Can Bill Clinton Unify the Dems?

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This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," August 27, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: This Clinton reunion continues, by the way, former President Bill Clinton expected to pick up where his wife left off when he delivers his big speech tonight, and say that Obama is OK, even though, lately, he has been anything but OK, saying anything remotely supportive about the Democratic nominee.

And building the suspense, well, we still don't know exactly what Bill Clinton is going to say, because the press hasn't seen a text of his speech. And — get this — neither have the Obama folks.

But a former Clinton confidant Chief of Staff Leon Panetta says the Obama folks have nothing to worry about at all, that Bill will deliver.

Well, Leon, they are not so sure.

LEON PANETTA, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, he — if there is one thing the Clintons know how to do at a convention, it is deliver a speech. And you heard Hillary do it last night.

Video: Watch Neil's interview with Leon Panetta

And, tonight, there is no question in my mind but that Bill Clinton is going to wow them as well.

CAVUTO: But, you know, Hillary, prior to her speech last night, was doing a number of supportive things, appearing at joint events, individual speeches, fund-raising.

Bill Clinton has done none of that. So, the tongues wag here he is attacked. Is he ticked?

PANETTA: Well, you know, I don't think it is about that, so much as you got Hillary Clinton, who got 18 million votes. She was the candidate. She's the one that, frankly, has to embrace Obama and try to bring the delegates . Bill Clinton was in the campaign, but he was not really running, in terms of the race.

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CAVUTO: Come on, Leon. He's the husband of the woman who is. He's the former president.

PANETTA: No. No, of course. But — but it — look, right now, what you have got to do is, you have got repair the relationship between Obama and Hillary Clinton and — and the Clinton delegates. That is where it has to be done. And Bill — Bill Clinton...

CAVUTO: Where do you think that — where do you think that stands right now?

PANETTA: I think that what she did last night was really probably the best speech, best convention speech I have heard somebody give, in the sense that she had to basically say why she ran, what were the issues that she cared about. And, because of those issues, that is why you have to support Barack Obama. She — she turned that corner, and I thought she did it very well.

CAVUTO: Are you going to count the number of times Bill Clinton says Obama?


PANETTA: You know, you are going to hear the name Barack Obama, but I think...

CAVUTO: Have you talked to him? Have you talked to the president?

PANETTA: I think what you're going to hear, you will probably hear a lot more about John McCain.


Have you talked to Bill Clinton?

PANETTA: Not in the convention and not in the last few days, but I know him well enough that, let me tell you, he is — he is going to do everything he's going to be expected to do.

CAVUTO: So, why did he say that stuff yesterday, you know, you can support a candidate 100 percent on the issues, and still go for someone else? I mean, it was a goofy thing to say, right, in the middle of a convention.

PANETTA: Yes, but, look, a speech is different from catching him off the record that way. I think...


CAVUTO: I am not speaking out of context. He said that.

PANETTA: No, but, you know, he is a guy who is going to — who is going to say those kinds of things, because that is — that is what he feels.

But when it comes to the speech, he knows that the role right now is to unify the Democratic Party and to do everything possible to get Barack Obama elected. And I that's what you're going to hear tonight.

CAVUTO: You probably with him more the most. You know him. He has a temper. Is he mad right now?

PANETTA: Oh, look, I am sure he is as disappointed by what happened in this presidential race as anyone.

But he is also one of those people who understands that you have to move on. And that's what you're going to hear tonight.


Leon, a pleasure seeing you. Thanks very much.

PANETTA: Neil, nice to see you. Take care.

CAVUTO: All right.


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