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. sluggo

    moderators are censoring comments

    January 19, 2008 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  2. zack

    Funny how polls start to show a shift of blks to Obama and Clinton whips out... an old, somewhat forgotten basketball player?

    I wonder who Michael Jordan prefers?

    January 19, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  3. STAN

    Jenny, Paxton, MA

    Magic Johnson was a basketball player not baseball. I guest you are supporting Hillary because she is a woman, please do some research before you support anyone.

    January 19, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  4. sein

    GO OBAMA...canada supports you

    January 19, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  5. Leroy, Head

    Politics and basketball aint the same game man. Hillary has the experience, as the wife of the president. Not the president, unless she has been doing Bill's job. Obviously her experience is from Bill, but aint that the whole problem man, she's got the wrong experience, wrong set of keys to the door man.

    January 19, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  6. Glen, Boston, MA

    So, what Magic is saying is that Obama is that excited rookie Magic once was, winning that first game and going on to lead an incredible dynasty?

    You're right, Magic – I should vote for Obama.

    Ya know – Reagan swept in on the message of hope at a time when Americans were feeling pretty ashamed of themselves from an unnecessary war and endless corruption. Why is hope such a terrible thing?

    January 19, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  7. Moe, NY

    Black vote, White vote....get over that crap....vote for a person who will lead this country back...and, maybe even do good for the people in this country who are hurting....yep...true story...people in this country are hurting....can you say health insurance?...Obama proved himself a clown in Navada... (and his wife could not even pronounce the name...dah) wasn't even funny. While I am talking about Navada....why should any special group...casino workers, Burger King workers, etc... and on and on...have a special time to vote?....I don't...do any of you???? I work all day long...I am not catered to......I agree with the law suit...not fair....does not apply to all people...just a chosen few...can you say rigged election? Don't care what you think about Bill Clinton, he is dead on with his protest on this one....and before you all get anti Democrat....Bill Clinton, Hillary, etc. had nothing to do with this farce. The two people who scare me the most are Obama with his total lack of experience, and Huckabee...total fool. As far as Magic Johnson goes, as with other celebs jumping on the band wagon,..who cares?...certainly does not change my mind as to who I will vote for in this coming election. Ok, have to say it, I guess, I am for Hillary....she is one strong lady who has her stuff together....not flying on hope, but facts! Please people, vote how you feel....not what the media, endorsement from Hollywood flunkies, etc. are telling you how to vote. How anyone in this day and age could actually go that route is beyond me, but guess it happends. Good luck AMERICA!

    January 19, 2008 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  8. Tee

    It is so interesting and rather disappointing that the Clintons (...I like that Billary tag) and their supporters have to continually and constantly stoop to denigrating and berating Senator Obama. I guess hatred, lying, lack of ethics and integrity, backstabbing, negativity, divisiveness, separatism is alive and well in America and permeates the Clinton camp...and this is the person/family people are choosing as our President. For someone with 35 years of experience, it would be so nice if she and her supporters would emphasis her accomplishments, her successes, her leadership, her qualifications for being President...oops my bad I mean twist Bill's accomplishments, successes, leadership into her own. Just note how her "celebrity" campaign supporters attack Senator Obama and espouse the same lies about his background and experience she constantly repeated on Meet the Press. But Senator Obama's major "celebrity" supporter, Oprah Winfrey, highlighted her beliefs and reasons for supporting Obama and what makes him the Right President for such a time as this. Although I will probably not vote for a Democrat in the Presidential election, Senator Obama, I salute you and thank you for being a man of class, quality, character and integrity. I know it is challenging but for the most part, more so than others, you have stayed above the fray and lies.

    Please continue to be a good example for all–young, old, black, white, hispanic, asian, liberal, conservative, democrat, and republican

    January 19, 2008 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  9. Washington State Voter

    Clinton can't beat McCain, she's just too polarized.

    The Clintons are such phoneys... They're so desperate... The difference here is that the people coming out in mass to support Obama really believe in him, that's why they support him... The Clintons are just reaching...

    January 19, 2008 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  10. Salida

    I know this will also not get posted. Most of my comments that are not in support of Obama aren't. I think that is really unfair as these forums should be used by stakeholders to express their opinions on the very important time in our lives and the history of this nation.

