July 31st, 2008
04:19 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain says 'race card' charges are fair

McCain talked with CNN's John King Thursday.
McCain talked with CNN's John King Thursday.

(CNN) - John McCain told CNN Thursday it is fair for his campaign manager to claim Barack Obama is playing 'the race card.'

Watch McCain: Obama's playing the race card

"I'm sorry to say that it is. It's legitimate," McCain told CNN's John King. "And there's no place in this campaign for that. There's no place for it and we shouldn't be doing it."

Earlier Thursday, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis lashed out at the Democratic presidential candidate over his comments that Republicans are making an issue of his race.

"Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong," Davis said in a statement sent to reporters.

An Obama spokesman immediately denied the assertion, but noted that the presumptive Democratic nominee believes that the McCain campaign was “using the same old low-road politics to distract voters from the real issues.”

At three stops in the battleground state of Missouri, Obama told audiences that his opponent is trying to make voters “scared” of him because he doesn’t look like past presidents – an apparent reference to being black — and has a “funny name.”


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (526 Responses)
  1. Ted:Canada

    Read this – this is funny!

    “Race Card” Wow!!
    Have you noticed that all on all Political Ticker pictures, McCain and the Republicans look “mad” check out today’s string. Also when CNN interviews the Democrats and the Republican surrogates on TV, the Republicans all look the same – they all look and sound “mad”!

    Now I now you don’t want to hear from foreigners even if I am and older white Canadian

    But it looks like the Repub’s are always mad?

    They are mad at Obama for being white and black
    They are mad at women for asking questions about birth control bills
    They are mad at Europeans/World for liking Obama
    They are mad at celebrities – so much for Shwarts
    They are mad at Americans who simply want a change from the last eight years
    They are mad at Hillary and the Bill because they are a threat to the Republicans.
    They are mad at Americans who “whine” because they lost their houses and or jobs.
    They even pretend to be mad at George Bush, their mentor and leader for the last eight years.

    Is possible that they are just “MAD”

    And now they are calling Obama a racist? Now that is really “mad” !!!!

    Come on Repubs next time you are being interviewed by CNN – put a smile on your face – you guys are good at pretending!!

    Watch out CNN! – if they get mad they are going to blame you for not having enough "smiling pictures" of the Repubs.

    July 31, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. Jack

    Notice how the McCain campaign doesn't even cite examples. What we're seeing here is their campaign falling apart before our very eyes. Negative ads with false claims, now race, soon it'll be back to the flag pin and his middle name. Desperation at its finest.

    July 31, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. AKRON, OHIO OBOMA SUPPORTER

    OBOMA IS THE MAN FOR PRESIDENT

    TO BAD MCCAIN CAN NOT FIND THE FIRE HE IS LOOKING FOR. THEY CAN TRY TO BURN OBOMA BUT THEY CAN'T FRY HIM.

    AMERICAN PEOPLE YOU WILL BE SO STUPID TO VOTE FOR MCCAIN JUST BECAUSE YOU DO NOT LIKE OBOMA. YOU WILL JUST BE HURTING YOURSELF IN THE LONG RUN.

    July 31, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. Clinton, no, wait, McCain Supporter

    McCain's statement about Obama using the race card is absolutely accurate. Obama is squealing now because someone finally called him on his subtle use of this sad tactic.

    Keep up the good work, John!

    July 31, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. Elly

    MCSame is taking the low road completely opposite of what he said his campaign would be * the typical old washington*
    Saying today* I hate WAR* We all know he eats lives and breathes war
    MCsame is so full of BS its a wonder his eyes arent brown
    maybe he would come across as more real if he stuck to the issues

    July 31, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. dennis from chicago

    barack obama needs to run his mouth during the DUEL he challenged mc cain to enter

    July 31, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  7. REG in AZ

    One more point. I noted where, after McCain flip-flopped on his off shore drilling stand, the oil companies donated $1+ million to his campaign. That reenforces a couple of things: where his loyalty will be and who he will be indebted to (more Special Interests focus); and how the money will be there for more public opinion manipulation (2000 & 2004 style). I sincerely hope the voters are up to being objective and see through this stuff this time around.

