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. Don

    You people have nothing better to do with your time I see. Was it not both Hillary and Obama who asked their true supporters to not play these games. I don't understand how this " change" is going to take place if the supporters of the campaign that is talking hope does nothing but bash the experianced canidate. If this is the change and hope you have for our country, we are in for more trouble than Bush ever created. How about some hopeful blogs and change your attacks on Clinton to support for your canidate. Clinton supporters atleast talk about issues and experiance. If Obama has a great record.Lets talk about it. However, calling a women a name and distorting her service to our country is not change. Obama and Hillary are not enemies, so why the hatred. Once again, to Obama supporters, is this the hope and change you want? If you want change, is being hateful the best way to achieve that goal. I think not. Talk about your canidate, don't spread lies about the other. That same thought goes to real Hillary supporters.

    January 18, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  2. NextPresident

    What is so "Magic" about Irvin Johnson who was a womanizer and was not faithful to his wife. So I see why Johnson is supporting Hillary he can identify with being unfaithful. There is nothing "Magic" about Irvin Johnson for he is one of those Clinton's IOU friends. Enough said.

    January 18, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  3. Tom Davie


    Golden rule:

    When some old FART Like John Kerry endorses Obama (remember 'stay the course in Iraq' Kerry campaign ?) then GOOD FOR KERRY .

    When someone, ANYONE , supports Clinton then they SUCK. LOSERS, IDIOTS

    Doesnt matter if GOD himself endorsed Clinton, the bias on CNN would twist it into God being a clown.

    January 18, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  4. Phil

    Hillary tried, but unfortunately OJ was booked.

    January 18, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  5. Teacher

    He should bring out his real heavy hitter,the CEO of Walmart.

    January 18, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  6. James Brown ( Independent )

    Lets keepit simple.

    Clinton divides the country before she even has the job.

    Obama has a track record of bring people together , and understand real change comes from the bottom up , with the will of the American people behind you.

    Clinton is bad news for this country !

    OBAMA 08

    January 18, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  7. Rick

    Bill and Hillary need to get a real job, you are the STATUS QUO and WE THE PEOPLE are tired of you and your fake ideas..........

    January 18, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  8. Ginny Ca

    Go Hillary!! Stay steady and strong. My family and friends in California are behind you 100%!

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

    once again i look for a reason to stay with my choice to support obama - and once again all i find is hatred and vicious divisiveness coming from the people who support him. somehow i can't imagine that a true "uniter" would have the most horrific following of supporters. i am going to go with edwards and if he drops out - clinton. both of their plans are similar and their health care is stronger than obama's. obama wasn't even able to vote when the iraq war came up - not there yet...and every vote since then, when he was there, he supported it.

    misogyny is not a part of either edward's or clinton's agendas - and with all the hillary and bill bashing - there is not nearly as much media empathizing with sexism as with racism. it is really getting sick and it will only bring obama down in the end. the more hatred you people spew - the more that affects your candidate.

    i would like to know why this is though. why are obama's supporters such hateful people? what is it? fear? ignorance? anger? bad upbringing? too much money?

    January 18, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  10. California Lady

    To H. Dannon, Lancaster SC
    As a white female (58 years young). I couldn't agree with you more. Well said.
    We need someone like Obama. I really believe he will not only run this country better than anyone ever has but he will inspire the young African Americans and show them that "they can". They need to stop falling into exactly what the white establishment wants them to do because it is getting them no where.

    January 18, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  11. Nando

    Wow Hillary and Bill are bringing out the big guns!!!!!!!!! Its a sad day for the Clintons when you frontliner is a ex-b ball player with HIV?

    January 18, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  12. Cory, Pennsylvania

    Magic Johnson? Magic Johnson? Who is he? I want Oprah....

    OBAMA '08!

    January 18, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  13. Manuel, Pearland, TX

    I think that a more accurate description of Obama is mixed-race...not black.

    January 18, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  14. pam Eugene OR

    Barack Obama is the President this country needs. Hillary is running on the coat tails of Bill and they are not that strong. Please , we they people , wake up and see the future. It can be a miracle come true with Barack as our leader. He is a democrat who can unite us as a country and that would be for the betterment for ALL. Hillary is the past; she and Bill need to retire and let the US of A go forward. Thank you for your service Bill.
    What has she done for Magic or the black community? Where are the new programs to combat AIDS or the black community at large? Where are the new programs to help under educated blacks that can give them a hand up that is so badly needed. Once every 4 years She and Bill are the "Black" president then they just walk away and support the big money PACS and China.
    Please people vote for a true uniter and not a candidate 50% of the population can not endorse or even tolerate.
    Obama 08

    January 18, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  15. Tom, Boston MA

    H Dannon of Lancaster, SC, writes:

    "how "successful blacks" such as Magic and Bob Johnson don't see that the better Barack Obama does the better the black race does."

    simplistic statements like yours are only detrimental to the cause you think you work for. you don't see how "the better Colin Powell, Cearance Thomas, and Condi Rice do the worse the black race does"???????

    sincere progressives are holding back their support for Obama, and for good reasons. he's an agent of the mainstream America that voted for Reagan, Bushes, and Cheney oger and over and over again. United, i'm sure, but change? i doubt.

