March 17th, 2008
12:45 PM ET
7 years ago

Bill Clinton: We did not play race card

CNN

Watch Bill Clinton speak with CNN's Sean Callebs.

(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton defended his role in his wife's presidential campaign in South Carolina, disputing claims he made race a campaign issue.

"What happened there is a total myth and a mugging," Clinton told CNN's Sean Callebs in New Orleans, Louisiana, over the weekend.

"It's been pretty well established. Charlie Rangel ... the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in unequivocal terms in South Carolina that no one in our campaign played any race card, that we had some played against us, but we didn't play any."

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soundoff (344 Responses)
  1. carmen

    Go away Bill, you've had your two terms (thanks in part to your African American supporters) You and the Mrs had your joint tenure of the White House. To hear her tell it she was running it all by herself. How else could she have racked up all that "experience"? You did play the race card. Ferraro played the race card. Rangel told you two Clintons you are getting 'mugged'? Yeah, right. The only myth here is the one you are the self-righteous wife are trying to spin. This white person, is not buying it.

    March 17, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. BL-NYC

    Senator Obama has divided the Democratic Party...
    It would be the biggest mistake in history to nominate someone with as little experience as this man, at this time...

    March 17, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. Carolina

    I thought Obama was going to run a "clean" campaign –with NO negatives. HE SURE HASN'T KEPT HIS WORD ON THAT PROMISE!
    There are negatives day-after-day. Headline-after-headline.

    THIS IS A PREVIEW OF HOW WELL HE KEEPS HIS PROMISES.

    IF he were to get into the White House, it'd be the same story!
    No thanks! "A leopard doesn't change his spots" when he's in a different location.

    IF OBAMA WAS STRONG AND CONFIDENT IN HIS ABILITIES AND EXPERIENCE – he would have to no need to resort to these tricks.

    March 17, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. VOTE OBAMA-VOTE WRIGHT!

    I can see Obama with his late night phone calls to Rev Wright,"What do you think I should do about China's issues with the Tibetins, or what does Farrakan think would be the best thing to do about this or that?" Do you Obama supporters really trust this guy? He has presented two different faces so many times during this campaign. Do you like that he is affiliated with a gangster and Obama just admitted that there was really another $100,000 that came to him, look at the news, just yesterday's news!!! He is not doing anything new in politics, he is just talking like he is doing something new. Can't people see the light?
    I really was interested in this guy at first until I saw that he has little substance or know how in regards what to do as a Senator and I can't even perceive of him as a president!
    Vote Hillary, she is who she is with her faults as well as her excellent political knowledge. You'll be glad you did.

    March 17, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Peter

    Rush, Bill you went on Rush Limbaughs show. Explain that and then we can talk. Dittoheads for Clinton I wonder why.

    March 17, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. Debra

    I think it is the Republicans who are playing civil rights against equal rights against us. The Democratic party has always been strong on both. We are a diversified group. But we are going to hand this election to the Republicans if we can not get our message out.. I think that the Republicans are the ones fueling this.

    March 17, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Kerrie

    LOL...Slick Willy makes me laugh, i swear. The man will never admit to any sort of wrong doing-why is that? He uses Charlie Rangel as a reference of black support-please. Charlie is as irrelevant as Ferraro, Wright and Hagee...lol. Thank-god, Obama is going to be the nominee, because we can see what a potential Clinton administration is going to look like if Bill is back.

    March 17, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. ChicoSez

    Baraack Obama looked into the camera and told the world he didn't know what his pastor had been preaching for the last 20 years. Now if that isn't a lie I don't know what is! Since he has lied once, he'l lie about everything, isn't that right. What has Hillary lied about?? Everyone calls he dishonest and a lier but they never say what for. Oh she murdered Vince Foster. The 90's, in case you were too young to remember them, were years of peace and prosperity due to Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary. The republican smear machine, which invented all the slanders that you read in these comments, spent 100's of millions of dollars attacking both Clinton's and all they came up with was an extramarital affair by Bill. Hillary was completely exonerated by Ken Starr. Please deal with reality not your hopes o some scandal derailing Hillary like what has happened to Obama.

    March 17, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. Adam "Hussein" SC

    To quote George W. Bush:

    "Bologna!"

    March 17, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. CR

    Maybe Bill can define the word "racial" the way he defined the word "is"...

    March 17, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  11. Carrie PA

    01/20/2009: The day of no more Clintons and Bushes. Bill Clinton is a lier, period.

    March 17, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  12. stuart cooper

    OBAMA IS NOTHING BUT A BOLD FACED LIAR WHEN HE SAYS HE NEVER HEARD THESE REMARKS FROM HIS PASTOR. HE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF HIMSELF.

    March 17, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. Mike

    "he and his wife" is incorrect English. It should be "him and his wife". C'mon CNN get with it.

    And everybody knows that the Clintons didn't play the race card. The Obama camp totally turned that whole situation on them. It's disgusting.

