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. Jeff

    I don't care what cards they say Bill played. Hillary is the more qualified and more electable candidate period. Obama is not even fit for vice president and he'll be lucky to retain his senate seat after this is all through; the guy's all smoke and mirrors and I wish people would wake up.

    March 17, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. S Callahan New York

    God help this country who has allowed a few to distort their perception about what is good and right for our leadership in this country. I pray we vote for a leader who is a true supporter of our constitution; is not a taker of money from lobbyist who steer our tax dollars for causes we don't believe in; and for a person in the faith and belief that God is the ultimate ruler of all things and the giver of grace to get us through everything.

    March 17, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Brian

    One Clinton-supporting Representative says you didn't place the race card and that's the fact? Hmm, I'll trust the impressions of millions of Americans over the agenda of one politician, thanks.

    March 17, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. Sonny James

    How can abyone believe Bill Clinton?

    He looked dead in our eyes, pointed his finger, and without blinking his eyes, sternly said...

    " I did not have sex with that woman!"

    March 17, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. Tone

    Obama's pastor has less to do with this issue than John McCain's bigoted pastor has to do with it.

    They played the race card to appeal to the Archie Bunker types and unfortunately its working.

    March 17, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  6. Rich

    Obama this, Clinton that, McCain this.. blah blah blah... While all of you are on hear moaning about your candidate and how they are treated, why they are better, whatever your argument is the country is falling further into a hole it will not be able to get out of no matter who is in office. It is time everyone realize the problem is not the President, the problem is not Republican or Democrat, the problem is all of you can't think for yourself. You believe what you read, you listen to what you hear and most of you have no clue!

    Change yourself and the country will follow... or you can sit around all day and figure out how you are going to spend a handout from the government that is only going to cost us more in the long run!

    Grow Up America!

    CNN, I am hoping you will actually post this...

    March 17, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. steve dodson

    Bill Clinton couldn't tell the truth if you put a gun to his head and cocked it. If I hear one more time how it's the Obama campaign playing the race card and not the Clinton's, I'm leaving the Democratic Party.

    March 17, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. RealityKing

    Hillary is right, McCain IS more qualified to be president. No matter how Bill defines the word..

    March 17, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. Political Jonze

    Once again trying to play the "poor me" victim. You can't trust a Clinton. Release your tax filings, Clinton Library donor list, White House Papers (and first lady schedule!) and let America judge Hillary on what she did and not who she says she is. The fact that the Clinton's are fighting so hard to keep all of these documents under lock and key is all the proof one needs that there is dirty dealings they want to cover up.

    March 17, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. Appiah-Marfo

    Obama yes might know Rev. Wright for 20 years, but does that mean that he went to church every Sunday? or anything the church doors open for the whole 20 years?. Obama, is a mere congregation member. Stop the hullabalu and discuss pressing issues...economy, health care, and so on. "Race-politics" of the 60s- 90s will not workl this time....Obama ...all the way.

    March 17, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  11. Katy Hill Prescott Az.

    The Clintons and their lies, scheming and ugliness are turning voters off. They are not black, they are not poor, they are not honest, they are destroying any hope for change and alienating voters. I agree with Rev. Wright completely when it comes to them.

    March 17, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. Keeping It Real

    When are we ever going to rise above this? Also, the name calling in not necessary.
    Cy- what qualifies you to call someone an idoit. REALLY!

    Race issue should not be apart of this camp... point blank....

    Everyone should be honest and realize that this country has a long way to go in terms of race especially if a person's comment can get all you bloggers upset!!! This goes for blacks, whites & latinos. Lets be for real. Vote on issues and person mostly like to change the current situation.

    Regardless of the negative press, I am still voting for Obama as I know no one can speak for me but me and I know no one can speak for Obama but Obama.

    March 17, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  13. GC

    Since when is staunch Clinton supporter Charlie Rangel the absolute authority on use of the so called race card?

    March 17, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. Kimberly Beasley

    It depends on what your defintion of the word "play" is, Bill, right?

    March 17, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. Charlie San Diego

    Master Bill,

    You are showing you true color by talking like an old "Plantation Owner" to kept black americans under your control. They are smarter than you think. Wake up and smell the coffee eventhough you may not like the color of it!.

    Charlie San Diego
    San Marcos, CA

    March 17, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. Alex from IL

    *SIGH* Yes, Bill, you DID play the race card. Both you and Hillary made some statements that made bloggers and black radio people say "huh?". In response to questions about those statements, you attacked Obama, rather than attacking the people who ACTUALLY raised questions with what you said. The voters quickly picked up on this, and voted overwhelmingly against you. I mean your wife, sorry.

    March 17, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. David

    This is the same man who swore to the American public, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman!" We all heard what he said and he can deny it all he wants but it was pretty clear.

    March 17, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. Cee

    Agreed, Angus. Are people so quick to forget the calls for impeachment during Clinton's scandals in 1997-99? Or the most recent suppression of archival materials pertaining to the pardons that Clinton granted or activities that occurred during Clinton's time in office?

    We need to end this inability to be honest with the American people, whether it is by Bush or by the Clintons. I will vote for either Obama or McCain dependent upon whoever is best able to prove that they will be as honest and as straightforward as possible in the White House, acting as a leader based on the will of the American people and not some personal agenda or desire to be re-elected.

    March 17, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. JayJay


    March 17, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. PhillyNola, New Orleans, LA

    Firstly, when did Charlie Rangel become the voice or expert of the black community? Bill and Hillary Clinton always want to surround themselves with a "firewall" of old-school and somewhat irrelevant African American leaders so that they can shield themselves from being called racists. They also play the card – look at what we did for blacks all our lives... does that mean black people indebted to them for life, or mean that the Clintons are immune from scrutiny? Frankly, Obama was running a campaign that transcended race and the Clintons literally inserted race into the race. No one ever called white people racist for voting in large margins for white candidates. Yet if African Americans do it, it's wrong. Oh the double standards...

    March 17, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  21. Edgar

    Funny how over the weekend there was little blogging going on when the news was about Obama minister. But now that Bill is on the news we 120 comments and counting.

    Double standard by side!

    March 17, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. OMG

    Now some of you are claiming that the use of the word "mugging" was racist??? Could you be any more ignorant and divisive? What are you revealing about yourself by thinking that the word "mugging" has some specific relationship to an African American? Trust me, it has more to do with you than it dies with Bill Clinton, or reality. So, keep playing the race card Obama supporters, cuz it's all played out.

    March 17, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  23. Vote Obama


    You cannot change things if you run away from contraversy!!!!! He stayed in his church even when he disagreed with some of the statements being made because he wanted to make a difference and to chnage that kind of thinking- ONE CANNOT CHANGE THAT KIND OF THINKING IF ONE RUNS AWAY!!!! ONE MUST STAY AND FIGHT!!!




    March 17, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  24. Lynn in NM

    Whatever! Does Bill even know the meaning of "playing the race card"? After all, he didn't know what the definition of "is" is.

    March 17, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  25. Joe

    I think Obama is the one that continues to play the race card when anyone criticizes his lack of experience and his non-substantive "change" rhetoric.Geraldine Ferraro was correct when she stated that he would not be where he is if it weren't for his circumstances. If he were a white junior senator with virtually no experience, he would not even be in the running for the Presidency. I don't even know how this guy takes himself seriously..

    March 17, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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