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. lorenzo

    Magic you spoke hope in your rookie year and throughtout your career you spoke hope and hard work with determination. Now Bill has you changing your game.


    OBAMA 08

    January 19, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. Bob Charleston SC

    Obama's mother is white – that makes him half white.

    Obama's father is African – that makes him half African American.

    Obama was raised (or reared) by his white mother and white grandparents.

    Obama does not want this primary to be about race.


    January 19, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  3. james Charlotte NC

    BTW Ronnie, the term "I was so hyped" is a black term. Still don't like the Clinton's though.

    January 19, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. Rachel

    To H. Dannon:

    I am a white attorney with a civil rights background, having worked in northern Florida for many years representing black defendants who have suffered discrimination in the criminal justice system.

    I support Hillary because I think she will make the best president. My decision has nothing to do with race or gender. I just think she's better qualified.

    It's everyone's responsibility to reject the race card and refuse to play it. And that includes well-intentioned white attorneys.

    January 19, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. OUCH

    Here comes the Obama Uber-Cult of Hate. OUCH! It's your new rah! rah! slogan. Don't forget, the rules of the cult require you to call the other candidates disparaging names. OUCH! We love Obama, we uber-hate everyone else. OUCH! Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah! OUCH! Ronald Reagan. Present. Ronald Reagan. Present..... Good luck with that illegal vote. Going to complain about a fix if he wins that vote?

    January 19, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. Marie in Arlington Tx

    Why are you keeping my posts in moderation so long? My last one was at 11:06 pm last night.

    January 19, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. mittie waddell

    Magic, P L E A S E!!!!!!! you do not need to be pandering the Clintons. You did rather well as a rookie, didn't you??????? Wasn't your success a result of your skills and hard work??????? or was it??????????

    January 19, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. Gloria, San Francisco, Ca

    "We the People"????

    After electing probably the dumbest and most corrupt administration, not once, but twice,"We the People" are going to keep us in the toilet again. We have become a society of "reality tv" hype, with no concept of what true debate and quality is.

    Anyone that praises Ronald Reagan is not going to get my vote. Obama should think about switching to the Republican Party.

    I am writing in Rosanne Barr for president. That should make all of you happy.

    January 19, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Servat

    Why is CNN so pro-Hillary?

    January 19, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. charles enoch

    Magic Johnson and Bob Johnson..don't represent the AA community..sorry Clinton..We hae someone new and he's called BO...he not only represents the AA community..but the truth...he represents America

    January 19, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. Arnold Swanson

    And this is not playing the Race Card ???????????

    January 19, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Greg Jones Cleveland, Ohio

    Should Hillary Apologize to Blacks ?????
    Blacks Learning 'Goldwater Girl' Hillary Was AGAINST
    the Civil Rights Act of 1964....Feel Deceived !

    An article by Washington columnist Robert Novak (Google: 'Hillary, King, Goldwater) reveals that Hillary Clinton was a staunch supporter of Sen. Barry Goldwater (who was adamently against the civil rights act and a segregationist) during the same period she claims in all black church appearances that she was for the civil rights movement. Blacks feel that it was impossible for Hillary to have been a Goldwater Girl and pro civil rights at the same time which leads to the assumption that Ms. Clinton is re-inventing her past. Many blacks feel deceived by The Clintons. Should Hillary Clinton make a public apology to blacks ?

    January 19, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Elsie

    when will obama's minister apologize for his remarks about President Clinton and his reference to Zionists being racist. The head of the BET network did referring to Obama's book.

    The press seems to have double standards. I hope at the next debate Obama will be asked if he shares his minister beliefs.

    To me, Obama is a phony.

    January 19, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Christian, Tampa FL

    Yeah, a "rookie" who's been an elected official far longer than Hillary has.

    January 19, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. AnnAloha, PA Independent Thinker

    Did the Las Vegas Journal Review just endored Senator Clinton yesterday?
    Is it not news worthy?

