Obama on Bill Clinton: ‘I Want His Help’

By Jennifer Parker

Jun 25, 2008 10:08pm

ABC News’ Jennifer Duck reports: Sen. Barack Obama will meet with his formal rival Sen. Hillary Clinton tomorrow at a fundraiser in D.C. before campaigning with her in their first-ever joint campaign appearance in Unity, New Hampshire.

Behind the scenes, reports of tension between the two camps have been ongoing, whether it be on the topic of Obama helping retire over $10 million in Clinton debt or the one-line statement of endorsement this week from former President Bill Clinton.

But today, Obama had nothing but pleasantries for the Clintons.  Watch the VIDEO HERE.

"I want her campaigning as much as she can. She was a terrific campaigner,” Obama said of Sen. Clinton.  “I think we will have a terrific time together in New Hampshire. And I think that she will be very effective all the way through the election.”

When asked by reporters about Clinton’s primary campaign debt, Obama admitted, “We don’t have some ten-point strategy to do this. What I said was to my large donors, who are in a position to write large checks, to help Senator Clinton retire her debt, or at least a portion of it. And I think there are going to be those who are willing to do so.”

The low-key endorsement by former President Bill Clinton also raised some eyebrows this week.  Instead of endorsing Obama on television with hundreds of people cheering at a big venue — like former Vice President Al Gore and former Sen. John Edwards’ endorsement — the former president issued a short statement from his spokesperson announcing his support for the presumptive Democratic nominee.

But during a Wednesday news conference with reporters, Obama brushed off media questions about the "tepid" endorsement. 

"It is understandable that the former president wouldn’t want to upstage what is going to be, I think, a terrific unity event over the next day and a half,” he said.  “I’m going to be appearing with Senator Clinton, the former president’s wife who was involved in an epic, historic primary with me, and then I’m going to be campaigning with her on Friday.”

On Bill Clinton’s role in his campaign, Obama said, “I want him involved. He is a brilliant politician. He was a outstanding president. And so I want his help not only in campaigning but also in governing. And I’m confident that I’ll get that help.”

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