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. Matt from Pittsburg

    He is just a tired old politician. He has lost his touch and will never regain it.

    April 22, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. NickSanDiego

    Bill can't help himself at this point. I think this is a pre-meltdown and it is sad. I used to fight for and deeply respect this man. How could I have been so wrong?

    April 22, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  3. cheeky of PA

    Shut up, Bill.

    April 22, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. King of the Hillary

    Good job Bill. If this had to be said, at least say it after PA's primary today. I voted for Clinton in NH but now I would take it back if I could!

    OBAMA 08!

    April 22, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  5. Enough Already

    Give me a break!!!! I believe that Bob Johnson's comments did more damage than this comment. Either way, both Bill and Bob Johnson said a ton of things that were out of line. As a result, you lost the South Carolina primaries and many more after that.

    A wise man once said...if you don't wanna play the sport, than take your uniform off. Right Bill. Maybe it's time for you to unsuit:-)

    April 22, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. Rebel Yell

    Bill, it's all over but the crying.

    April 22, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. Phillip-Little Rock

    It's truly a shame that the Clinton legacy will be remembered more for this than all the good things HE did while he was in the White House.

    Hillary will soon be out of the race, and we'll all be better for it.

    GO OBAMA '08!

    April 22, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  8. elaine

    Th is to me sounds like Bill is whining???? If he can't take the heat he should get out of the kitchen. How dare he complains about twisting words and the truth...Hill and Bill are the masters at this. They both make me sick.

    April 22, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  9. cody

    It was an odd statement on Bill's part, and played in with their attempts to downplay Obama's showing. I'm really tired of the Clintons, but I'll vote Hillary even if she seemingly "steals" the nomination at the end of this simply because in relation to foreign policy, John McCain's positions are hard to bear. Voting for Obama today though, no doubt.

    April 22, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  10. mdg

    “We were talking about South Carolina political history...."
    South Carolina political history?
    sure – right, we believe you, Bill! (wink! Wink!)

    April 22, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. LER

    I don't know about anyone else, but I am so tired of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

    April 22, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. Johnny Boy

    More lies, more of the same old, same old Clintons. HE IS NOT ENTILTLED TO ANOTHER TERM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 22, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. Kathy from IL

    To the person who asked if Obama supporters have jobs. 52 year old 30years a nurse, female, and I know my politics do you. Go Obama and Hillary scares me as well as most other educated americans.

    April 22, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. Larry

    It goes to show you how Obama, the racist, elist, liar will say and do anything to get elected.
    HILLARY 08

    April 22, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. PA Voter

    I really wish CNN can prove and be journalist for once and look this up...oh wait you wont because you will find that obama did look for any opening to play the race card. Us voters are not stupid.

    I really wish you can put this to rest and look it up!

    April 22, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. jfs Memhis, Tn

    I wish that Bill would do something constructive for the Democratic Party for a change. Maybe he could start campaigning for McCain. That should keep him busy until after the Nov Election and give the democrats an advantage. Hopefully Hillary will be joining him (with all of her Girls) in the very near future.

    April 22, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  17. mike

    They started playing the race care when the said "fairytale"; they are crazy. Blacks were just looking for a reason to vote for a black candidate no matter what – he could be a murderer or terrorist and they don't care – they are voting for him no matter what.

    April 22, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. marcnaimark

    If he runs out of speaking gigs, Bill Clinton can always get a job as a stand-up comic. He's got me laughing pretty hard right now.

    April 22, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  19. johnny

    Obama has been playing that card from the beginning and continues to do so. I find it very detrimental for Obama to deliver a speech on race while continuing the divisive racial tactics. Not being able to criticize someone because of a fear that you will be labeled a racist sets race relations back about fifty years. His campaign is right when they talk out of one side of their mouths, you should not vote against someone because of their race. But they're wrong when talking out of the other side of their mouths, you shouldn't vote FOR someone because of their race either.

    April 22, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. Robert

    It seems that Billy has lost his mind, there is an old saying that people show thier true nature once they get money and listening to the comments of "Billary" over the past year shows that this may be the case

    April 22, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  21. Marge Hibbing Mn

    Of course he has played the race card. During the Clinton administration more things were done to help the black people in this country than in the previous 20 years.

    And of course the MSM doesn't tell any of this, they don't tell where obama had to be begged to attend black business caucus in Illinois and then didn't show up. Any and all things pertaining to the furtherment of blacks in Illinois he had no part of, he couldn't be bothered t attend.

    Now he is trying to pretend he will do anything and everything for blacks in this country. If the MSM just told HALF THE LIES obama has told he would be back in the senate and hoping he could be re-elected.

    April 22, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  22. Tim from PA

    Bill and Hillary Clinton lost all the respect they have from me. As a matter of fact, as soon as I leave this computer, I'm going to vote for Obama. I can't believe some of the things that the Clinton's campaign has been saying or doing. Oh lord!

    April 22, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  23. Quinn - PA

    Just finished voting for Hillary.

    Obama has played the race card from day one.

    April 22, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  24. Obama.. is a McDaddy and I love Him

    BILL PLEASE SHUT UP~

    April 22, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  25. rdog

    bill shut up... I can't stand you clintons.. you lost all respect !!!! people actually liked you .

    April 22, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
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