Bill Clinton: ‘I’m Not Standing in Obama’s Way’

By Jennifer Parker

Jan 22, 2008 5:48pm

ABC News’ Kate Snow, Susan Kriskey and Sarah Amos Report: Former President Bill Clinton spent the day campaigning for his wife across South Carolina today, determined to talk policy more than politics.

And for most of the day it worked.  From the Lizard’s Thicket diner in Columbia, to a stop in Aiken and a community development center in Greenville, President Clinton spoke about healthcare and the economy; immigration and education.  But that final stop in Greenville, voter Chris Busby had a couple of other questions on his mind– regarding Senator Barack Obama.

"You know, you’re often called the first Black president," Busby began. "And I wanted to ask, a lot of us believe that Senator Obama eventually will be the first black president. Are you gonna be okay with having stood in his way? And do you think that will affect your legacy amongst the blacks here in South Carolina?"

"Yes and no. I’m okay because I’m not standing in his way ," Clinton responded, " I think Hillary would be a better president."

Clinton went on to cite the economic and foreign challenges facing our nation as a reason that the country needs "someone who has the absolute competency and is ready to do the job on the first day."

"That’s not standing in his way," he said, "No one has a right to be president, including Hillary."

The former president, who has come under fire for calling components of Obama’s Iraq War position a "fairy tale" said he has never given a talk where he hasn’t expressed his "admiration" for Obama.

But, Clinton said, " I think it would be just as much a change, and some people think more, to have the first woman as the first African American president."

Clinton did not forget to answer Busby’s question about his legacy either.

"My legacy, whatever it is, is done. I did whatever I did. By my measure it’s pretty good. People are better off at the end than when I started," said Clinton.

Busby’s question was timely, considering the subdued turn Clinton took at events today. He tried to focus all his speeches and questions strictly on policy issues, staying away from the flare-ups voters have come to see in recent weeks. At a diner in Columbia this morning Clinton told reporters that while the media is interested in the politics of the race, the voters only cared about policy.

Clearly that was not the case here in Greenville as the audience seemed overly eager to hear Clinton’s answer to the question. And in fact, it was not the only time personal politics were brought up at the speech. By the end of the rally Clinton had answered three questions related to Obama.

"I kinda like seeing Barack and Hillary fight," Clinton non-chalantly admitted to the crowd at one point.

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