(CNN) - After a week of tense rhetoric regarding the role of race in the presidential election, Bill Clinton said Wednesday that it could cost his wife Hillary Clinton a win in South Carolina.
The former president told voters at a campaign stop in Charleston that race and gender considerations hadn’t cost his wife or Barack Obama any votes so far this campaign – but that some women voters might be drawn to Clinton because of her gender, and some black voters to Obama because of his race: “They are getting votes because of race and gender. That’s why people tell me Hillary doesn’t have a chance to win here.”
Roughly 50 percent of South Carolina’s Democratic primary electorate is black. Barack Obama is leading that group in most recent surveys.
Bill Clinton also addressed concern over his potential involvement in his wife’s administration if she wins the election next November, repeating earlier assurances that he would not serve in the cabinet or hold a full-time staff job.
“She has to have a strong vice president, a strong secretary of state and a strong cabinet,” he said, and “they need to know on the front end that I'm not gonna be big-footing them. That is not my job. I have got a whole other life out here,” spearheading the non-profit Clinton Foundation.
“But I will be there,” he added. “I will do for her what she did for me - I will talk to her about everything.”
Former President Clinton will be campaigning in South Carolina through the Democratic primary this Saturday.
–CNN’s Emily Sherman and Rebecca Sinderbrand