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Bill Clinton speaks out for Barack Obama. Well, sort of

When we last saw the last Democratic ex-president of the United States, he was really, really getting ready to go out and campaign for this very ambitious young fellow from Illinois who with his Windy City crowd beat the ex-president's wife out of her rightfully inherited White House.

No hard feelings though, not among fellow Democrats. Not even when the winner didn't pick the near-winner as his female runDemocratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama and former Democratic president Bill Clinton in happier daysning mate, leaving an opening the size of Alaska for the Republican presidential nominee to pick a female running mate and shake the whole race up real good.

The Democratic ex-president made the wannabe Democratic president come up to his Harlem office last week to have lunch, all friendly like.

The ex-president made a prediction about Nov. 4 on-camera: "I predict that Sen. Obama will win and win handily."

That sound bite got wide play, as it was meant to because it was short and to the point. Also, the ex-president and the ex-president's wife don't want anyone to be able to say they caused the wannabe president's defeat come November, which is exactly four years from when they intend to win the White House themselves for good.

And although no one actually saw the two men shake hands at that friendly luncheon last week, their aides assured the media that everything went really well. So it must be true.

Now, it's one week later. And the ex-president tore himself away from still preparing to go out and campaign for the kid long enough to go on CNBC because ...

... several hundred people a day watch that channel and it's a good opportunity to not yet be out on the road campaigning.

Maria Bartiromo, who's one of the best broadcast financial reporters going, asked the ex-president about the neck-and-neck presidential race. We're going to do something a little unusual now. We're going to print the ex-president's entire reply for a reason.

These guys are professional talkers. They know precisely what they are doing and saying with every word. Last week the ex-president was clear and concise on purpose. This week not so, on purpose. See if you can find an endorsement in here from the ex-president, a sound bite or relevant point that would actually help Obama, or is it merely a verbal wandering and pro forma party prediction that no one can criticize:

"Well, the latest polls had Senator Obama up a little bit. And I think every -- I -- I think partly that's a function of the current distress, economic distress because I think the more people worry about the current set of circumstances, the more likely they are to change parties. I have always said that I thought Senator Obama would win this election because two thirds of the American people are having trouble paying their bills.

"And because of Democratic registration is up and Republican registration is flat. And because he has  offered some very specific and sensible economic reforms and health care reforms. And as I said, I've never concealed my admiration and affection for Senator McCain. I think he's a great man. But, I think on the issues that matter to our future, the Obama/Biden team is, is more right. That's what I believe. And I believe they're gonna win.

"But, I think that -- it will be competitive until the end. And our side has to work hard. But, I think what -- what typically happens in these elections if you look throughout American history when the country's in a fix and you know where we're going is not sustainable, then there is typically a breakthrough. The biggest example of that was in 1860 when Abraham Lincoln was elected. The Republican party had only been in existence for four [sic] years.

Democratic Senators Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois as they competed for their party's presidential nomination

"But, both the old-Whig party and the Democratic party had proved unable to resolve the dilemma of how to hold the Union together and stop the spread of slavery. So, they both had different approaches. Neither one were workin'.  So, the public said, 'OK, if we can't sustain this, we'll make a change.' That's what I think. Now, I think that the -- the people said, 'Well, they had the Congress and the White House for six of the last eight years. We're in trouble. We liked Senator McCain. We recognize he's a little bit of a different kind of Republican. But, we're gonna make a change.' And I think that's where they'll be and I think that you'll see a victory for Obama and Biden.

"But, I don't think you'll see it clearly. Barring some unforeseen development like in -- something happens in the debates we don't know about. I -- I -- I -- it may not be apparent in the polls until last week or two of the election. But, I believe that it will be apparent on election day. I think that -- I think Senator Obama will win this election."

This week no "win handily." This week no crisp sound bite. This week the election is seven days closer. This week still no ex-president on the trail for the wannabe.

And that, folks, is no accident.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo credits: Associated Press (top); CNN (bottom).

