April 22nd, 2008
02:20 PM ET
10 years ago

Bill Clinton: 'I choose not to play your games today'


Watch former President Clinton respond to a question about his 'race card' remark."

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Bill Clinton denied Tuesday he had accused the Obama campaign of ‘playing the race card’ during a Monday interview. A recording of the former president making the comment during that interview has been circulating online.

Outside a Pittsburgh campaign event, a reporter asked Clinton what he had meant “when you said the Obama campaign was playing the race card on you?"

Clinton responded: "When did I say that and to whom did I say that?"

The reporter replied that the former president had made the remarks during his interview with WHYY Monday night.

"No, no, no, that's not what I said,” said Clinton. “You always follow me around and play these little games. And I am not going to play your games today. This is a day about Election Day, go back and see what the question was and what my answer was.

“You have mischaracterized it to get another cheap story to divert the American people from the real urgent issues before us, and I choose not to play your games today. …

“I said what I said you can go back and look at the interview, and if you will be real honest you will also report what the question was and what the answer was. But I'm not helping you,” said Clinton.

Clinton did not respond when asked what he meant when he charged that the Obama campaign had a memo in which they said they had planned to play the race card.

Filed under: Bill Clinton
soundoff (538 Responses)
  1. Ed

    Out of boy Bill. All the garbage they're throwing at you and Hillary is not going to hide the fact that Obama has been playing the dirtiest games with his race and those "who don't look like him". We all know now who the racists have been all along. Obama's "Typical" comment speaks volumes.

    April 22, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. frustrated

    Can either of the Clinton's tell the truth? Is everything they say a lie? Oh wait they didn't lie–they just misspoke!!!! If she is the most qualified candidate to answer the emergency phone at 3 am, our country is in deep trouble!!!

    April 22, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Jim

    This is getting a bit old coming from Bill. Let's hope the results of his comments are the same as they were in South Carolina.

    April 22, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. clinton muehlenbrock

    I have alot of respect for bill clinton. He lies alot and i mean alot but he did a very good job as president. This election must show an example that you don't have to lie to get things done. I have no respect for bill clinton's charactor but i do his work ethic.

    obama 08

    April 22, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. maya

    Um, media, I know that Obama has avoided all press for about 10 days (he's hiding after the debates), BUT this IS about HILLARY vs OBAMA.

    Please go and report on one of them. Or, if you insist on Bill- go find Michelle and see if she has decided if she is proud of our country yet (she may be waiting for the PA primary results first).

    April 22, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. CDO from CT

    I don't understand why this surprises anyone anymore. I used to admire Bill Clinton when he was our president I never really cared for Hillary. Since this campaign has started I have lost all respect for this man. The lies that come out of his mouth I have to wonder sometimes if he even believes them. This is the same man that stood in front of cameras and told the whole nation "I have never had sexual relationship with that woman". Pennsylvania please, please, please put an end to this. It is in your court! We really need to move on. The sense of entitlement is sickening.

    April 22, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. Who are we the USA

    No no not today....i'm not playing your games today....mayble he'll play the game around may 6 in NC and IN.....they only play by the rules when it's convenient or in their favor....wow, just like michigan and florida....back in january they didn't care about rules and she was quoted saying "everyone knows they are not going to count"...that's when she thought it was a slam dunk, but little did she know Obama is great at basketball......now, the rules of the game are not fair and they shoud count.....hey people of Michigan and Florida, I love you all, but put the blame on where it belongs, on your local government. they are the ones the disenfranchised you not Obama.....

    April 22, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  8. Obama 08

    Al Monroe-
    If Clinton doesn't win by double Digits she has lost the nomination for sure. Win, she will, but she needs to win big. And to your second point, the Clintons are proven liars. Just read THIS article. You have to be delusional not to see it!

    April 22, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  9. bond

    Shut up already Bill! You've been playing games with the American people for the past 15 years! Go away! You have single handedly torpedoed your wife's chances!