    January 19, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. Hope-FUL

    To PETER ORIAVWOTE: Let me see if I understand your point. The Clintons present Magic Johnson as a spokesperson, yet Obama is playing the race card? Are you suggesting that the Magic Johnson ad was not designed to target African Americans? I believe such was the tactic. However, as an African-American voter, I am insulted. I have no problem with politicians allowing their key supporters to speak on their behalf. I need to hear, though, the POLITICAL basis for the support. I know it may be a difficult concept for those who think RACE first, but African Americans actual understand life well beyond a BASKETBALL COURT! At least, Obama is not insulting my intelligence. The Clintons are swiftly losing the support of educated, successful, professional and conscience African
    Americans who are still in touch with the issues that surround the African American community at large and who desire a candidate that will address those issues. Protective and responsible global/foreign policies, better schools, affordable health care, equitable taxation, Constitutionally driven law enforcement and a sound, effective, fair criminal justice system, to name a few. Consistent, reliable financial market comes to mind, as well. Now, did I say ANYTHING about basketball? Let the candiates for the Democratic Party speak for themselves and vote for who best states a viable approach to the issues at hand.
    No one seems to be acknowledge the vast number of voters who have matriculated from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. But we are a MASSIVE voting block that generally remains committed to social change for the betterment of ALL Americans. Not only do we vote, but we also financially support candidates we believe will promote a true Democracy. And no candidate should take our votes for granted. It will take much more than talk and popularity to gain the votes of me and my colleagues!

    January 19, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. Voteless

    I thougth it could be Obama, but he voted twice to fund the war, and now praises Republicans in a most ungodly manner. Mother! Where is my passport?

    January 19, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Teresa

    Well Barack has OPRAH...

    January 19, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. charlotte

    If your white and have black supporters your pandering. If your black and have white supporters your not pandering. If your black and have black supporters you are the answer to all their dreams. If your a Senator who votes on issues, as present, rather then YEA?NEA, you don't make mistakes, or do you?

    January 19, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. Zeke

    You Dude (Magic) Is Still Alive. Obama 08

    January 19, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  21. Zeke

    Two womanizers of course.

    January 19, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. Amy

    Hey Nevada voter....so your friends are no longer supporting Obama because of his "Reagan comments"? Looks to me like they (and you) are missing the point entirely. I don't recall Obama praising Reagan for his political decisions, but rather stating that Reagan went against the conventional wisdom of the time. Huge difference. I am ready for someone now in 2007 to go against conventional wisdom once more. That's why Obama is the only choice for this country.

    January 19, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. Petra Chardon

    It's so easy to bash on politicians and see the negative. There is no politician we couldnt find the negative in when we look at things this way. And that's what i see in a lot of these comments. I would not want to be advised by any one commenting being that negative or sarcastic. Isn't that what the great Martin Luther King couseled us to do: not to get sarcastic of full of hatred, but to stand side by side and work together with those who differ from us. It's that ind of positivity that will change things for real.

    January 19, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. Kevin , WI

    If Hillary gets the nomination it'll be gift to the GOP as it will be an easy victory. People either really like Hillary or really, really dislike her and will vote against her.
    Please, please, please run for the oval office Mayor Bloomberg if Hillary gets the nod.

    January 19, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Karen, Atlana

    For those of you who think Obama is paying the race card, you need to watch some of the earlier debates. Hillary has been baiting Obama about race starting back to the debate at Howard University . The Clintons are very slick. Obama is bi-racial so he really had no need to play the race card. I guess this just goes back to the days of slavery where one drop of black blood makes you black. I am not voting for Obama because he is black if he were white I would still vote for him because he is the best candidate, period. Also, for the black people supporting Clinton, can you please tell me what the Clintons have done for African Americans, everytime I ask a black person, I get no intelligent answer. I have tried to look it up on the internet and all I find is negative things, like how the incararation of black men grew due to laws inacted while Bill Clinton was president. etc.. I think a lot of black folks have been hoodwinked and bamboozled. The Clinton (that's right because that is really what it it) lack honor and integrity, that does not make for good leadership to me. I guess I believe "Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me".

    January 19, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
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