April 22nd, 2008
10:27 AM ET
7 years ago

Bill Clinton: Obama camp 'played the race card on me'

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Former president Clinton campaigned for his wife in Pennsylvania recently.
Former president Clinton campaigned for his wife in Pennsylvania recently.

(CNN) - On the eve of Tuesday’s critical Pennsylvania primary, former President Bill Clinton accused Barack Obama’s campaign of playing the race card against him.

After the phone interview with Delaware radio station WHYY Monday night, a stray comment of his on the issue was also recorded before he hung up: “I don’t think I should take any s*** from anybody on that, do you?”

The former president had been asked whether his remarks comparing Obama’s strong showing in South Carolina to that of Jesse Jackson in 1988 had been a mistake given their impact on his wife Hillary Clinton’s campaign. “No, I think that they played the race card on me,” said Clinton, “and we now know from memos from the campaign and everything that they planned to do it all along.”

“We were talking about South Carolina political history and this was used out of context and twisted for political purposes by the Obama campaign to try to breed resentment elsewhere. And you know, do I regret saying it? No. Do I regret that it was used that way? I certainly do. But you really got to go some to try to portray me as a racist.”

He added that the way Obama’s campaign had reacted was “disrespectful to Jesse Jackson” and that the former presidential candidate had told him he was not offended, and that “we all know what’s going on."

UPDATE: At a Pittsburgh press availability, Obama was asked about Clinton's charge that his campaign had drawn up plans to use 'the race card.'

“Hold on a second,’’ he said. “So former President Clinton dismissed my victory in South Carolina as being similar to Jesse Jackson and he is suggesting that somehow I had something to do with it? You better ask him what he meant by that. I have no idea what he meant. These were words that came out of his mouth. Not words that came out of mine.’’

Related video: Watch Obama respond to Bill Clinton's 'race card' comment

soundoff (316 Responses)
  1. Bitter in Texas

    Dear Bill:

    Ya-know, I think you've blown it.....I voted for you twice, gave you the benefit of the doubt when you told us "you did have sexual relations with that woman, and I even thought I'd vote for you again. But, I've seen the truth and the light, No More Clintions....our relationship is OVER.

    April 22, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  2. Philly Kid

    WOW

    April 22, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. John

    Por favor. If anything, I hope the campaigning ends so we don't have to listen to this fool anymore.

    April 22, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. Kaseam Ali, Philly, PA

    Leave it alone BIll. You are a typical, bitter, white politician.

    April 22, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. p. lee

    I think Bill Clinton's point is better expressed as: Obama is playing the race card, by not playing the race card.

    By the way, it was Bill Clinton that brought up Jesse Jackson in the first place. Go figure.

    April 22, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. Dave

    Bill Clinton continues to be an embarrasment. He needs to (1. get his facts straight and (2. shut his mouth.

    I voted for him twice, but never dreamed he would turn out this obnoxious.

    April 22, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. Mike in Columbus

    Enough... Please!

    You lost... get over it... move on!

    April 22, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Virginia For Obama

    For me this is not about Bill, it's about Hillary. I would vote for him every day of the week, but I wouldn't vote for Hillary at all!! I think that is the problem people like Bill, but they can't stand his wife.

    April 22, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. Sharon Olds

    I do not believe Jesse Jackson sided with him. There he goes again.... Bill has had his day, time to give it up.

    April 22, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Mike A., Syracuse

    Yes, Bill. We know what's going on. Or does that depend on what the definition of "is" is?

    You won't have any legacy left if you keep on.

    April 22, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. Larry, Apex, North Carolina

    Gee Bill-hang it up! You and Hillary are OUT-read the writing on the wall before you humiliate yourself any more.

    April 22, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. Cindy- St. Louis

    Unfortunately, this former President has lost all credibility, all respect and all stature in his never ending pursuit of power for the "Billary" brand. What a sad footnote.

    OBAMA 08!!

    April 22, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. elana

    Jesus Bill- take it down a notch will you? The world will not end if Hillary loses – why don't you let Mr. Jackson determine if he was offended or not and how in the world can Obama have played the race card if YOU were the one that made the comment. Seriously, tone it down- you are making what should be an exciting time into a really unpleasant experience....

    April 22, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. P_Luvs_B

    Wow! Bill, please just go sit down somewhere and not speak. You're not helping your campaign, oops, I meant your wife's campaign at all!

    April 22, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  15. david

    Funny first he said that politics is a dirty game and now is complaining when his words are used against him. Thats what i hate about the clintons the hypocrisy. My vote is not for obama its anti clinton.

    April 22, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. King of NJ

    Come On Bubba STOP IT! Hillary going to make you sleep on the couch tonight

    Obama 08!

    April 22, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. PA_Hill-fan

    I agree with Bill that the Obama campaign planned to use the race card all the time. Bill Clinton was the best President we ever had in the last 40 years.

    April 22, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  18. Tone

    i guess to bill clinton the Obama camp is comprised of every single african american in this county who somehow dont have the ability to for independent thoughts on his comments.

    April 22, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  19. dirty politics is bad

    the man is insane.

    April 22, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  20. john

    who is whining now Bill? The Clintons are quick to condemn for behavior they exhibit to the max. More than any other reason, this is why I will never vote for a Clinton again.

    April 22, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  21. Terry from VA

    And we are supposed to believe him. Please after all the lies that they have told during the campaign about CAFTA, NAFTA, Bosnia, Canada, the authorization for W to use force etc... If he had an honest bone in his body it has broken.

    April 22, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  22. arthurW from Virginia

    Gosh, how many times will Bill try to Spin this and his remarks on a couple other occasions where he inserted foot into mouth until he lets it go. Not once has he suffered even a tiny bit of humility on this issue

    April 22, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. Jen Levine

    Does anyone else think Bills sentences seem ill composed? Is he becoming senile?

    April 22, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  24. priscilla

    Bill should grow up. he is the one who has ruined his wife's campaign. i don't think he wants his wife to be president, that's why he hasbeen so negative. so he should shut up. he played the race card. and now he is trying to put the blame on some one? how typical are theClintons they never take respondsibilty on anything bad just the good ones.

    April 22, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. Simone

    Of course, Bill. You and your wife are perfect. Why you wouldn't think of doing any thing off color. I hope for our sake your wife dosen't take Pennsylvania.

    April 22, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
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