    July 31, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. Jamal

    American love to be lied to,race is the biggest factory in this race,Thing is know one will admit it,Obama's skill in politics has nothing to do with it.Most White americans,plain and simple just don't want to see a black president.This why hillary supporters switched over to Mc Cain..
    "Its very obvious".People can make all the excuses they want,Black Americans/and Black People all over the world know this.

    July 31, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. Chuck

    Ok, Obama is playing the race card because there is one African American out of all eligible African Amercian voters who has yet to make up his mind if he is going to vote for Obama or not. Gee, that makes sense.

    July 31, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  10. Javi

    If someone decided to vote for McCain instead of Obama solely because of skin color, name, or any of the ridiculous myths floating around, would McCain or the RNC reject that person's vote? Really, one shouldn't stir up fears and then lambast another for coolly addressing them (and then moving on rather than dwelling).

    Oh, and I must thank the McCain campaign for bringing up Paris Hilton. Just when she was out if sight and off the minds of so many of us, you pollute our minds and give lazy news directors a reason to inundate the airwaves with Ms. Hilton. This is almost sure to be followed by some lazy exec in Hollywood who will now decide to attach a project to the celebutante whose 15 minutes seemed to be thankfully in the past.

    July 31, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  11. Roger from CA

    But the Right IS trying to make everyone scared to elect the black guy...... why else the insistance on not letting go of Rev. Wright? Why else the pushing the anti-affirmative-action referendum in Arizona? Many other issues.... They are the ones trying to drive a wedge between whites and blacks.

    Granted, it isn't central among their outrageous tactics, but it is there.

    McCain is the biggest hypocrite there is.

    July 31, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. ARE-YOU-FOR-REAL

    Maybe if BO use a commercial of an old gray dog with McCain head attached hopping and trying to rush to that 3:00 am phone. Well you fill in the rest.

    July 31, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. Nick

    They played the race card against Bill and Hillary and everybody who even dared to criticize Obama and his empty change message. now they just overplayed and people are tired of this.
    Why is he in the politics? Does he think that "papa" Dean and momma Dona Brazile with cousins Mattheus and Olberman and Borger and other bias journalists are going to keep his empty words in the media and activly campaign for him.
    McCain 2008

    July 31, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. TRUTH

    This DEMOCRAT & family our voting for McCain 08, obama played race card with Bill Clinton and with the help of oprah & caroline kennedy played and won. But maybe oprah is going to get what she wanted with a McCain win now. oprah the closet republican

    July 31, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  15. Sheri

    McCain, OLD GEEZER!

    July 31, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. Trill

    Actually, McCain played the "Race Card" . Anyways, where did this "race card" phrase come from? It sounds like a feeble attempt to downplay any talk of racism as if it doesn't exist. Well racism exists and the majority race has been priveledged in this country since it's founding. Even if Obama said something about race, good for him. he is breaking down barriers for all minorities whether it is race, religion or gender. But you weak and closed minded peopel cover your ears and yell they are playing the race card if someone mentions race.

    July 31, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. Steve

    McCain, your politics of fearmongering is working. With each new attempt to discredit Obama instead of talking about real issues, I become more and more fearful. Of YOU! Your constant whining and finger-pointing reminds me more and more of my four-year-old grandson.

    All I'm asking you to do, is to tell me what YOU and YOUR administration are going to do for America. What are YOU going to do to fix the economy that Bush took from a 128 billion dollar surplus to an almost 500 billion dollar deficit in 8 short years. What are YOU going to do to fix healthcare? What are YOU going to do to resolve Mideastern problems (without bombing the hell out of them..which Bush has found out doesn't work). What are YOU going to do to repair American's incredibly crappy reputation, world wide? I want you to talk about your programs and plans. I want you to go one single day without uttering Obama's name in a negative way one single time.

    You compare Obama's popularity to Hollywood starlets? I compare your popularity to the crotchety old man that lives down the street from me, and yells at kids to get off his lawn.

    Presidents don't whine. Presidents don't continually blame others for their own impotence as a leader. Presidents fix things (usually, except for the last 8 years). If you can't do even a few of the things I ask, get lost.

