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. candi California

    Come on CNN!! It is clear you are in the bag for McCain. This article is an attempt to verify McCain's stupid remarks.

    July 31, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. Clinton Supporters for McCain-PA

    Thanks McCain! Finally you are showing what this inexperienced freak is about! I admire the Clintons and him and the media destroyed Bill and Hillary! It is time for a change!

    NOBAMA
    John McCain 2008!

    July 31, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. Nia Hussein- Phoenix, AZ

    So he is actually going to run with this one....good luck with that McKeatingFive

    July 31, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. joe kiloz

    RITH ON Senator McCain ! I'm with you on this one. This is the same nonsense that Mr. Obama has learned from Johnny Cochran. Not only should you say that it is right on, point out the disservice it percolates to those who are trying to break into the mainstream. We don't need any more of Obama's yelling "fire" in a crowded theather.

    July 31, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  5. Belle

    This is too much like an Instant replay of the Primary. Unfortunately, Senator Obama doesn't know some of us are over the shock, and actually see what he is doing. Although it worked against Clinton, I am not so sure the same nasty politics will work against McCain.

    However, CNN will twist any story to make it appear as though Obama is blessed.

    July 31, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. Amusing...

    So, those people posting about Obama being a secret Muslim are from the Obama camp?

    July 31, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  7. Nate

    deepintheheart- That was a fantastic way of putting McCain's claim on the race card in to perspective. You couldn't have explained it better.

    Q: So given the reality that it's obsurd to say Obama is playing the race card what are McCain's motives?? A: Every person who has a negative view of Obama or has racial stereotypes or bias will be sympathetic to McCain's complaint. It's another way of bringing race into the election and using it against Obama.

    July 31, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Miguel Rivera

    John McCain's campaign is becoming George W. Bush 2004 campaign right before my very eyes. John McCain is crying wolf on the "race card" issue and the "elitist" label.

    Every campaign, the Republicans say about Al Gore and John Kerry, "he is out of touch with the american people", "he's too risky," "he will raise your taxes," "he supports big government."
    Looks like now let's try the same thing on Obama and hope it works.

    John McCain has been using the "age card" and no one is complaining?

    July 31, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Vic

    Obama and his henchmen did it to Bill Clinton (with an acquiescing, oh-so-insightful media) so why wouldn't they try it on McCain

    July 31, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. fred

    Oh my gosh. People, who cares if Obama is black, or a mix, or whatever you want to call him. The racist people are those who think that everyone who doesn't support Obama doesn't support him because of his color. Well, you guys are all wrong. Who cares what his color is, and who cares what he says in his speeches. His ideas are horrible. All you people who are saying "Yes We Can" probably don't even know what you're saying "Yes We Can" to. Yes We Can_____ What???? If it's all about Obama becoming president, of course he can, because people like you guys don't look at his record and just listen to his mouth. If it's Yes We Can have change, of course we can. Congress changes things every day. But will we have GOOD CHANGE with Obama??????? NOPE

    July 31, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  11. Monica, Texas

    You could tell by the interview that McCain is very uncomfortable with this being the topic...However he is doing under the advise of his campaign and they are telling him it is needed in order to win, sad sad sad this not the same John McCain.

    July 31, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. RFO

    We know what you are doing, we know what you mean when you say it!

    Maybe in a hundred years or more we will mature as a nation. It is unfortunate that every thing from whining about patriotism to under handed links with blond celebrities in ads with "Foreign Oil" next to Baracks picture on television are all full of subliminal messages and not by accident!

    These messages are meant to district the easily distracted! And I admit that it might work. It is unfortunate but sobering to know what America is really about!

    We [America] talk a good game but we are in no way the shinning moral beacon of the world. If you want to take Barack on then do it by stressing the issues that effect the average American not by showing "mickey mouse" adds aimed at an 8th grade mentality audience.

    I am a real Patriot and I know bull crap when smell it! At least David Duke is honest about what he thinks.

    July 31, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  13. Walter

    If the racist shoe (or, in your case, jackboot) fits, then wear it!

    McCain probably has friends who are black. But that counts for nothing. If you are willing to use race as a divisive political ploy in order to win a campaign – then you are a racist.