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McCain made the "joke" to a GOP fundraiser about "why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly -- because her father is Janet Reno." Yuk yuk. (This is the remark considered too offensive for most of the media to repeat.) McCain said this while Chelsea was still a teenager (and quite an attractive young woman, as she is today). McCain later called Bill Clinton to apologize. How does one make such a "joke", especially involving a teenager, who had done nothiing to him? And what does somebody say in the way of an apology? Political expediency aside, it is impossible to take seriously any of the kindly remarks about McCain from either Hillary or Bill. The truth is that McCain is a aggressive bully whose "across the aisle cooperation" consists of foul-mouthed vulgar red-baiting of a Congressional liberal Democrat, punching a US reporter in Managua in 1987, and exploding repeatedly at fellow senators, including from his own party. Maybe he missed his calling on talk radio. (The "joke" about Chelsea is reminiscent of an earlier one by Rush Limbaugh, when Chelsea was 13 years old.)

PN's misspellings and lack of writing skills speak volumes about his opposition to the Obama/Biden ticket. And once again, Mr. Malcolm cannot withhold his "true Republican colors" long enough to refrain from making snide comments about Democrats past and present. Remember this, Andrew: Bill Clinton ALWAYS spoke well of you!

I am still waiting for you Republican's supporting McCain to indicate one thing McCain has indicated he going to do and HOW.

Here is the big difference between McCain and Obama:

McCain: I am going to fix the economy
Questioner: How are you going to do this
McCain: I will lower the taxes on the rich and that will give jobs to the poor
Questioner: How are you going to make up difference in the ever increasing deficit.
McCain: Did you know that when I was a POW I was tortured and other bad things happened .....
(Question not answered... because it got hard)

Obama: I am going to fix the economy
Questioner: How are you going to accomplish this?
Obama: I am going to lower taxes on 95% of americans and up the taxes by 5% on the rich. I am then going to create millions of jobs by sponsoring new technology for energy. (On and on and on)
(Notice.. he provided WHERE the money is coming from and a specific plan for providing jobs)

While Obama is flawed... He at least presents us with how he is going to accomplish something. McCain only provides feel good talking points with no actual plan to complete it.

So again, Republican's who constantly say bad stuff about Obama what is your candidate good for? He has said NOTHING to date that indicates he has a clue on how he is going to accomplish his talking points. He is all talk and no substance.

Could be the former pres has plans for 2012 for the Clinton campaign. Everybody's been saying this and not since the VP selection but since the Primary Selection.

Vote for Obama and you will EFFECTIVELY END Hillary's chance at EVER becoming President!!

Obama has already destroyed Hillary's chances for this time around. He couldn't even do her the honor of making her VP. Don't let him end her
Presidential prospects forever.

Consider this:
If you elect Obama for 2008 , Hillary CAN'T RUN IN 2012!! The incumbent always runs for their party in reelection. This means Barack Obama, if President, will automatically be the Democratic nominee in

Hillary would then be 69 YRS OLD when she would get her next chance to run as President in 2016. Then people would simply call her too old(like they do McCain who is 72) and she would NEVER get a chance to
become President.

Reagan was 69 when he got elected BUT he wasn't trying to break the glass ceiling at the same time.

So if you care at all about Hillary, you will VOTE AGAINST Obama this time around. Plus, you will break the glass ceiling and Hillary WILL
BE THERE in 2012!!

Think about it!! It makes sense!!

If you support Hillary, YOU MUST VOTE AGAINST OBAMA!!!

terrible editorial.
When transcribing the words of an ex-prez you don't accentuate the stuttering and drop the 'g' as in workin' Despite any other content issues, this is just poor form.

(The good news is this isn't an editorial, about which you might be right. This is a blog. And a pretty unpredictable one at that, as blogs go. So we can and do do pretty much anything we want. We could even add smiley faces
if we wanted. Thanks for reading. :-) )

Rupert Murdoch just mention on TV that Obama's financial strategies are nieve! They go back to the 1960's!

