidate, the more favoured Candidate. So how come she lost? She lost because the Media chose to support her Democratic Candidate and put her in a negative light every chance they got. Unfortunatey, America will pay for their misguided interference. So, I'd be angry too if I was Bill Clinton and not about who won but about how he won and why. I think Bill's anger is justified and understandable. And that's more than I can say for the Media"s biased position.

    July 11, 2008 at 11:56 pm |
  7. Karleen

    Bill was attacked right along with Hillary. America's press was at her like a modern day witch hunt. America seems to be more sexist than many other countries. We couldn't even have her run without the press attacking her the most out of all the candidate's. She was light years ahead in strategy plan and intelligence. Bill was a loyal husband and was great at standing up for his wife. He was not out of line or spoke out of place. The media attacked him unfairly because the powers that be on wallstreet want Obama.

    July 11, 2008 at 10:56 pm |
  8. Joe

    This "special report" is one reason I'm upset with CNN and Anderson Cooper 360.

    If Anderson Cooper 360's slogan is "Keeping them honest," (and the Blog says "It’s what we’re about at 360°), why isn't CNN and Anderson Cooper 360 honest about the program?

    The first thing to consider is that it is supposed to be a roundup of the news of the day, with commentary by experts, talking heads, etc., about the issues raised by the day's news. That said, here's the dishonesty.

    First, the program appears in my TV guide as a Monday to Friday 2 hour program. In real life, the first hour is the the original material. The second hour – except perhaps for a few brief news updates – is a repeat of the first hour. So, as it's really a one-hour program that then goes into "repeats" within a minute, CNN and Anderson Cooper are falsely listing their program with the media. That's dishonest.

    Second, Friday is listed the same as Monday to Thursday. But usually, Friday evening is an "Anderson Cooper 360 Special Report." In other words, it has nothing to do with the day's news. It's something they compile at some earlier point in time (and is often a repeat), giving the staff the Friday night off but still passing the program off as "Anderson Cooper 360" in their listings. Again, it's dishonest.

    I wouldn't complain if they were upfront, listing the show as one hour and the next hour as a repeat of the second hour. The only time that doesn't happen is when there is some catastrophe or special event. And I wouldn't complain if they listed Friday as "Anderson Cooper 360 Special Report" or "Special Documentary", but they don't. They make you watch a bit to see if it's going to be a news commentary program (which is special on a Friday) or a "night off for the crew".

    I've complained to CNN, never received any response. Despite what CNN and Anderson Cooper claim they're doing with others, it seems to me that, with CNN and Anderson Cooper, there's really no way of "Keeping THEM honest!"

    July 11, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  9. Cameron

    CNN debased the Clinton's and probably hindered any chance of unity for the Democratic Party because of far left biased incendiary commentary – 95% pro-BHO – true today and for the entire election process. Enjoy your Obama AD $ while they last, cause your ratings are going to continue to plummet over time as the luster of BHO's pompous rhetoric wears off. Bill Clinton's legacy will live on as one of the most successful popular U.S. Presidents of all time.

    July 11, 2008 at 10:22 pm |
  10. lampe

    I want to know why it is that when Obama stands up for his wife he is a gentleman, but when Pres. Clinton stands up for Sen. Clinton he is a racists. The Blacks supporting Obama are the racists, Obama and his wife are racists along with all their anti-white preachers. Pres. Clinton was and is a wonderful man and anything he did in his private life that did not hurt, us was his and his familys, you men that make these remarks are sick for you would be the first in line. The DNC stole this not only from The Clintons but the true Dems. not these once in a lifetime voters,who could have cared less about The USA. talk about being a bunch of bad winners and haters. Obama supporters will be crying come Nov. for the sins of The Dnc.

