March 17th, 2008
12:45 PM ET
15 years ago

Bill Clinton: We did not play race card


Watch Bill Clinton speak with CNN's Sean Callebs.

(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton defended his role in his wife's presidential campaign in South Carolina, disputing claims he made race a campaign issue.

"What happened there is a total myth and a mugging," Clinton told CNN's Sean Callebs in New Orleans, Louisiana, over the weekend.

"It's been pretty well established. Charlie Rangel ... the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in unequivocal terms in South Carolina that no one in our campaign played any race card, that we had some played against us, but we didn't play any."

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soundoff (344 Responses)
  1. Joe

    I totally agree with Bill Clinton's description of media mugging. They have been easily manipulated by the likes of Chris Mathews, and more subtly by Axelford.

    March 17, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. fred

    AMEN to that jerrywayne, that is exactly what the media has done. They are not pressing Obama on this major issue. Too bad.

    I feel that Obama is a evil man and will destroy our country, him and his racist wife!!!

    March 17, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. Jenny, Rio Vista, CA

    Of course Bill. The whole country knows that you never lie.

    March 17, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. Tim

    I very much agree.
    Listen to what he says. He is trying to keep unity.

    Pelosi on the other hand has said it is impossible to have unity now.

    Pelosi has proved to be a divider.

    As speaker and with half of the party supporting Senator Clinton, and half of the party supporting Senator Obama, You do not tell America that Unity is impossible, especially at a time like this.

    I am sure that Al Gore supporters feel the popular vote is very important. reference to the 2000 election with Bush.

    Representative Pelosi, your constituents picked Senator Clinton as did Senator John Kerry and Senator Ted Kennedy. Seems to me they are not listening to their constituents, when they say you should leave one of the fine candidates off the ticket.

    Pelosi your DEAD WRONG!!!

    Pelosi will also be the fault of the race war that is brewing. When you have one race voting 90% for a candidate that = racism.

    March 17, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. Jes

    Some of these comments are ridiculous. Are you all 12 years old or something? Determine whether he did or didn't say anything racist based on what he actually said in SC, not on what happened years ago regarding an affair he had. One has nothing to do with the other. How utterly absurd. You are hating for the sake of hating.

    March 17, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  6. Sean, Detroit MI

    I'm sick of people saying Hillary has the most experience and is more electable than Obama. Obama has been an ELECTED official much longer than Hillary has. You cant count being "first lady" as presidential experience. In the words of Chris Rock: "Hillary keeps going on and on about her experience as first lady making her qualified to be president. Being married to someone doesn't make you experienced enough to do their job. I've been married to my wife for ten years and if she was up here right now y'all wouldn't laugh once."

    March 17, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. Steve C - Atlanta

    He is worst than a racist! He is a racist pretending that he isn't... Both Bill and Hillary are so UNGENUINE that it is disgusting! They only care about themselves and their reputations and will do or say anything to put themselves above others.

    Obama 08 or McCain! Anyone but Billary!!!!

    March 17, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. Debra

    All this Hate Hillary and Racist Obama crap will not get my vote. Truce already. Save it for the Republicans. They are the ones probably fueling this anyway. They are the only ones gaining from it.

    March 17, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  9. JacknJill

    Somebody PLEASE tell Bill that:

    Hillary is NOT the most electable. She is the easiest to DEFEAT!

    Hence Obama's ability to come out of nearly NOWHERE and rise up to be AHEAD of MS> CLINTON who was a supposed SHOE-IN for the Dem nom.

    Hillary would LOSE to MCCAIN easily!

    Wake up Bill, you can't force us to believe your lies anymore! We are OVER YOU!

    March 17, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. Jane, Dallas

    The race card is from Obama campaign.
    The hateful speeches from Obama's pastor Rev Wright who inspired Obama for 20 years, which also stated in Obama's book.
    The divisive angry statements used to attack Hillary come from Obama's supporters first.

    Obama, you are always bragging that you have a good judgement. Where was it in your "uncle Rev Wright" case? You can play with your words as much as you can now but do not play with our brain. Don't insult Americans intelligence! We are better than you think! Go away!

    March 17, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. Kurtis

    I am sick and tired of BO fans. Once Hillary wins the nomination, they can catch up on all their back episodes of American Idol and Showtime at the Apollo waiting on their DVRs and leave the real politics to the masters!!!

    These jerks try to take us back to a day when REPUBLICANS impeached a President because he lied...about sex. That’s all they got out of 8 years of investigation. He lied about sex. Who cares? Before you open your little pie holes and dredge all that BS up again, think about what YOU'VE lied about...think about all YOUR dirty, sleazy little secrets and how you'd feel if they were exposed before a nation.


    If BO wins the nomination, I am definitely voting for John McCain. At least he is an honorable man with experience. BOs words mean nothing anymore now that we are getting a glimpse of his true color(s).