ALL who aspire to power are to be distrusted!

Bill Clinton has made it abundantly clear from the beginning of this process that he can't get past himself. What did we expect? He was a great leader with human frailties. He did a lot for America. But he also caused a lot of grief for the democratic party. Why would we expect different behavior now? I say it is a testiment to the leadership ability of Obama that he was able to beat the Clinton machine. Against all odds! Think about how cool as a cucumber and organized he had to be to pull that off! That is who I want in the White house.

Forget this Dem/ Rep crap. That fact is McCain wants to keep us in the "Dark Ages". Vote for Obama because McCain wants to continue Bush's way of presidency. Why would anyone in their right mind want more war???? I had really good life when Clinton was in office and then on Sept. 11th 2001 my life became very difficult. I knew it would bad when W. Bush stole the White House. I did not imagine I would lose friends in the WTC, my good salary, my job at Deutsche Bank, my medical benefits, more friends who lost good jobs then got so depressed they lost their lives, my apartment, etc. Yes it is hard to get a well paying job. Now this is just me times several million people! I'm sick of friends from other countries calling Americans idiots for voting for Bush TWICE! Maybe we are dumb. So to consider McCain we must crazy! I will not go though this bull for another 4 years. It's just ridiculous. Nothing funny this..........

Clinton was very straight forward with his thinking on this. He was clear, again and again that Obama will win.

He was also realistic, this race will be close to the end. The reason that he hedged is he does not want to appear over confident. The Democrats need to fight like they might not win right to the end. The result will hinge on bringing all those new voters into play. Sounding like it will be easy would be a big mistake.

Now, as far as why he is not out thre yet. Well, Obama and Biden are running, not Hillary or Bill. Why should Bill be leading the charge. And, from Obama's perspective, he does not need his success or failure attributed to the Clintons. He does not want to owe them much, nor does he have to. He can win mostly on his own, with Hillary helping only. And she is - with the women's vote.

And as we all know, Bill has had a few moments when campaigning for Hillary when his age and his rage showed. When he said some rather foolish and unhelpful things. Obama needs him rested and working in the home stretch. That would be starting in October. At that point, he Obama will work Bill as much as he needs. That might turn out to be not very hard.

I find your article trying to kick up a stink about nothing here. Bill Clinton may be jealous, he may be sad, he may even still be a little upset or even angry. He has no right to be and he knows it. And he is a big man. He knows how to get past it and he knows what he must do. Help Obama, where Obama wants his help. And that he will do and do well.

You need to concentrate your article on the real issues of the day for a change.

Well it seems that after two weeks of the press, dems, view, chris matthews, olberman and the rest of teh leftist scum attacking Palin, now they are attacking JM the poles are neck and neck. If only the media would report the truth such as why the economy is in the state its in because Obammas buddies and contributors were allowed to screw it all up. You dont see them putting that on the front page. But let Palin show up with a eye shadow not perfect and she is a porn queen accordint to them.. what a bunch of royal crud. I will be so glad come november when the dems try and sue because they lost another close election.. we can recount chads, kick out the mitlitary vote, call the election wrong early in the night and you koolaide drinkers will still be singing the blues...

The fact is the Clintons have stepped aside for their own purpose.
They could have come out in a big way supporting Obama and brought with them many more votes and fundraisers.
They knew this but didn't want to because of future elections.
Lets not forget the fact that she is the one that brought forth most of Obama's contraversies (not qualified, Rezko, Ayers, 130 present votes) all in debates.
You cant say they dont have time...They set aside this time years ago thinking they would be the TOP of the ticket.
Obama didn't help matters any when he annoced respect for Reagan but not Clinton and skipped Hillary without even thinking of her for V.P. meaning she didn't have to campain for him.
Really maybe for the first time in the Clintons life there will be two levers in the booth when the curtain is closed.
Republicans wont say anything about it until very late in the game if at all.
Why? Because they don't want to force the dem. party to make them campain. They know that would only hurt Mccains chances. While the dems really dont want to push them anyway, well because its the Clintons and the risk of publicly announcing the devision in the dem party.