    April 22, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Darrell - Wisconsin

    Mr. President,

    You were asked: "What does it say about Senator Obama that it takes two of you to beat him?" Thats when you said: "Jesse Jackson won here in 84 and in 88. Jesse Jackson ran a good campaign and Senator Obama has run a good campaign. He (Senator Obama) has run a good campaign everywhere."

    Obama didn't and hasn't played the race card on you for this at all. The media did that enough. There were many Americans, even the ones who supported you who thought your comments were ill-advised.

    I'm sorry Sir, but you have lied to the American public before and it is my business. I supported you, defended you and you lied right to my face. For you to say now, "no, no, no, that's not what I said", painfully reminds me of the last few years of your administration.

    For the record, you did say Obama was playing the race card on you and you have memos saying that they were going to do this all along. Not only is that another lie, but a disgusting lie against someone in your own party.

    For the record, you should issue a sincere apology to Senator Obama and his wife for your thoughtless and disgusting remarks and accusations.

    April 22, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. we wanh hillary, not mccain...screw him.

    Is the Clinton campaign about Hillary...or Bill?

    April 22, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  12. Bart

    Please folks, send Hilly and Billy back to the hills.
    These two do not understand what Truth is all about!

    April 22, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  13. Joy

    Well he's over 60 and it was something he said late at night .. he was tired.

    Guess he won't be able to answer the 3 am call either.

    April 22, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. david

    Why on earth won't CNN quote the question and the answer, verbatim? How helpful are stories like this. Good grief.

    April 22, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Terry

    I think I would have found Hillary more favorable if it wasn't for Bill. This is new territory with an ex President being the spouse for someone now running for the nomination. Should he act more Presidential or the protective husband?

    Not sure what the right answer is; I guess my vote was being more Presidential. I think in the end he would have carried more weight and been more helpful to Hillary. Admittedly, leaning toward Obama might be distorting my view. I will be interested to read what others think.

    April 22, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. Marcel

    As an Obama supporter I think Bill Clinton has been our best weapon. Like Iowa Bill is the gift that keeps on given. They can't control him, he is out of control. I use to think that Bill had a great politcal mind but the truth is that if his name is not on the ballot. He can't deliver. Oh my God Bill has lost it he is washed up.

    Obama 08

    April 22, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. Teddy

    I have been saying that American have come a long way. But there are people like Bill and his wife who would really like to play the race card. Why does he need to raise this issue today? Is he reminding that "the good people of Pennsylvania" should consider the race issue now as most of them are white. It is really bad.

    April 22, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. gary

    The thing is, during the 80's and 90's when Bill was a competent politician, there wasn't the same level of coverage with audio and video available instantly to everyone. Now that everything he says can be recorded and made universally available to everyone, he is constantly getting caught in his lies, half-truths, and innuendos, because they are all recorded, so can be compared. Old habits die hard, and he can't break the habit of lying. Gotta love ol Bubba!

    April 22, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |

    I love it when Bill opens his trap-though I would much rather McCain be up against Hillary-cause we will be witness to the greatest landslide in history. John will get 80% of the popular vote-and she and her husband will finally retire to Dubai where Bill regularly goes and shares military and other national security breeching secrets and where he makes his living badmouthing the country he nearly ruined.
    And then there is Barack and his mobster financiers and terrorist friends...The Republicans could have run Pee Wee Herman and clobbered these two reprobates!

    April 22, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. Roger

    Ok, Bill, let us remind you what you said.

    INTERVIEWER (RE: Jackson comment): “Do you think that was a mistake, and would you do that again?"

    CLINTON: "No. I think that they played the race card on me. And we now know, from memos from the campaign and everything, that they planned to do it along.

    Another lie from the Clinton camp.

    April 22, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. George M

    Gotcha Bill!!

    April 22, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |

    Again, another "I DID NOT" moment for the Clinton's. Go Obama. Hopefully the Clinton's will just crawl back under their rock. A rich rock, but a rock just the same.

    April 22, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Tracy

    Bill is trying to sink Hillary's campaign. It's working.

    April 22, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. jk

    "third world politics at its best"

    April 22, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  25. Smith

    hyenas after the downed prey

    April 22, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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