    March 17, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  14. marge

    Of course The Clintons played the "race-card". But in retrospect it's good he did,because that helped Obama.
    In reference to what Rev.Wright said MOST of what he said was RIGHT!!!! Since when is TRUTH considered HATE????
    What we have here are a bunch of stupid women that don't know American history.
    I hope the Obama campaign continues to press Hillary on her experience which she has lied about,and full disclosure of the WH papers.
    In the long run it still won't matter to her supporters, most are blind and uneducated,so they will continue to be led to slaughter.
    Do Hillary supporters really believe she can win in Nov without the AA vote???? If she can,she will be the first to ever do it!!!
    Translation...It will never happen!!! Bill knows it!!!!

    March 17, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. Lin

    Obama is a disgrace to our party. He needs to do the right thing and exit stage left!

    March 17, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. MJB- Decatur, GA

    Yeah, only Bill Clinton could deny playing the race card... WHILE PLAYING THE RACE CARD!!!! Really, Bill???? It was a "mugging"??? "Interesting" choice of words there.

    The Clintons make me sick.

    March 17, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  17. Alberto

    The race card was played by the Obama campaign. And is still being played.
    Obama now comes with incredible excuses like "I was not at church when the pastor said such things." Incredible ! he never heard this in 20 years!!
    It sounds just like the ridiculous excuses for voting to support child predators (Obama says that he pressed the wrong button when voting).
    Michelle Obama reflected the racist words of pastor Wright when she said that she was not proud of being an American until now that her husband is running for office. Ms Obama's statement is clearly in line with the pastor of their church and translates the feeling in her family, including the Senator. Imaging the Republicans trashing Obama on this subject!! And this time Obama can not vote "present" he must take a position, for a change.
    Another falsehood: Obama says that he would have left his church if he knew!! How come he did not leave his church when they honored Farrakan? They are the racists, people be aware

    March 17, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  18. E. C., Houston, Texas

    IF ANYONE HAS PLAYED THE 'RACE CARD' .....IT'S CERTAINLY BEEN THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN ....TIME AND TIME AGAIN. IT IS NOW VERY, VERY APPARENT JUST HOW THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN FEELS ABOUT RACE. QUITE OBVOUSLY, OBAMA IS NOT QUALIFIED TO BE PRESIDENT OF THIS NATION AND A LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD. ANY MAN WHO HAS SPENT 20 YEARS BEING GUIDED BY A RACIST PASTOR, AND WHO NOW SAYS THAT HE'S NEVER HEARD SUCH RANTING, RAVING, RACIST SPEECHES .....IS A JOKE!

    March 17, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  19. MyMy

    Perhaps I'm missing something here and someone can enlighten me but there appears to be a dramatic double standard here. "Mugging", "fairytale" and references to factual information (Jesse Jackson did win SC in a similar fashion to Senator Obama, LBJ was instrumental in helping move forward MLK Jr.'s objectives) are clear signs of racism but "the US of KKK A", "the United States of White America" and the like aren't – there just being taken out of context.

    Regardless of which candidate, or which party, you support I do not understand how applying double standards can help.

    March 17, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. David, Charlotte, NC

    The SC primary was my turning point.....from the possibility that I could support Obama to a decision that I could never support him. The race angle played out every day from the Obama camp. It became apparent that Obama's camp was looking for every opportunity to accuse the Clintons of racism. There was absolutely no substance to any of those comments. Why is this an issue? The Obama camps are trying to paint Clinton as being the one who began using divisive tactics and they point to SC. Do we really want to continue to hear the excuses from Obama's supporters? What we really need to hear is Obama saying that he is unable to represent ALL of America and is withdrawing from the campaign. Don't be so critical of Bill for refusing to allow Obama to rekindle the division that he and his supporters planed leading up to the SC primary. It is the OBAMA camp who keeps bringing up these issues.

    March 17, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  21. Angry American

    What, it's acceptable to be black and play the race card as they always do and that's O.K. But, be a white person and and blink one eye and that's racist or playing the race card. Obama ought to be ashamed!

    March 17, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  22. j williamson

    For everything that's been said against Bill Clinton during this campaign season – much of it unfairly – the fact remains that if he were again able to run (for president) he'd win in a walk. This is what bugs his detractors the most. Change the law and let two-term preidents run again – after one-term of sitting it out.

    March 17, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  23. carol graham

    I DID NOT HAVE KNOWLEGE OF WHAT MY PASTOR SAID!!!!!!!!
    I WAS ASLEEP IN THE PEW BETWEEN MY WIFE AND OPRAH.

    March 17, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  24. Loretta

    Has anyone seen youtube? Please type in "Hillary videos uncensored" and view the "real Clintons." You will be amazed. Sorry, to burst your bubble Clinton supporters

    March 17, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  25. Kurtis

    I am sick and tired of BO fans. Once Hillary wins the nomination, they can catch up on all their back episodes of American Idol and Showtime at the Apollo waiting on their DVRs and leave the real politics to the masters!!!

    These jerks harken back to a day when REPUBLICANS impeached a President because he lied...about sex. Before you open your little pie holes a dredge all that BS up again, think about what YOU'VE lied about...think about all YOUR dirty, slezy little secrets and how you'd feel if they were exposed before a nation.

    March 17, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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