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. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    This is the first time he did it, but he pulled the race card for no reason. There was NOTHING racist about the McCain ad. Again, too emotional and too defensive. Go to a psychiatrist and get the right chemicals for your imbalance. Calm down. Relax. Take deep breaths. If someone used racism against you, everyone will let them know, but you are imagining things this time. You are acting emotional and NOT presidential.

    July 31, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  2. Independent_me

    How do you spell "desperate"?
    J-O-H-N-M-C-C-A-I-N

    Take your geritol and take your geritol, Old Man! You're pitiful!

    July 31, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  3. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    Obama, you made the racial remark about the presidents...... it was a very stupid mistake. But don't blame McCain for your mistakes. What does that say about your charachter?

    July 31, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. Vig

    Obama plays the race card, the blue collar card, the Jew card, the senior card, the women card, the Latino card – any card he can get his power-driven hands on. We all know that 99% of Blacks are voting for him. Isn't this racist? Voting for someone based on skin color – listen to all those vulgar rappers – Obama's their man. This is disgusting. Had a white pop singer sang trash about Obama – we would have Al Sharpton marching in the street and cries of racism all over the place. Why is White America tolerating this reverse racism?

    July 31, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  5. Paula in WI

    Why is this being spun this way?They have spent months saying Obama doesn't look Presidential.Then when Obama says he doesn't look like the Presidents on the bills he gets accused of the race card.This is outrageous.The Republicans make me sick.

    July 31, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  6. maria

    MR OBAMA DO NOT LET MR. MCCAIN DISTRACT YOU FROM THE REAL ISSUES OF TODAY JUST IGNORE HIM AND DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO BECOME PRESIDENT DO NOT FEED INTO HIS WAYS DO NOT GO BACK AND FOURTH WITH HIM BE THE BETTER MAN AND JUST AGAIN GET THE JOB DONE DO BE PETTY LIKE HIM AND YOU WILL SEE WHO WILL COME OUT ON TOP BALTIMORE MD MARIA

    July 31, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  7. Oregon to Catty

    Uhm..."Catty".....many of those smear campaigns about his race and his supposed religion were from republican sources and i am still getting emails saying essentially the same thing from folks I know who are staunch republicans. Hilary wasn't the only one with a computer. You are the one who needs to dig a little deeper. Feel free to write in but try to get things correct. To be sure, Hilary's folks made an issue of his race and religion but they weren't the only ones. John McCain himself may not be making this an issue but his people, everywhere, are.

    July 31, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  8. Tony

    Obama's been touting his race for his entire campaign, it's really disgraceful. What's even more disgraceful is that people are voting for him just because he's black, not because of his politics.

    July 31, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  9. LINDA

    HI ALL.....NOW DID Any one hear Sen.Obama say my FACE ONE THE DOLLAR BILL IS BECAUSE I AM BLACK .....NO .....HE COULD HAD BEEN SPEAKING ABOUT HIS EAR`S OR ANYTHING. COME ON SEN.McCAIN IF YOU CAN`T STAND THE HEAT THEN GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN.......

    LINDA...OMAHA

    July 31, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  10. interesting

    McCain and his aide are True. Obama is trying to get sympathy and for whites to vote for him to not be considered racist.

    July 31, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  11. rexx

    Obama said and he is the one who is being dishonest. He is the one trying to play the victim role to get elected President. Shameful. What else would you expect from a Chicago style machine politico with no experience? Dems are getting desperate.

    July 31, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  12. RJ, CA

    Only an idiot wouldn not agree that Obama has played the "race card" all through the primaries, negating the most qualified candidate (Hillary Clinton) with his "bottom-of-the-deck" - as well as dirty Chicago politics - tactics.

    The ENTIRE basis for the Obama campaign is that he is black and should be elected as the first "black" president (because "it's time" to elect a "black president" ?????).

    But not all of us agree. I, for one, have no problem with a black candidate (e.g., would love to see Colin Powell or Condi Rice run - because they demonstrate true leadership ability rather than blatherings) - BUT Obama is GREEN! THAT is the ONLY color I see when it comes to Obama.

    And I really don't care a diddly-wink what the Obamabots call me ("racist," of course - because anyone who doesn't agree with Obama is a "racist"). THAT has been Obama's greatest impact! NOTHING else!

    July 31, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  13. Ron

    The people who continually whine about oil company profits should take a look at who the shareholders of those companies are.
    They are your parents and grandparents (and pension plans and mutual funds) who count on the dividends from those companies to help them buy their groceries.
    You seem convinced that the owners are some secret cabal who enjoy sticking it to the little guys.
    Sure EXXON made $11Billion this quarter, but that was AFTER paying $32 Billion in taxes. And you want them to pay even more taxes??
    GET A GRIP!!

    July 31, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  14. Responsibility

    Not pressing Obama? Didn't McCain challenge Obama to a Town Hall tour? Who said no? Wake up and see the truth. Now Obama wants you to believe his "duel". If he wanted a duel he was offered and chickened out. Style over Substance should be Obama's slogan.