    July 11, 2008 at 9:54 pm |
  11. Bill from Alabama

    Bill Clinton is absolutely right! America would have been better served if Hillary Clinton had won the Democratic Nomination. She had the platform ,which Obama adopted since he had no platform of his own,and she had the political connections and extensive experience to acheive her agenda,not to mention she has a very popular and charismatic former President for a husband ,Bill Clinton,who could be a great help in acquiring support for her proposals and bills. She was our best hope of actually achieving the Universal Health Care,balancing the National budget,and fixing the economy that we need so desperately.......and she would have done it in a manner that would have been the least costly to our society. Hillary's platform was her goals for which to aspire;Obama adopted her platform,but it was simply his means of getting elected. Now that Clinton is on the sideline,Obama's platform is undergoing metamorphosis,and is looking more like a Republican platform. Obama's stratagy is simply this,"barring all issues are similar or the same,I'll win,because I have the United African-American Caucus,and the young people,so all I have to do is say the same things that are important to the people,that McCain says,and I'll garner enough of his voters to sway things my way. After all,I'm much younger, I'm black ,which will be a first in American History,and I'll have the edge". Obama is flip flopping all over the place,because his words aren't goals to achieve,they are a means of winning. Winning is all that matters,not ones promises. The media changed everything,when they came out with their anti-white,anti-feminist stance,and ligitimized their actions by believing that their stance was a means to counteract what they called "white entitlement" that they were unjustly accusing and projecting on to everyone ,but Obama. Hillary should have still won with the popular vote,but the Super-delegates failed to do the job they were designed o do. After the Rev Wright issues,and Father Pfleger's anti-white comments,there was a dramatic change in the Dem. Primary. These issues had definitely flawed Obama,and the people responded by turning out in record numbers to vote Clinton. But ,instead of the super-delegates responding to the people,they remained in line,and, out of fear,continued to walked on whatever line the media drew. No one wanted to face the wrath of the Media or the African-American caucus.

    July 11, 2008 at 9:10 pm |
  12. Bet in NY

    I was and still am hoping Obama will pick Hillary as his running partner. I believe she will be an asset to Obama because she's smart
    and powerful in her beliefs and is Bill.

    Hillary know's no boundaries when it comes to quiting.
    She is always in touch with what each party is doing therefore
    getting the "scoop" if you will, on what each candidate and their so called Vee Peep is up to!. She's a lady in every sence of the word and
    the first lady of the Dem party. Obama should stop and smell the coffee before he actually turns her down as his VP. Hillary doesn't know what quit means. People who voted for her are all hoping she will get the VP after all she has gone through.

    There is no match for Bill Clinton, He's charming, smart and a pro when it comes to getting things done.
    He also wants best for his wife as he is understanding enough to
    cut the white house lawn if need be to help her.

    They don't quit and never give up!!!

    Bet in NY

    July 11, 2008 at 8:52 pm |
  13. Nita,Petersburg,VA

    Does he not realize, yet, the majority of the people feel differently?
    People will say what they truly feel when really angry, sorry or not.

    July 11, 2008 at 8:42 pm |
  14. esbee c.

    please--slimeball was a compliment for Todd Purdum. It is simply not okay for reporters to call public figures names and insult them without expecting the same in return

    If you are a reporter and you have a following then you are a celebrity as well-it is open season. So do not dish it then run and hide behind-oh but I am a reporter-who gives a rip. And that includes the author of this article.

    Real Simple journalist -regardless of which side you are on-you can't call names then cut and run for the door.

    July 11, 2008 at 8:02 pm |
  15. mike cannon

    Yesterday's homerun does not count in today's ballgame..When Bill was President, he was the homerun king as in good peace-time economy and the balanced budget(of course!), but like most home-run hitters; he struck out as many times as he hit homeruns..Enter Monica Lewinsky and the cigar, or all those crooks he let off before leaving office. By the way, where was all that Hillary drive and initiative back then?Needless to say; yesterday has come and gone,(Thank God!!).."Change we can believe in implies a new day, new leadership, new ideas, and new politics..Why anyone would be wondering what Bill Clinton thinks or how he feels is beyond me..The Clinton's can cry in George w. Bush's soup because both of them are yesterday's news..Here's a refreshing thought :Gen Colin Powell for Obama's VP..Now..That's change we can believe in..

    July 11, 2008 at 7:23 pm |
  16. Annie Kate

    Bill is disappointed it seems to me and having a hard time accepting the loss – losing a race like this that you have put so much work into and so much passion into is a lot like losing a member of the family – you go through the stages of grief. No one expects you to be "ok" the day after the death of a loved on or even a month after. This loss is much the same; we need to give Bill Clinton his space to come to terms with this and quit wanting instant gratification.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 11, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  17. Susan, PA

    Well she was entitled. Wasn't she?
    After all, she is the wife of ex-president, a white and most important, a woman.