Muslim Father

A Marxist Mother

A Racist Pastor

A Terrorist Friend

A Jailed Realtor

A Racist Wife

Did Drugs

Sold Drugs

And you are looking at the issues this guy is presenting???

What about his character???

His judgement.

His choice of friends.

My God you people are so blind to all of this.

If he was my daughters husband I would seriously be worried for my daughter.

I wouldn't let my kids hang with someone like him.

Racists, criminals, shady people.

These are people we stay away from and all of you creaming in your pants over him.

You should all be ashamed.

This is not someone I want my kids to look up to.

If his name was Barrack Hussain Obama as it is but he was olive skinned, would you still be voting for him???

I don't think so.

Wake up people and smell the manure.

It's not the issues, it's the man.

Obama is not the man to be president.

This has become a joke.

If obama loses in 2008, hillary will not win in 2012. They need the black vote and they will blame her for that result. Black people will not vote or will vote republican.

"Attention Hillary Voters:
Vote for Obama and you will have DESTROYED Hillary's chance at becoming President!!

Obama has already destroyed Hillary's chances for this time around. He couldn't even do her the honor of making her VP. Don't let him destroy her second chance too!

Consider this:
If you elect Obama for 2008 , Hillary CAN'T RUN IN 2012!! The incumbent always runs for their party in reelection.

Hillary will then be 69 when she gets a chance to run as democrat. Then people will call her old(like they do McCain who is 72) and she will NEVER become President.

Reagan was 69 when he got elected but he wasn't trying to break the glass ceiling at the same time.

So if you care at all about Hillary, you will VOTE AGAINST Obama this time around. Plus, you will break the glass ceiling and Hillary WILL BE THERE in 2012!!

Think about it!! It makes sense!!

If you support Hillary, YOU MUST VOTE AGAINST OBAMA!!!"

So, basically you're saying that, despite the extreme contrast against Sen. John McCain's and Sen. Hillary Clinton's policies, you would rather have Sen. McCain as President just so Sen. Clinton might, and I repeat, might, have some long shot at becoming President in 2012. Are you just supporting Sen. Clinton blindly and not for what she stands? If you support Sen. Clinton then you would cast your vote for Sen. Obama in November. If you did not support Sen. Clinton from the beginning, then you would support Sen. McCain, Mr. Ralph Nader, former Rep. Bob Barr, or any of the other assorted candidates that fill our ballots.

...and bill clinton said, "blah blah blah...and didn't have political relations with that man, Barack Hussein Obama.
Who cares what Slick said or when he said it. he had a strong republican congress to make him take his medicine or he would have went the way of his administration prior to the republicans taking over.
what we need to do is fire the democrats in congress and put mccain/palin in and see if they can mop up the democrat mess.
otherwise, elect obismal and kiss your 401k bye,bye....

and this folks.... is EXACTLY why it was time to toss the Clintons out of the way...

they are mean and vengeful and selfish and ruthless and ... well... they are Clintons.

to sort of borrow from the enemy... WITH THE CLINTONS ... ITS CLINTONS FIRST. NOT COUNTRY (war authorization vote) AND NOT PARTY.

Obama broke the law when he bought that house in Chicago together with the criminal REZKO.Do we need the criminal president?

This article about Clinton and Obama is beside the point. The same can be said for articles about McCain and Palin, or about any other politicians in American life. The underlying causes of our current debacle have been year in the making, and the corporate elite are at the root of it.