    March 17, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  12. Stephanie, PA

    So, now Charlie Rangel has the final word on racism in politics? Who knew? More importantly, who cares?

    I'm sticking with Obama in '08!

    March 17, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. M.

    Sure they played the race card and everyone knows it and expects nothing less from the Clintons...The denial is all part of the package ...It's not going to get better either...Not only is Obama an unexpected obstacle, he's winning...So let the 'fun' continue with this pair...They're masters at the game.

    March 17, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. Louie

    Most of you Obama 08 folks sound like republicans. I guess you could be since he is getting the cross-over votes. However, if this is the intellectual level of his supporters I'll wait this one out. You are pretty disgusting making up things about the Clintons that are not true to make Obama sound like the better choice. Unfortunately your emotional s*** brained responses are turning most of us off. I agree that Obama is not as wonderful as his rhetoric would have you believe. At least the Clintons show themselves for what they are. They have accomplished a lot for this country and can do more. What has Obama done for his country? It's all show, no beef!

    March 17, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. Ana

    Obama please explain the dubious dealings with Rezko? The Senator says that it was a "mistake" to involve Rezko in the purchase of his house. Where is Obama's judgement? By the way he bought the house $300,000 below market with the help of Rezko and then, Rezko pressumably sold Obama a piece of joining land to enlarge the grounds of the house. Suspicious, Obama tell us the truth, Please...

    March 17, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. Bill

    It is possible to say the Clintons did not play the race card. Ferraro did and the Clintons did not back away.

    March 17, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. Midge from Ohio

    Get real, Bill Clinton is NOT A RACIST and his remarks were NOT racist. You people need to get a life.

    March 17, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. Kevin

    Right, Bill. Then why mention Jesse Jackson and not several thousand other candidates for the presidency? Your choice was targeted, and as a result....disgusting. What a repulsive man you've become.

    March 17, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. Kathy

    The one thing that people have failed to realize is that if Obama is racist, he has to be racist against himself, his mother, maternal grandparents, sister, his children who have caucasian blood and other members of his family. I know that most people want to forget that he has as much White blood in him as he has Black blood. It is very difficult to be racist against yourself.

    March 17, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. t-bone

    Drop out Hillary. Anyway you add up the math, you lose. The Clinton's took out Gore and now your trying to take out Obama.

    Bill, time after time you play the race card. You can't take keep taking it back and saying I didn't mean it. You might get away with it once or twice but now we don't believe you.

    March 17, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  21. NC4Obama

    I'm so tired of race being an issue. If it were all white people running this would not be an issue so that says a lot.

    March 17, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  22. Paul C - NY

    Barack is like Spitzer. Talk all about change, change for this, change for that. And yet when they have the power they do nothing. Let us not forget that all of you who are voting for OBAMA, does not take a stand on any major issue. He states he is "present" for the vote. That does not show leadership. He doesn't make any sense when he talks. Also, he has been taking more and more words from Hillary and rephrasing them as his own idea. Come on people WAKE UP and realize that Obama would be the worst thing for this country. Hillary actually has a chance to rebound the country. Bush number 1 screwed us up. Bill Clinton fixed it. Bush number 2 screwed us up again. Hillary WILL FIX IT. OBAMA WON'T

    March 17, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  23. AF Vet

    And who cares if he had sex with 10 woman...His legacy as one of our all time best Presidents is well established...If you don't think this campian is not about race, then I suggest we look at CNN reporting and see how they break voters into race and sex and compare the results with fancy maps and diagrams. Case in point CNN reported in Mississippi 91% of the blacks voted for Obama..and 56% of the whirtes voted for Hillary..Who cares who voted for does not matter..Its the issues and if you look closely both Hillary and Obama their platforms are almost identical. Vote for the person based on issues NOT on the color of his skin, or gender, or if she is marreid to a past President..Vote on the issues...Keep this up and our country will be aain governed by a republican...Unless of course you want to be in IRAQ for "100y ears"

    March 17, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  24. Ant

    Bill Clinton we as african americans are not that matter how you try to twist the rhetoric....we know what you said..and yes you and your wife and the whole Hiliary for president has attempted to isolate the black vote because you know that the more you do that the less white people will vote for are a habitual and perpetual liar..we all remember the lie under oath " I never had sex with that woman" Bill you and your lies make me sick..ohh and one more thing..the big lump sum you received from some guy in a former Soviet Republic for the Clinton that why youand your wifes tax returns have not been made talk about transperancy..again who should we annd your wife play politics..

    March 17, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. J.H. Ayres St. Louis, Mo.

    The blindness and stupidity of people truly amazes me, there is only one left that has the intellegence and experience to lead this country and he is not a Democrat.

    March 17, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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