    When will we get over with the privileged mentality?

    USA is not a third world where dynasty should rule or is it? After all in last 20 years (28, if you count Bush Sr's vice presidency) Clinton-Bush has ruled.

    July 11, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  18. Jim

    I was soured on the Clintons While He was President .For you Youngsters that don't remember " Monica Gate" or "WaterGate" (I've seen both in my 45 years )
    I do not care WHO you are- The Highest Office DEMANDS the Highest
    RESPONCIBILITY & ACCOUNTABILITY! You look me in the eye & lie through your teeth I have absolutly NO USE for you.
    To Whom More is Given- MORE is REQUIRED God will be his Judge
    & HE WILL stand & give an account before God & He won't be able to B.S. his way out of or around it with " That depends on what the definition of IS is".

    July 11, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  19. Charles Cager

    Bill Clinton sounds to me like he's mad at the people becuase they pick somebody else other than his wife. thanks god we live in a
    democray. I can see him and a lot of other policticans putting people in office over the will of the general public... Or are cwe sort of headed that direction.\

    July 11, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  20. sue fancher

    I say go CLINTONS,you were great there,s no one that can match you,,not even OBAMA..He will not get my vote,and none of my familys vote..Because i can see the way you were treated i thank this was another steal..my advice to you CLINTONS stick this one out,,let OBAMA try and get HILLARY women to vote for him..come on CLINTONS voters let get behine MCcane we can stand 4 more years of rep.rule,,beside MCcane is not a Bush

    July 11, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  21. Clair

    Clinton is disappointed because he knows it is his bad reputation that cause his wife to loose

    July 11, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  22. jan rutter

    I shutter everytime I hear someone from the Obama camp think or speak of President Clinton as being racist. this just inferiorates me to no end. During this campaign anything that President Clinton said was put under the microscope, however, I found anything Obama said, might have caused a stir for a brief moment but then ended. Bill Clinton was the best president we have had for our country... unfortantely, with the Clintons, you either hate them or love them... there are those so blind to see the inbetween which is too bad. should bill clinton give Obama the time of day... i believe he could give him some good constructive critizm but Obama to me is to arrogant to accept good advice....

    July 11, 2008 at 1:26 pm |
  23. Susan


    At times Former President Bill Clinton was a negative influence on his wife's campaign, but I do not believe that he was the reason that she lost. Early mistakes, FL & MI and the superdelegates are why she lost her bid to be President. Let us put the blame where it belongs.

    With his recent comments about POW's this signals to me that President Clinton is aboard the Senator Obama bandwagon. His heart may not be in it, but he will do what he needs to do.

    Then/Now– He is consistent in how he speaks his mind and his method of commenting has not changed.


    P.S. I am rather disappointed in the manner in which he has conducted himself. I believe that he was the best President that we have had in many years.

    July 11, 2008 at 1:16 pm |
  24. Keith Abrahams

    It has been disgusting to watch the blatant promotion of Senator Obama by CNN throughout this campaign. Roland Martin and Donna Brazile cannot contain there exuberance every time they mention Obama's name.

    Bill Clinton was right – Obama has used the race card. Obama has used it in the most surreptious way. CNN has never forcefully challenged Obama on this issue.

    When will CNN have the journalisitic fortitude to cover this presidential race in an open and objective manner?

    July 11, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
  25. Greg

    How long will Bill continue this? Until he has lost it for the Party.

    July 11, 2008 at 11:31 am |
  26. Cindy

    I don't blame Bill at all for getting mad during the last part of Hillary's campaign in the primaries. I mean look at how the media and everyone else was treating Hillary. She was everyone's punching bag. It was OK to say or do anything about her but woe be it to say one thing wrong about Obama...which is still the case! He had every right to be mad.

    He still is mad IMO. That is why he and Obama haven't gotten together face to face just by phone. Bill may stump for him but he won't be in love with him!


    July 11, 2008 at 11:10 am |
  27. Mark from San Diego

    Bill has made an embarrassed himself and shown all the world especially the Democrats what he is all about. Good riddance to him and his equally embarrassing wife from this lifelong Democrat

    July 11, 2008 at 10:58 am |