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. Paulette, Cincinnati, Ohio

    Of cource you were not Bill and you and Hillary hold your heads up high. By the way I don't have that "uncle" in my family Obama talks about. Does that mean something is wrong with my uncles? Shame on you Obama and since "words matter" I have one for you Obama.......HYPOCRITICAL

    March 17, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. Barb Reynolds, US Citizen - Ontario Canada

    I noticed he used the word "mugging" as a descriptive of what the Obama campaign did to him. Not playing the race card? I'm sure that someone of his intellect could have used a less provocative word. Another Freudian slip or something else?

    March 17, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Cindy

    Why is it such a big deal. Grow up and give me a break. I just don't believe it. On his term he was very good to the Black and t the Country, just stop Blaming the Clinton for everything.

    March 17, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. Danielle

    Enough. As a white voter from a majority white state won by Sen. Obama, I am ashamed of everyone in the campaigns and in the media, who have been making race an issue. I voted for Sen. Obama because he is able to articulate both policies AND an overarching vision for my country. I believe he would promote policies that would benefit most of us, while not leaving everyone else in the dust. When I voted, I did so not as a White American or a Latte-Sipping American or a Post-Racial American. I voted as a plain old, 9-5 working, American who loves my country.

    March 17, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. Chip from Ohio

    He's a chump! If you believe him, you are too.

    March 17, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. JJ in NY

    Oh right, bubba..... and you didn't inhale, and you didn't have sexual relations with "that woman", Ms. Lewinski . And I suppose the dog ate your homework too ?

    March 17, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. Colie Brice, Asbury Park, NJ

    Mr. President your compelling legacy and most unfortunately – your credibility is overshadowed by your infinite and grandiose capacity for deceit.

    March 17, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Lee Harrison, Brentwood TN

    "I Didn't", by Bill Clinton. Sounds like a good title for his biography. I smoked, but didn't inhale. I didn't have sex with that woman.... Now, I didn't play the race card. Um, a repeating theme!

    March 17, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  9. 2008Hillary!

    I have to say all those Obama's supporters are so blind!!!!!!!!!

    God Bless America.........However, you guys like someone curse your country right?

    2008 Hillary

    March 17, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. H

    You Obama supporters are so full of hate. OPEN your eyes. This is what the media wanted to happen. Make it a real election. Stop this nonsense."GROW UP" – GET RID OF THE MEDIA.

    March 17, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  11. Check Your Facts

    That depends on the meaning of play.
    Obama 08

    March 17, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  12. Xavier, Washington, DC

    Right, Bill. You didn't play the race card, just like you "did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinski." Face it, the jig is up. Hillary is not going to be president and you will not be able to use her administration to rewrite your legacy. William Jefferson Clinton, impeached for perjury.

    March 17, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  13. Liam

    Bimbo Bill is now calling his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, a liar, or was she actually lying to those African American groups when she apologized to them!. Hillary apologizes for what Bill did, and now Bill says that he never did what Hillary apologized for. America, do you really want those two snakes back in the White House?

    March 17, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  14. Sam

    I'm for Obama, and I'm black, and I don't believe for a second that Bill Clinton is racist. Whether he played the race card to get a political advantage, I don't know, but I doubt it. He's a good guy, his wife sucks though.

    March 17, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  15. Ron, TX


    Speaking of the race card, it's generally not a good idea to generically refer to a black man as a mugger.

    That is 100% use of the race card. Bold and in your face, no doubt about it.

    March 17, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. Black Woman

    True True
    I love the Clintons but Obama is black. If Hillary wins I will fully support her and will be as happy as if Obama won.

    March 17, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  17. La Petite Sorciere

    NO More Clintons that include Billy!!!! can someone tell him that?

    March 17, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. Victoria

    Unbelievable. Does he think that we are all stupid? Retirement is screaming his name. He needs to take his wife with him for company.

    March 17, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. Engawyer, Kansas City, Missouri

    He did not and would never play the race card. He was not called the first black president for nothing. The media has viciously tried to tag Bill as the reason for Hillary's demise.

    March 17, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  20. jerrywayne

    I agree with President Clintons comments–he was "spun" by Obama campaign.

    March 17, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. bennett

    This guy is most not believable person in American politics. Who even cares what he says anymore. If you lie in the public sphere, don't expect the integrity will come rushing back at some point.

    March 17, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. Thomas Koshy

    Bill Clinton is the best president we had in a long time.The race factor is coming out of Sen.Obama camp.Hillary is the only choice we have

    March 17, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. carolfowery

    You can't use Iraq in my book, period. We dont know what that will be and it's just promises, you can look at polls yourself and run on that basis. I dont know of any war being popular. WE ARE there, and we should let our military tell us what we need to do, not a candidate.
    Bill Clinton has never been one of my fav presidents, but he spoke the truth on this matter. What he said in South Carolina was the truth. When we have to sit back and watch "GD America" spewing out of the mouth of a minister, it's time to look seriously at real issues. Maybe that minister should ask himself "what would Jesus do??
    For many moons I have wished on all applications and school records that the race section be removed, period. Iim sick of Latino-American, African-American, White, Other, now that other is the big joke, maybe we are all "Other" huh....
    Our big question really is
    "Who is smart enough and has the ability to bring our congress together on all issues, not just one?" now that my friends is what
    we need! Who is it? You tell me

    March 17, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. Tim

    "I didn't say anything racist...Charlie Rangel said so."

    What a slimeball.

    March 17, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. Barb

    i was raised that all people are equal! i raised my children that all
    people are equal! we are all human beings! but it sinkens me that
    obama would raise his children in a church that teaches othe wise
    and hatred of our country!
    why does cnn beat up on any remarks made by others OVER AND
    OVER and yet barely mentioning obama today?

    March 17, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
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