It amazes me that people do NOT realize the enormity of our national problems. I say this because the problems we are struggling with:
Housing foreclosures
Shattered Infrastructure
Lack of Healthcare for many millions of citizens
Inaccessible education for many millions of citizens
Skyrocketing energy prices
Prolonged financial systems crisis
Destruction of govt regulation of the economy
Massive loss of jobs to cheap labor in the third world
Destruction of the American" middle class"
Trivialization of the U S Constitution
Destruction of the "Rule of Law"

All of these problems, and several others which I will leave unnamed, are a direct result of the process begun by the ruling elite who own the economy, a determined effort to destroy FDR's "social welfare state", for lack of a better term. It took 60 years, but the right wing elements within the wealthy class have finally succeeded in realizing their dream of rolling back the social contract, destroying organized labor, trivializing the Constitution, shredding the concept of national and international rule of law, and marginalizing the overwhelming majority of our domestic population.

This process was accelerated full throttle under Ronald Reagan and has been speeding ahead ever since. Now the American people are going to see the results of all this propagandizing by the wealthy class:
Free Market Forces

It's a very long list of euphemisms espoused by the ruling elite to disguise the REAL PROGRAM. Reagan's opening salvo in 1981 was to take aim and destroy the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (AFSCME). That opened the way for wholesale destruction of unions and the very legitimacy of collective bargaining in general. Look at the results today. Organized Labor is no longer a viable force in the economy.

At this late date, with no one in American public life protecting the general public, the commonweal, the population, we are all at the mercy now of the law of the jungle. The strong survive by eating the weak. We are back to pre-1929 "conventional wisdom". THIS time around there appears to be NO healthy segment of the society ready, willing and able to defend or implement the idea of the "greatest good for the greatest number". There goes our democracy (small d), a lamentable destruction acquiesced in by a bamboozled, dumbed-down, manipulated, fractured general population of nominal citizens.

Obama in the mud: So much for honesty

When Barack Obama first began campaigning in New Hampshire in early 2007, many voters swooned. We watched him speak to retirees in Claremont one snowy February day that year. Not a single voter we talked with before he spoke planned to vote for him. Afterwards, many said they would. The word that spontaneously came from the lips of multiple attendees: sincere. They couldn't remember a politician who spoke with such sincerity, they said. And many of them had been voting since World War II.

We wonder what those same voters think of Obama's sincerity now. In the past few weeks, Obama has thrown so many false accusations against John McCain that just keeping track of them has become difficult. And these aren't innocent errors. They are deliberate distortions of the sort Obama has always said he reviles.

Click for Editorials & Op-EdsOn Thursday, Obama said of McCain, "He has consistently opposed the sorts of common-sense regulations that might have lessened the current crisis." That's entirely untrue.

As The Washington Post pointed out in an editorial on Friday, McCain in fact has supported many new regulations of financial institutions, including some that Obama opposed. "In 2006, he pushed for stronger regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- while Mr. Obama was notably silent," The Post wrote.

Obama attacked McCain for having a top financial advisor who supported a deregulation bill a few years ago. Yet two top Obama financial advisors, with whom he met on Friday to help him form his response to the current troubles on Wall Street, supported the same bill, which was signed by President Clinton.

Also last week, Obama released a Spanish-language ad that portrayed McCain as anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic and tried to link him to immigration policies that were not his own as well as some choice Rush Limbaugh quotes that appeared to insult Mexicans.

Anyone who has followed the immigration debate knows that McCain is the most pro-immigration Republican on the national stage and that he is not in the least anti-Hispanic. To pull quotes from Rush Limbaugh, who has completely different immigration views than McCain and who opposed him on that issue for years (and still does) is completely disingenuous. The ad is so bad that even The New York Times called it "misleading."

Obama's campaign also accused McCain of lying when McCain's campaign ran an ad saying that Obama supported sex education for kindergarteners. But the bill in question, which Obama supported in the Illinois state Senate, did indeed change state law to allow sex education for kindergarteners.

Obama has said that he won't attack John McCain's motives, only his policies. But he has repeatedly attacked McCain's motives, suggesting that he has been bought off by oil companies and lobbyists.