    July 31, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. Whats left in your wallet?

    What a sad little man.

    July 31, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. gary cimino

    When Americans look at the situation they are in after 7 years of Republican rule, it is amazing that the polls are so close. It should be a Blowout! I don't know how Mcbush can look people in the face and act like they had nothing to do with the wars, economy, borders, immigration and housing mess. If ever a party was running on empty,it would be them. From my side of the border, it looks like Americans vote for the party they belong to regardless of the present day situation. So, there is a philosophical divide between liberals and conservatives that shows up at the polls. John Kerry made Bush look like a bumbling idiot in the first debate and Bush still got elected using the fearmonger card. McBush will do the same to Obama.

    July 31, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. Don of Fairfax

    Typical Democratic whining . . . look at the posters on this site . . . you address a true American hero as McShame, McBush, McThisandThat . . . you reference his age, his health and his wife's wealth . . . now you cry because your candidate played the race card and got called on the carpet for it. You are the ones that can't have it both ways . . . you are the ones that are resorting to desperate mean-spirited language. If you truly want to know why I won't vote for Obama, it's because he is all fluff and no substance. Do yourself a favor and list both candidates Senatorial accomplishments side-by-side . . . guess who has the short list or should I say no list?

    Obama is best described as a "flash in the pan".

    Vote McCain in 2008

    July 31, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. Mikey

    ANYTHING to avoid discussing the issues. The McCain camp has spent most of it's energy attacking Obama and mostly personally and not on the issues. The main thrust of those attacks is to paint Obama as someone we should not be comfortable with – elitist, reckless, naive, etc.

    Other than the surge, which as at least temporarily reduced the level of violence in Iraq and yet remains to be seen if it actually leads to political success there, McCain seems to have little else to say about the issues facing the American people.

    Obama's idea to negotiate with Iran and Korea is criticized, then adopted.
    Obama's idea to focus more on Afghanistan is ignored, then adopted.
    Obama's idea for a 16 month timetable is simultaneously criticized as naive and seriously discussed by Maliki, McCain, and Bush.

    Anything to avoid talking about the economy, where McCain is basically clueless and his primary economic advisor thinks Americans are whiners who are only suffering from a 'psychological' downturn.

    The McCain camp would clearly rather have this election be about personality and that McCain is a guy you can be more comfortable with because he is more like you, than about judgment, capabilities, and the issues. Does 'more comfortable' include looking like the guys on our currency? Certainly his right-wing media cheerleaders have wandered over that line. The McCain camp itself has at least been very close.

    July 31, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. Michele, Oregon

    Just watch McCain when he thinks he’s got a good line in a town hall speech about Obama and you can literally see him glint, raise his eyebrows, give a little foot lift etc. as he is very proud of himself. Today when he was interviewed by John King you could tell he was going along with the campaign about Obama playing the race card BECAUSE HE THINKS IT MIGHT WORK, but not that he really believes it himself. His body language is very telling.

    I am white, but I do believe that the McCain camp has been playing a subtle race card when they act like Obama has the audacity to go act presidential overseas (uppity/arrogant for a ....), when they try to make him not like "us", etc. I do think that Obama has to be careful when speaking about race though as it will be used against him when he does and turned around at every turn as though he is the one playing the race card, such as in the primaries.

    July 31, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. Debby

    Sandra: McCain has never brought race into the equation so how is his campaign doing so. Obama in Germany the first things out of his mouth were I look different from any other candidate standing here in the past. What is that all about then certainly not his big ears!!!!!!! McCain is right Obama uses race when he is a little down and out, he did it with Clinton and now since he isn't soaring in the polls he is using it now. I said in another thread if he has any merits keep preaching those not his skin color.

    July 31, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Whether you think that Mccain's ad was low road or not, it didn't make any reference to howw Obama looked. Obama's campaign comment about not looking like the presidents on dollar bills was playing the race card. Obama did the same crap during the Democratic primarys.

    July 31, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. Ben

    at 72 anything goes for this old fart!

    July 31, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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