January 18th, 2008
06:26 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton puts Magic Johnson front and center

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/18/art.magic.gi.jpg caption=" Bill Clinton and Magic Johnson have hit the campaign trail together."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson suggests Barack Obama is a "rookie" in a new Hillary Clinton campaign ad launched in South Carolina Friday, one week before the southern state holds its Democratic primary.

"We won our first game on a last-second shot," the former Los Angeles Lakers point guard says in the ad. "I was so hyped. But the captain of my team said, 'Take it easy rookie, it's a long season, it's a long road to the championship.' He was right."

(According to NBA.com, that sage veteran mentioned in the ad who offers advice to a young Johnson is none other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who happens to be publicly supporting Obama.)

"Whether it's winning championships or a president who can lead us back to greatness, I'll always want the most prepared and experienced person leading my team," Johnson also says. "That's why I'm asking you to join me in voting for Hillary Clinton for President.

The basketball great fails to point out the Lakers won the NBA championship his rookie season and he was named Finals MVP.

Johnson endorsed Clinton earlier in the year and campaigned at her side in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses. He has also been campaigning with Bill Clinton in Nevada this week, and taking subtle digs at the Illinois senator.

"We need somebody who's not preaching hope," he said at one stop on Thursday. "We need somebody who understands that there's a problem, and they're preaching solutions."

- CNN's Peter Hamby and Alex Mooney

soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. Ashes

    Get your facts straight:

    Clinton- 7+ years in elected office (NY Senate 2000-present)
    1973-1992- Rose Law Firm, Little Rock, Arkansas
    1975 faculty University of Arkansas Law School
    1974 staff attorney, presidential impeachment inquiry, House
    Judiciary Committee
    1973 attorney for The Children's Defense Fund
    She's been on a ton of coroporate boards and involved in
    several organizations that deal with children's welfare though
    the years.

    So, yeah, she has a lot more work experience that Obama. Personally, I could careless what celebrity supporters either one of them has got.

    January 18, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  2. ronnie - knoxville, tn.

    Magic Johnson isn't even well-educated. He says "I was so hyped" – I think he means "I was so psyched".but thats what you get when you haven't been educated. Bill and Hillary must be proud. Someone who cheated on his wife, got AIDS now want s the government to do something about it. What a great endorsement.

    January 18, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  3. Jay

    As an African -American, I'm not interested in voting for Obama just because he's black. I would feel much more secure with Hillary Clinton as MY president . Sure, Obama's fresh, nice and all that jazz, but you have to remember, this isn't a personality contest. "Nice" isn't gonna cut it. If we want a Democratic Admin. back in the oval office, Hillary Clinton is our only hope. The Repubs. would chew up Obama and spit him out ... they're scared to death Hillary will win the Dem. Nod., because they know they'll have a tough time beating her. They're hoping beyond hope that Obama gets the nod.

    January 18, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  4. Awaiting Moderation, USA

    Magic Johnson didn't help Hillary in Iowa. Just an observation...

    January 18, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  5. relevance????

    What does Magic Johnson have to do with anything?
    It seems like the Clintons keep stretching to find black americans to billboard their campaign with...whose next Tiger Woods, T.O., Dion Sanders? Maybe we could put an allstar team together.

    January 18, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  6. Robert Bell

    Magic WHO?

    Why is a retired professional basketball player with an apparent fondness for donuts relevant to the political process.

    Oh, wait, Hillary isn't pandering to Blacks here, is she?


    Mr. "Ashes" – As for Hillarys "employment record" consider this:

    "Clinton- 7+ years in elected office (NY Senate 2000-present)"
    =>Due entirely to the fact her husband was President

    "1973-1992- Rose Law Firm, Little Rock, Arkansas"
    =>Due entirely to the fact her Husband was Governor.

    "1975 faculty University of Arkansas Law School"
    => Due entirely to the fact her Husband was Governor.

    Hey, wait, your forgot some of her "executitve experiences!"

    "Get Your Facts Straight" as you say.

    Board of Directors of Wal Mart – 6 years
    => again due entirely to the fact he husband was governor.
    (You didn't forget to mention that because Wal-Mart is anti-union, no? "get your facts straight"!)

    Commodities Trader – 10 months, made $100,000 in backdated trades
    => again due to the fact her Husband was governor – a Tyson's chicken Attorney "helped" her with the trades. Tysons is one of the largest companies in Arkansas.

    More of that 'zecutive experience for sure. Funny how you forgot to mention those.

    January 18, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  7. Maris

    Adam, take a look at the Chicago Sun-Times. Apparently, there was some questionable behavior on behalf Mr. Obama regarding gays. Not to change your mind, but just to correct the facts. Thanks.

    January 18, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  8. John

    Magic. You have disappointed me.

    January 18, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  9. H. Dannon, Lancaster, SC

    As a White Attorney who supports Obama, I wonder how "successful blacks" such as Magic and Bob Johnson don't see that the better Barack Obama does the better the black race does. Whether I like it or not, race still matters in this country. I can take up this whole board with examples to prove it...from the defendants I represent who are aggressively prosecuted to the way predatory lending is used against minorities. Barack will not be a "Black President" but a President who happens to be black but the mere fact that the President is black will make everyone who has some authority in this country think twice about victimizing some young black defendant. So back to my original question. Why cant these so called leading blacks who support Clinton see that you really are voting for the status quo which is vehemently opposed to the betterment of YOUR people. If I offend anyone I apologize for speaking the truth. Hugh...

