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. Ellie in Aurora, CO

    You have all heard the news media and read headlines like, "Can a black man be elected president?" "Is Obama black enough?" – for heaven's sake! Of course race is an issue and Obama has every right to bring it up. Since he has joined the race, have you ever seen so many African American commentators on the news channels? Where were these people before? Don't try to claim that race isn't something that is being used both for and against Obama. We've also heard people talk about his middle name disparagingly – and he doesn't have a right to bring that up? Fear has been used over and over in the last 8 years – that's exactly what Obama is warning against.

    July 31, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. John, Brooklyn, New York

    The problem is that nobody is willing to frankly talk about the elephant in the middle of the room – that race is an issue and it matters to many voters.

    Mccain wouldn't be attempting scare tactics – nor would Obama feel compelled to address questions about whether he is "black enough" or "too black" (see CNN Unity Conference coverage) is this weren't the case.

    There are people who absolutely will not vote for Obama because he is balck and, if McCain had any integrity, rather than whining about Obama playing the race card he should publicly say something like "If you are planning on voting for me because you don't want a black man in the White House – I don't want your vote". On then would he have integrity in my eyes on the obbvious issue of race. Otherwise, he's still the playing race=fear strategy.

    July 31, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Wendy

    What next. Let's stop being puppets for Cable TV News. Obama's central theme is – we as Americans must work together to change the way Washington works. All of this other B.S. is just that, B.S. for their ratings.

    July 31, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Maggie

    I can't believe the nerve of the Obama camp.

    First, it accuses McCain of preparing to play the race card against him.

    Then, when McCain takes umbrage, Obama camp plays a dance in which it 1) says that Obama's comment had nothing to do about race, but about him from coming outside of Washington (um, how dumb does he think we all are?!), and 2) accuses the McCain camp of trying to avoid talking about the issues. Um, by raising this point in the first place, wasn't it the Obama camp that was trying to avoid talking about the issues?!!

    July 31, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. justin in CO

    mccain, in arbitrarily accusing obama of playing the race card is actually falling right into line with what obama said the repubs would do- play into fear, in part based on his race.
    mccain knows accusing obama of playing the race card is going to freak out a lot of apprehensive voters, whether or not it's a credible accusation.

    July 31, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  6. Bill from ALabama

    Obama and his supporters would love to be able to blaim someone else for using the race card,but the only real racial overtones in this race came from Obama's camp. His 20 year friends,can be thanked for that....the Rev Jeremiah Wright and Father Pfleger. The Obama camp is destroyed over the fact that they have no one to blame but themselves......and it was their ace up the sleeve if things started going wrong! Sorry guys! You've already played that ace!

    July 31, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. trust

    THERE IS NO PLACE IN THE CAMPAIGN COMPARING YOUR OPPONENT TO PARIS HILTON. MCCAIN IS PLAYING VICTIM. DO YOU WANT YOUR NEXT PRESIDENT TO PLAY THE VICTIM CARD?

    July 31, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  8. Grog in Ohio

    Repeat of previous post.... Desperate times require desperate measures and Republicans are getting VERY desperate. I fully expect more and much worse by November 4th.

    173 days till the end of the Bush administration.

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

    The USA today, as never been so weak; to insider's as it is today.
    If this was a "Much Smaller" Country, Beware.....

    July 31, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  10. doug, fairbanks, alaska

    I am glad a candidate of color is seeking the highest office of the land....look where past vanilla Presidents have got us.

    July 31, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. John New Jersey

    The truth is all that matter. Race will be a factor and the GOP will push, tug, drag any comments. What happen to a new type of campaign? I guess McGeezer wants to win at any cost. What a sap of a candidate

    July 31, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. bill for barack

    How many different ways can John McBush prove to us that he is totally unfit to run for dogcatcher let alone president ?
    The man is immoral – as close to Hitler as the world has seen since 1945.

    July 31, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. realitycheck

    okay–where are Obama's specifics?
    I have heard none. No plan equals a plan to fail.
    He doesn't really have a plan.

    July 31, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. fafa

    CNN stop censoring me. I agree with Sandra

    July 31, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. Gordon, Houston, TX

    Willy July 31st, 2008 4:30 pm ET

    BHO, and with the help of the meda, has been playing the victim card for this election you know , I'm black oh poor me I need to be a president. [snip]
    ----------------
    Willy,
    Have you been paying attention during this election year? Just checking.

    July 31, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. mk

    When are we going to focus on ISSUES Mr. McCain.
    Either you have ideas to present or you don't.
    We all KNOW you don't like OBAMA. What we are waiting for is for you to start running for president.
    So far it appears the only thing he knows about himself is that he can whine like the there's no tomorrow.
    Whinning won't lower gas prices (neither will offshore oil drilling), lower the price of food, increase jobs, help fix the mortgage crisis and it sure won't give us the kind of health insurance McCain has that allows him to go to the mayo clinic every 3 months for check ups.
    McCain, zip it on the slamming of Obama, start running for president.

    July 31, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. Miner for Obama

    McCain is desperate ... what garbage.

    July 31, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. RAY IN NJ

    McCain's strategy is plain and simple, as proven by his decision to attack Obama's visiting the troops and if he didn't visit the troops. His strategy is to attack whatever Obama does or says – no matter if it's the truth or not. He is becoming a pathetic excuse of a politician. This is so indicative of what the American will get if he's the next president – more lies, insincerity, double-speak, and callous disregard for the intellect of Americans! It is incredulous that he's so close in the polls. What's sadder is when you factor in those who admittedly are racists. This means that they would rather go through 4 more years of misery rather than vote for a black man. That, my friends, is complete and utter insanity! You're drowing and you'd refuse the life-line based on the rescuer's race! Crazy!

    July 31, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. DJ, LA, CA

    Daze and confuse the voters...throw in some "race card" accusations to really dig deep into that politics of hate base of voters.

    McCain has to resort to pathetic name calling, insults and attack ads because they don't want people to really focus on the issues.

    July 31, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  20. Enlightened Voter

    Obama warned us about your dirty tactics mccain but i didn't think you would stoop so low.

    July 31, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    "Sad" is the operative word in McCain's statement. It describes his whole campaign thus far. Making this claim about the "race" card is just his way of reminding people about Obama's "race" and hoping that it will matter to enough people to get him back into the running. I hope we have come further than that as a society and that we will prove McCain wrong. This country needs "smart" in the White House for a change, and it doesn't matter what color it comes in.

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

    This is exactly what BO did to Hillary.

    July 31, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. REG in AZ

    John McCain sounds desperate and willing to say anything, even when obviously totally ridiculous. The real dirty campaigning is just starting and between Karl Rove strategies, 527 Groups and McCains desperation, I suspect they are going to get a whole lot worse.

    July 31, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. Sn in MN

    Gotta tell ya, after reading all the "old man" and other ageist crap, I have lost all respect for Gen Y. I guess I'm over the hill at 39. These kids are the biggest bigots in this country. We should probably put them down and start a new litter.

    July 31, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. Tommy

    McCain and his campaign manager are tried and true repukelican's. Specialty of the house is smoke and mirrors. Make racist comments and then blame them on Obama for starting it. Sounds like the snot nose schoolyard bully in elementary school who is real tough until someone takes him on, then he cries louder than anybody you have ever heard. McClueless and his campaign...how absolutely childish and empty!

    July 31, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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