    McCain is the worst kind of racist, in fact. One who doesn't want to come right out and state his case. At least David Duke had the courage of his disgusting convictions.

    July 31, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  14. Jeff, South Bend, IN

    Obama is no peach, but McCain and team are total scumbags. A complete lack of vision, ideas, and real solutions – they turn towards playing divisive advertisements, and then turn around claiming the other side is "playing the race card". Gaffe after gaffe after gaffe, followed by lie after lie after lie.

    I am inclined to vote Obama just to get someone solely to get a leader who is less bitter, angry, divisive than McCain – and less likely to completely abandon their ethics and morals in pursuit of power, and less likely to outright demean their opponent and insult the intelligence of voters.

    Not McCain '08

    July 31, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  15. Alexia Peachtree

    I'm scared of Obama because his black! I'm scared of Whoopi Goldberg's gum's because there black! I'm scared of the back of Forest Whitaker's neck because its black!! I'm scared of the black key's on a Piano because it's black. I'm scared of Wesley Snipes because he's black! Your right Obama! I'm scared and this is the only reason that I am not voting for you! :*-)

    July 31, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. Paris

    Obama uses race when he needs it and he uses it to manipulate peoples emotion when likes to.

    He did the same thing on the primaries and the media was feeding the fuel as well.

    This is the lowest form of strategy.

    Obama you should be ashamed that you are useing Race for your personal advantage.

    Just like he used 200,000 people for his campaign.

    July 31, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. Debi

    When all else fails, you can always resort to "he's using the race card". That is a call many people tend to make when it's to their advantage these days. No, it's you McCain, who's playing the race card" by bringing it up in the first place. Obama does not bring race up until he's backed in a corner to do so. Move on to your next attack on Obama, which is your expertise. Hopefully, at some point, he will talk about what I and the American people want to hear, the issues.

    July 31, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. Jeff Long

    Barack Obama: The Paris Hilton of Politics.

    LOL!! I Love it!!!

    July 31, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. Jenna

    what's new, he's played the race card on many occasions, it shows weakness on his behalf and does nothing to help race relations.

    July 31, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. Asian4Hillary

    Obama played the race card starting from South Carolina all the way now to McCain. During NEVADA DEBATE, Tim Russert showed Obama MEMO from his OWN CAMPAIGN to use RACE CARD AGAINST HILLARY, Obama acknowledged it.

    WHO IS GOING TO DENY THAT?!?!?!

    July 31, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  21. jp/michigan

    Back in June of 2008, Obama told the public ," They're going to try to make you afraid of me." He's at it again, whine, whine, and more whine. Historian Sean Wilentz dubbed this tactic, "race-baiter card". Smear your opponents as racists, and if there's no evidence for the claim, accuse then of using"coded language". There is no authoritative racial code-book, so the charge is easy to lodge.

    July 31, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  22. Dj

    Whenever someone falsely accuses another for doing 'something' it is usually a reaction to a guilty conscience.

    Sen. Obama said that they are trying to make them "scared" of him... and they are...

    The McCain campaign obviously feels guilty and are offended because they KNOW that they ARE trying to use Obama race to scare voters.

    July 31, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. KW

    I just read some frightening comments on the blog about the Ad.

    Does the Republican who wrote to McCain talking about how impressive it is that the two blonde bimbettes pictured in the ad have done so well increasing their income over the last few years (oh, and I'd be SO PROUD of how they conduct themselves! PUH-LEEZ!) that he thinks Obama will bring more money to the US in tourism because of his "celebrity"???? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? When is the last time you picked YOUR vacation spot because of the President of that country????

    I'm disgusted with this whole election and the name calling towards McCain. Have a little respect for the man, regardless of if you support him or not. Stop acting like the children you obviously are.

    July 31, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. AJP Richardson, TX

    Is this jerk McCain, really going to run for President.

    He is a discrace to America.

    By the way I am white.

    July 31, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. Aaron Hussein

    Doesn't it sound like McCain's campaign is being written by kids? I mean their comments are childish and all they do is pick apart what Obama says. Pretty soon he'll just start playing the repeating game. Oh wait he already has with Afhanistan and the time "horizon" in Iraq.

    July 31, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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