Obama's greatest strength as a candidate, aside from his oratorical skill, has long been his apparent sincerity and decency. Voters attracted to him think of him as that rarest of things: an honest politician. He has claimed himself that he would never engage in the sort of deceptive politicking that he says has tainted Washington for so long.

Yet here he is violating his own professed standards. This is not the Barack Obama so many voters in New Hampshire and elsewhere thought they knew. But it is the real Barack Obama. For despite his rhetoric, he is in fact campaigning so dishonestly that even The Washington Post and The New York Times have called him on it. Which means that he is in practice no different from those regular politicians against whom his entire campaign has been built.

The above post by dragonfly777 misses the point. Obama is simply one of the least reprehensible of the generally reprehensible power seekers running for President in November. The closer one gets to power, the further one gets from the truth. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrups absolutely.

Far more sinister and dangerous are the powerful who own, operate, control and manipulate the economy and the government for their own private profit. What? At this late date people need to have this principle SPELLED OUT for them?

It won't matter WHO gets in. The damage is DONE! The die is CAST. The people are marginalized to the fringe. The law of the jungle is UPON us. The Supreme Court, the HOUSE, the SENATE, and the EXECUTIVE branch are all in the grip of the wealthy.

People need to read some American history, preferably our history from 1876 to the present, with heavy emphasis on political economy. The most conservative elements in business and government have always hated John Maynard Keynes and his view of the role of government in a mature, modern capitalist economy. All the deregulation we have seen since the Reagan assault on Keynesianism has brought us to this point in 2008!

NOW we get to see, over the next 25-50 years, just how COMPASSIONATE this so-called conservatism really is. This is NOT going to be resolved by Obama or McCain (although McCain will stick the knife in DEEPER and give it a firm TWIST for good measure).

The Clintons are only the more enlightened segment of the ruling elite, as are the Kennedy's, the Obama's, the Biden's and so forth.

The PNAC people and their ilk are the more openly hostile to any concept that the extremely powerful and wealthy ought to show SOME sense of noblesse oblige, SOME sense of true responsibility towards the masses of people who have very little. The people who have comprised this Bush Administration certainly fall into this latter category of the ruling elite.

Obama stole the nomination and did nothing to stop his followers smear the Clintons as racist. Now people expect the Clintons to go all out to support Obama and win the election for him? Surely you jest.

No affirmative action President - he has to earn it.

That's the bottom line.

Not all the king's men (in Obama's case the DNC and his 300+ advisors) can put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

The Bush-McCain-Republican way of economics DOES NOT WORK. It never did and never will. The markets have crashed and burned, the American people are now footing the bill yet again in the trillions of dollars for the same corporations and Republicans who own them that ruined us economically. When will Americans ever learn. OUR money is now paying THEIR debts, that same money will not go to schools, jobs, environment, Medicare, social security, you wait people, the worst is yet to come unless you elect people who know how to handle this, Obama knows, the Democrats know, just ask Bill Clinton, HE knew. We NEVER had problems like this when Clinton was our President, things were the COMPLETE opposite! Stop listening to idiots like McCain and Bush, they LIE LIE LIE, just look what they have done to our country! What more does anyone need to see? How many times do you need to be dropped on your head before you realize, hey that hurts!!

I heard President Clinton in a few interviews and I've read a few he gave lately, and he doesn't sound like an avid supporter of Obama at all. In fact in the last interview I saw he was telling the American public that voting was very personal and don't let anyone demean you if you wanted to vote on gender or race alone, or just one issue, or take into consideration all the issues, and he had really, really nice things to say about Sarah Palin. It was astounding, and the interviewer looked like she couldn't believe what she was hearing. He was much the same on The View too, and they all looked dumbfounded!
I was never a big Hillary fan, but I feel bad for the Clinton's, the Democratic Party betrayed them big-time and my feeling is if they screw one of their Washington own that bad, what will they do to the rest of us?
I'm listening to Bill and I'm going to cast my vote for the ticket with that lady, the one with the "little Down's kid", he's cute.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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