    July 31, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  15. AMAforObama

    Does any part of this conversation solve the problems we are facing? Staf focused candidates.

    July 31, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  16. DUH

    DUH, I'm a PUMA...DUH, I'm a PUMA... GO HILLARY... DUH, I'm a PUMA!!!!!

    July 31, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  17. Boston For OBAMA

    Shame on McCain...................Can't wait for the debates to start. Will he be able to keep the facts straight or continue to LIE?

    There is one issue McCain probably won't touch...............MORALS (Cindy/Drugs/Ex Sick Wife abandonment)

    July 31, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  18. bill

    "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.”

    If Obama isn't saying he's black, what is he saying?

    The fact seems to be that hypocrites, opportunists, and unbelievably, arrogant people think they can anything.

    July 31, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  19. Joe in Sacramento

    I miss where Obama speech said that McMiniBush was playing the race card. Quit playing the victim McMiniBush and start telling the American people WHY you deserve to be president. These negative ads are exactly what the American people don't want to see, and thats why your place in the same category as Bush...MCCAIN + BUSH POLICY = MCSAME!!!

    Prepare yourselves should this guy be president...God help us all.

    July 31, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  20. Responsibility

    Yea I guess race statements like, 'painting the White House Black' is ok for some folks when drumming up votes. Go Check out Ludacris' lyrics since CNN won't let me post them. Talk about a double standard.

    July 31, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  21. Rave

    You are dumb..you are dumb..you are dumb.. and you are too old McCain.
    I thought you are the race card holder.. again you flip-flopped on it?

    July 31, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  22. joseph

    John McCain does not have clean hands on this one. Attacking Obama and comparing him with celebrities like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton is playing the white trash card!

    July 31, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  23. LINDA

    The Straight Talk Express has taken a nasty turn into the gutter. Sen. John McCain has resorted to lies and distortions in what sounds like an increasingly desperate attempt to slow down Sen. Barack Obama by raising questions about his patriotism. Instead of taking the Democrat down a few notches, these baseless attacks are raising more questions about the Republican's campaign and his ability to control his temper.

    The most offensive line comes from McCain himself. The Arizona senator has repeated that Obama "would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign." That is one of the more outrageous statements by a major political party candidate seeking the presidency. The looming choices about the long-festering war in Iraq are not between winning and losing but about how quickly or slowly the United States can reduce its military forces without jeopardizing recent security gains. Even McCain acknowledges that, and insulting Obama in such a reckless way is not presidential.

    That is only one example of the darker tone enveloping the McCain campaign since several of Karl Rove's acolytes took the wheel. A new McCain ad suggests that while Obama traveled abroad last week he "made time to go to the gym but canceled a visit with wounded troops. Seems the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras." That's a compelling punch line, but it's below the belt.
    That's intense. McCain chose this path. He sold whatever was left of his soul to the Rove machine. It was a risky decision and it sure doesn't look like it's paying off. Instead, in the past few weeks, McCain has completely reshaped his image. He's become another puppet of Karl Rove, just like George Bush.

    And, the Obama campaign decided to fight back with a new ad, "Low Road," documenting just some of independent sources criticism of McCain — and linking McCain to the candidate he's morphed into — George Bush: John McCain how much lower can you go. And your wife will be working with CASTRO GET REAL MAN…WE DON`T WANT COMMANDER WITH CASTROL IN THERE POCKET….GEEZ

    July 31, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  24. Unshrub

    Let's get this right; McCain is complaining about Obama fighting dirty.

    Eight years ago McCain was a nice guy, someone I wanted to win the White House, now he has become a pig in politics. He is the reason we need someone like Obama, someone new. McCain has become more personal against Obama than any other Presidential candidate in American history. I now despise the pig. He does not deserve to be treated with the respect one should give a Presidential candidate or a war hero. His actions since he left the service leave a lot to be desired, starting with the Keating Five. I am also starting to despise those who support him. For the record, I have not voted for a Democratic President since I started voting, starting with Richard Nixon, but I will this time, and I am going to give him lots of money. It is time for change and McCain is demonstrating he is not the one to do it.

    July 31, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. Jamie

    I can't believe some of the opinions on here. How blind are some of you people. If I were to use the "n" word I would be called racist because I'm white but it is acceptable for black people to use it amongst themselves.

    So? Obama isn't playing the race card when he tells people that "Obama told audiences that his opponent is trying to make voters “scared” of him because he doesn’t look like past presidents". Have we also forgotten that just prior to wrapping up the primary that Obama referred to his race specifically in a similar statement? He said "They're going to try and scare you by saying that I'm inexperienced. They're going to say I'm a Liberal. They're going to tell you I'm black"? Do your research and check it out.

    After you all review all of this, don't think of these words as if they were coming from Obama, think of the as if they were coming out of my mouth or another white persons mouth. I'll bet you those comments would be racist should they come out of my mouth.

    July 31, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
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