    Now to address this: So now Magic Johnson is not qualified to support a candidate based on the comments here. But Oprah can endorse a candidate and tell you all to vote and you all seem to just jump on the band wagon without asking which direction it is going. I saw the path the country would take when they voted for Bush and this was twice. I still say to people I told you so.

    I see you all now going down the same path except using a different method. With the state of the nation, do you want to elect someone who did not stay anytime on his current job, manages to escape relevant voting or votes present? It seems to me his intent when he ran for the IL. Senate was a bridge to get him to run for the Presidency right away. that is why he has not stayed any time there for fear of having to deal with records on his votes that could be used to question his ability, intelligence, integrity and stance on issues. We need a decisive leader.

    Wake up people,
    Obama – Not yet tested for job of President of the United States.
    Obama – Not yet tested for job as leader of the free world.

    The world is watching, make them know we are responsible enough to make a difference and change the course of this nation and preserve it for generations to come.

    January 19, 2008 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  11. cope

    Magic can't save Hillary he has just threw her campaign a serious no look pass
    for the black vote. The Clintons need to stick to the issues they might of had a
    better chance of getting James Worthy.

    January 19, 2008 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  12. Mike

    Mark, exactly. To people who argue how pathetic and pandering this is, then I guess you feel the same way about Oprah. At least you should. Because she has nothing to do with politics. So either people with fame, money and influence should be politically relevant or they shouldn't. People should be consistent, not love when Oprah campaigns and then derides when Magic Johnson does it.

    January 19, 2008 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  13. Jake, California

    Poor Magic Johnson...he needs his pills I believe, what is he doing hanging out with Bill?

    January 19, 2008 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  14. c martin

    Oprah is a supporter who brought drew fans( specifically women voters and african american voters) to come see her and hear Barack Obama. I guess Magic is bring out Laker fans who used to like him in the 80's and Laker fans who happen to live in the east coast.

    Go Magic, Bob Johnson and Rengal. If not for you...where would the Black vote be for Hilary?

    January 19, 2008 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  15. c martin

    I was waiting for Bill Clinton to start make him tap dance and shuffle across the stage saying " them Clintons shall love us....we's should luv dem back"

    "Hellory Clinton" 2008

    January 19, 2008 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  16. Me

    Barack Obama, that deceiver is of his father, the great deceiver.
    You have been hood-winked, bamboozled, or, whatever you want to call it. A duck is a duck no mater how pretty you make it. His slogan should be "By any means necessary."

    All of you who support him are hood-winked. The media is on his side. What a bunch of hypocrites. Bill Clinton is portrayed almost daily by negative stories, yet, Obama's wife is never mentioned. She stays in her world. The media will take care of the Obama's.

    Now, we all realize how many people in this country hate to see Hillary become our first woman president.

    Read and weep. It doesn't matter what the polls say. Hillary will be president. All the delegates will go to her.

    Shame on the media for thinking you have the power to sway voters. You have misjudged the American People. We are smarter than you think. God has blessed us with a stable mind so we can discern between what is true and what is not.

    You can battle against Hillary 24 hours a day, if God wants her to be president, then she will be president.

    Make sure all of you Clinton haters watch her inaugural ceremony. How great it will be when "W" passes the torch to Hillary.

    We love you Hillary. No matter how tough it gets, be encouraged and never give up. For the prize is just beyond the horizon.

    January 19, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  17. Ito, Yokosuka Japan

    Well...it's apparent that Magic, while he was a great basketball player, is not very smart. As the article points out the Lakers won the championship his rookie year. What the article doesn't say is that the Lakers would not likely have one the champion if it were not for Magic Johnson. Hence, the reason Magic won the MVP award.

    To here Magic Johnson moch his own success seems to actually make an even stronger case for Obama for the simple fact that Magic's own experience on the world stage (and there are many who followed his carreer) speaks louder than a scripted message that goes everything he experienced. So Magic's words mean nothing.

    Though I do find it humorous, as the article also mentions, that the person with Experience during Magic's first year, is an Obama Supporters.

    I think the Clinton's need to be a little smarter about who they pick for contrasting experience and being a rookie.

    January 19, 2008 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  18. JohnS

    Unfortunalety, some "idiots" who write that all that Obama says is "change" and "hope" are completely out of touch with the positions of the different candidates.

    Take as an example, Obama called for immediate "rebate" in his "ECONOMIC policy, not yet read by such idiots. Well, what did Hillary and President Bush say recently, both said EXACTLY what Obama had articulated in his response to the current economic crises. Go, read the facts!!!