    January 18, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  10. Poor

    Johnson is forced to support Hillar because they a long time friends, not because he believes in her.

    January 18, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  11. Sus

    "Preaching solutions" . . . I love that! I'm hearing a lot of people say that this message is getting through to them. Talk is just talk. Go Clinton

    January 18, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  12. James

    I wish everyone posting for Obama knew this "Johnny come lately."

    January 18, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  13. Tim Calhoun '08, Moreno Valley, CA

    And people complain about Oprah's endorsement of Obama?

    Heck, at least Oprah is still relevant.

    Maybe M.C. Hammer will endorse John Edwards.

    January 18, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  14. Tereesa

    What is wrong with the folks in this country, We are in one of the worst times in our histroy with the war that should never have been, with the ecom. as headed for receision, with drug dealing, the education and health care problem the people need so desprately. This is not a time to make a race, gender war.
    We all know it is no secreat that this county has always thought that we could be better lead by a white man, So we should just be proud that we have come so far finialy that we have a very smart and good black man, and a very smart and good woman. Lets just look in our hearts and pick the one that is best quaified. They both want change, if you don't you would not be voteing at all. Go Obama, Go Hillary.....

    January 18, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  15. aisha naeem

    go hillary u will win

    January 18, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  16. Seam, Philly, Pa

    Magic, I am really dissapointed in your judgement. You need to seek advice from Charles Barkley.

    Obama 08.

    January 18, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  17. Pablo Dancy

    response to nate: You speak for black people nate? How dare you!
    magic johnson is a pillar in the Black community ,espcially in Los Angeles where he has contributed to community redevelopment in our community and helped in ways you coudn't even imagine! I'm not happy about his endorsement of Hillary
    but that's his choice.so nate, don't speak for me,speak for yourself dude!

    A Black Man in America

    P.S. we love and listen to Jesse Jackson too!

    January 18, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  18. John

    Go back to your mom's basement and read more conspiracy stories Roy, we don't need any loonies representing our party.

    January 18, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  19. Seam, Philly, Pa

    Ashes January 18, 2008 8:42 pm ET

    Get your facts straight:

    Clinton- 7+ years in elected office (NY Senate 2000-present)
    1973-1992- Rose Law Firm, Little Rock, Arkansas
    1975 faculty University of Arkansas Law School
    1974 staff attorney, presidential impeachment inquiry, House
    Judiciary Committee
    1973 attorney for The Children's Defense Fund
    She's been on a ton of coroporate boards and involved in
    several organizations that deal with children's welfare though
    the years.

    And? Your point is? This is not the experience to bring about change as the next President.

    January 18, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  20. Audrey in Alexandria, Virginia

    What a mistake !!!!

    Magic Johnson said "We need someone who is not preaching about hope".

    Having hope and preaching about hope is very powerful.

    It is ironic, that Magic Johnson having survived this long with AIDS could make such a statement. After all, he was publicly praised for keeping a positive attitude and for being a role model on how he handled illness, giving sick people hope.

    We all know having hope and being positive has a direct effect on our health.
    Magic Johnson should never underestimate that.

    January 18, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  21. Joan

    Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani said that Obama was not ready to be president due to a lack of executive experience. He has never run a city, he has never run a state, never run a business" said Giuliani. AMEN AMEN AMEN—HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT!!!!

    January 18, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  22. AJ, IL

    There is a reason Earvin "Magic" Johnson appears with Bill Clinton more so than Hillary Clinton. Bill and Magic are friends. Think about it? Chuck Norris appears with Huckabee to show his support of him. Oprah appears with Obama to show her support of him. Now, Magic Johnson appears with Bill Clinton to show his support of whom???? Bill Clinton, not Hillary Clinton! Cheaters stay together!

    January 18, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  23. Thomas

    The Clintons really are pandering, aren't they?

    Why don't more Americans realize it?

    Obama was trying to be a comedian but fell flat. He doesn't have it either.

    Vote for Edwards.

    January 18, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  24. Cheryl Coppe

    The Clintons and their black billionaire and multi-millionaire supporters, along with the Civil Rights-era old-guard have Martin Luther King, Jr. SPINNING in his grave right now. The Clintons use black surrogates like Johnson (Robert and Magic) and white surrogates like Andrew Cuomo to attack Obama, thinking the American public is stupid enough to think these people speak independent of their campaign strategy. WE ARE NOT STUPID. And that such tactics are used proves that the Clinton "torch has passed" to a new generation that transcends race - that generation is personified by Barack Obama, whose story is very similar to that of my son and many other sons and daughters of 21st century America. If we are to move beyond this "old school" politicians' preoccupation with what was and look beyond the horizon to what wonders await us in this country, Barack Obama must become the President of the United States of America.

    January 18, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  25. Joan


    January 18, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
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