    January 18, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  16. stop being blind

    masses can be blind, they hear, see what is not there. If they would open eyes, they would see Hillary as great leader. Not the one who cannot express himself clearly so everyone understands his words. When Hillary speaks – I know what she is talking about, when O. has constantly says" oh, I did not mean that" and " I did not understand the question" – well, if someone does not understand question, good thing is to ask: " what was the question? What did you mean exactly?" But this does not appeal to Mr. O. It can cause major disaster if this would happen by dealing internationally. Do you think that other countries/leaders would wait for "oops, I did not mean that...but...."? Kind of scarry.
    I keep repeating: good leader has to have experience, diplomacy. These I did not see with Obama.
    for Hillary

    January 18, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  17. Alice in Florida

    The saddest thing is –

    I actually took the time to wonder how long it would take for Obama to pull out the race card

    ....Didn't take that long at all....first, he was the hero of African-Americans

    Now, he's the hero of illegal immigrant Hispanic dishwashers and maids who only have to prove that they work at a casino in order to vote

    Illegal dishwashers and maids who are so scared of Immigration that they will vote however their bosses tell them they must

    LOL –

    Isn't America wonderful??????

    January 18, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  18. Sean, Santa Barbara, CA

    The clintons need to realize that Magic does not matter, he might matter a bit for the older black voters, but he is no one for the young black voters that the Clintons are so desperately trying to attract, or that Obama has gained and is gaining.

    Adding Magic definately shows how out of touch the Clintons are with the voters.

    Really Magic is a symbol of a failed medical system, he is someone who is rich and has had the money to buy meds that a typical voter / person cannot afford to stop HIV from becoming AIDS if they are infected. If your rich you can afford to live if not then to bad. It kind of goes to the big money , special interest politics that the Clintons are now known for.

    January 18, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  19. Kris

    Yes, please never mind all that stuff my husband and I said that offended you black voters. He didn't really mean it. Now, please watch this lovely parade of all of the token black people who love us and think we're just swell. See, we have loads of famous black people whom we paid hansomely to tell you that I'm the best candidate. Surely you trust at least one of them to make your decision for you? No? Perhaps I shouldn't have said that we paid them. Forget that. Don't take it out of context now. What I really MEANT to say is that these people are supporting me because of all of the clearly wonderful things that my husband did - oops - I mean all of the wonderful things that I did in previous years to make sure that the negroes - oops again! - I mean African Americans would love the idea of me being their president.
    Yes, that's right. Just tell me what I'm supposed to say, whatever it is, to get your vote and you've got it. I'll do whatever it takes.

    January 18, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  20. Jose Card - Independent

    The future four years of our country is not a game.
    It's about real people and their lives.

    January 18, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  21. James Brown ( Independent )

    Clinton is in panic mode , she thought this election was going to be a cake walk. I really think the American people are starting to see just how bad the Clinton's would be for this country because , she divides America even more then Bush has , and she doesn't even have the job yet.

    Obama has won my vote.

    January 18, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  22. Nevada voter...

    Well I gotta tell ya.....everyone I have talked to in the last week are all voting for Hillary.....they started out for Obama but have been listening to his commercials and the local news and are now Clinton supporters....the Reagan comments are really turning them against Obama.....just an observation.....also the unfairness of the Culinary union bosses being so demanding on the members and they are talking to the press here in Vegas.....they say they won't vote for Obama in front of any union bosses......

    January 18, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  23. Andrew, NY, NY

    Big deal. Does Bubba remember that he too was a rookie. By blasting Obama is Bubba suggesting we made a mistake electing him? Hmmm...perhaps he has a point.

    January 18, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  24. Dido

    The Clintons are playing on the intelligence of the American people. I'm very sure the American people are smatter than the Clintons give them credit for. When it's all said and done, the truth will prevail.

    Vote for the truth America! Vote Barack Obama for president!

    January 18, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  25. Todd

    Of all people, I would have never,ever guessed Magic would talk negative about Obama. I say support who you wish but don't down talk the guy because you can't think of anything good to say about Clinton. Most of his public statements are negative/criticism about Obama not positive things about Clinton.

    To: H. Dannon, Lancaster, SC

    It's that "crab in a bucket" mentality. When one crab is just about to climb out of the rim of the bucket, a crab on the bottom pulls him back down. I did say "bottom". Neither Johnson is respected in the Black community. Magic for his fleecing of the black community and that BET clown for making Billions degrading black women via RAP because as he once said "it sells records". They're both bottom feeders of the black community and if not for white america supporting them, they would fade away into nonexistance.

    January 18, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
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