    Of course, we continue to "day dream" that Hillary is Bill Clinton and that she, and only she can bring back the economic successes of the past.

    Well, what about this logic: Bill Clinton is Bill; he will certainly engage more Interns in the White House as a "stay home" husband. Why should we expect Bill to change? Why should we hope that Hillary will no longer anger Republicans and Independents? "Hope" and "change" are the keys to what we would like to be; not the same old dynasty roles while expecting "different results."

    January 19, 2008 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  19. Jay

    Who cares who Magic endorses anyway? Besides she is only using him to get elected. She has no scruples the biggest evidence of this was back in '04 when we had the chance to boot Bush out but the Clinton's refused to endorse John Kerry.

    They wouldn't endorse him because they knew it would mean Hillary could not run for president in '08. We had a chance to put this country on a better path and try to heal the wounds that Bush created, but she put her own selfish desires before that of the party and more importantly the country.

    We don't need a president that puts their own wants and desires before the greater good of our nation. We already had one like that... his name is Bush.... I've seen that movie and I know how it ends.... didn't care for it much.

    When Barack Obama speaks I believe he will do what is best for us; as a nation. He will unite us. He will heal the divide.

    Stand Up, and don't be afraid to be counted.
    Respect, Empower, Include.
    Omaba '08

    January 19, 2008 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  20. Chidi

    I could care less of what Magic Johnson or any other celebrity has to say regarding the candidates. But I am an Obama supporter based on what he represents. We definitely need a change from the old corporate politics that has been in existence for a long time. Also, we simply can't go from Bush to Clinton, and back to Bush- Clinton all over again. This is not an aristocracy. It is, if my memory hasn't failed yet, a democracy.

    January 19, 2008 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  21. Another Steve

    Geez, I give this one a big "Oh Brother" . What a celebrity to pick. I guess he can draw the aids votes and the black vote. I only wish there wasn't a writers strike, I'd love to see what they'd come up with on this one.

    Something that is important,.. regardless of Hillary's claimed 35 years experience. She is gonna bring a whopping lot of baggage back to the White House if she would ever get in, which in reality I don't see this happening. What for? There are plenty of politicians that have an axe to grind with the Clintons. Not to mention us voters whom the Clinton years weren't all that great. The biggest single positive was the economic growth that Bill takes credit for, even when it was the internet burst that Gore was actually responsible for.

    The memories of the Clinton years I have besides Bills cheating and lying were his signing Nafta which has been devastating to anyone in manufacturing in this country. Hillary I recall only for her failure in her managing to bring about health care reform. Many believe much of the problem was her hands on approach she is so proud of. Why are we even thinking of return to this era? Obama and Hillaries platforms aren't that different. Their skills in getting this done are. I'd give that one hands down to Obama. He is an intellect and will bring in good people that will help him get things done in a bipartisan way that needs to be done. Please no more Cliton theatrics. We really need to get our act together and I really don't see that there is a chance in hell of Hillary, one of the most polarizing persons in Washington getting this accomplished.

    January 19, 2008 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  22. Susie

    If Obama is making sharp barbs about Clinton and Edwards, how is he going to get along with world leaders and even our own Congress if he becomes president?

    This troubles me.

    January 19, 2008 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  23. Tim

    Obama supporter keep saying that Clinton is so 90's. Well, hate to break the new Obama is 46 years old and he is a baby boomer. He 's not a Gen x or Gen y. He is old school, try again.

    Magic is right, Obama is a rookie. These last few days of bad choices and slips of the tongue he has made is showing his inexperience.

    January 19, 2008 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  24. Bruce, San Francisco,CA

    Why are the Clintons so keen to spread this notion that somehow it is Hillary's turn to govern. USA is not their private property by the way, suggesting Obama is rookie who should step aside to let Hillary go it alone and come back when their chance is over is ridiculous idea. From the onset they thought Hillary was not going to get any contest in this run, i remember a debate where Hillary suggested that other candidates be dropped, i sure guess she even tried to use her husband's powers to influence the DNC to sanction that motion. These two are becoming a danger to America.

    January 19, 2008 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  25. Steve, Cheyenne WY

    Nice headline... "Clinton puts Magic Johnson front and center"
    Didn't we get enough of Bill doing that in the 90's?

    January 19, 2008 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
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