Image: Bill Clinton
Susan Walsh  /  AP file
Former President Bill Clinton says he is eager to get on the road for the Illinois senator.
updated 7/17/2008 3:04:13 PM ET 2008-07-17T19:04:13

Former President Clinton said Thursday he is eager to campaign for Barack Obama whenever the Democrat needs him, but has not given any thought to whether he wants to speak at the party convention in Denver.

"I told him that whenever he wanted me to do it, I was ready, and so it's basically on their timetable," Clinton said. "He's got a lot of things to do between now and the convention, of which this is simply one, so I'll do whatever I'm asked to do, whenever I can do it."

Relations between Clinton and Obama have only just began to thaw since Obama defeated the former president's wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in the bruising Democratic primary that ended last month. Throughout that bare-knuckle race, Bill Clinton had portrayed Obama as too inexperienced to be president.

Since Obama clinched the nomination, it has remained an open question as to what role Clinton would play in the campaign.

Just weeks ago, Obama called the former president to ask for his help in winning the White House.

At a news conference for his foundation's work, Clinton said he had not thought about whether he would like to be a convention speaker. Typically former presidents get a prime-time speaking spot at the party gathering.

Clinton said he had a "good talk" with Obama on the phone and is eager to get out on the road for the Illinois senator.

Clinton also was asked whether he had spoken to the Rev. Jesse Jackson regarding the crude off-air remark Jackson made about Obama in what he thought was a private conversation during a taping of a "Fox & Friends" news program.

Clinton said he had not spoken with Jackson, but added that Jackson was right to apologize to Obama for the comments. He also was a bit sympathetic.

"If all of us lived on live mics, then 100 percent of us in this room would be embarrassed from time to time," Clinton said


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