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. orlando

    Bill didn’t play a race card and media and Obama did in order to beat Hillary. I have listened what Bill said many times and don’t draw such a conclusion. The media helped Bush push this country into the war and now they help Obama get elected.
    People in this country want neither Buch and his right wing nor Obama and his left wing.

    March 17, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. JP, Illinois

    All candidates and camps need to focus on keeping this on the up-and-up, and supporting the Democratic causes first. Hillary has taken this primary into negativity, and it is only hurting us all.

    Let's focus on the positives. Obama in 08. May the best individual win.

    March 17, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Nick

    I can agree with Clinton. But I do think he should not have even compared the two to begin with. And for the record, I don't like the comparison of Obama to Kennedy.

    March 17, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  4. Ken B.

    Obama is getting 92% of the black vote and Bill Clinton played the race card? Yeah, right.

    March 17, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. Rose - Baltimore, MD

    I am still voting for Obama and I don't have a problem with past Wright's messages (I'm not African-American). His message gave me alot to think about, especially people being injected with the Aids virus. I don't know how true that is but I have heard of it before. That, "The Aids virus was originally created to eliminate the black population in American". I wonder why the guys who do factcheck have not checked out this one. Of course they will not because believe it or not everyone is afraid of a black man being president, a large portion of them being the media that is why they insist on pastor wright's surmons to destroy Obama. You know what, you will not succeed.

    March 17, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. Paulinus

    Bill can no longer fool Americans. He and his wife did nothing to help bridge the gap between Blacks and Latinos when they were in the white house. They were only after the votes. America needs someone to unite the country. How can a man who lied under oath be trusted in the White House in the capacity as First Man? God Bless America?

    March 17, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. TA

    Right, and Geraldine Ferraro didn't play the race card. The pictures of Berak in African garb wasn't the race card. The "semi-confirmation" of his Christianity on 60 minutes wasn't the race card.
    How stupid do the Clinton's think we are?

    March 17, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. Mike, Toronto

    He reenforces the perception that he would say anything in order to achieve his personal goals.

    March 17, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Jack Walden

    Seems Bill after leaving Presidency is suffering from an acute bout of "foot in the mouth disease". If he keeps going at this rate, his legacy will
    soon end up with that of George Bush.

    March 17, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. shirley

    Hillary started her campaign by playing the gender card, "We'll make history by electing the first woman President'. When that didn't bring in enought votes, Hillary played the race card. Still not enough votes so she brought religion into the race. Shame on the news media for running Wright out of his church and putting Obama in the position of defending his Pastor. Do you have time now to insist Hillary release her tax returns? We all know there is something there she doesn't want voter's to see or it would not be an issue for her. You had time and resources to report on Obama and Rezno, how about Clinton vs. Paul? We have a candidate who is a defendant in a Federal case and this is not news worthy? Shame on all of you.

    March 17, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. al gore

    Journalists and clinton supporters,

    The clintons and their supporters have introduced a 21st century southern strategy into the campaign....I hope all of you are so proud of your canidate and your level of journalistic integrity....great job!!!!

    March 17, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. linus

    He did it again!

    Quote: "Once African-Americans understood that they had a candidate...”

    Translation: African-Americans have a candidate. That candidate is Obama. So Obama is the African-American candidate.


    March 17, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. Walter S Hrynkiw

    It occurs to me that Senator Obama has had a free ride. There is nothing specific in President Clinton's remarks to call racist. Look at the remarks of Obama's pastor and tell me that these are not specifically racist remarks. It is incredible for someone to say that he is close friends with someone and does not know his views on a topic as important as race after tewnty years. To say you did not know of these sermons is equally incredible.

    March 17, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. Victoria

    Obama has been the only one playing the race card, when it is convenient. If you want to talk about about race and unity, lets keep talking about Obama's spiritual advisor, that is a message that has just lost Obama the nomination. Enough with all you Obama fanatics

    March 17, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. SW-GA

    I do think the Clinton campaign tried to raise the race issue in the campaign in order to make people think twice about voting for a black man. Problem is, people of all races became very disgusted by their actions.
    About the drama with Hillary’s campaign advisor and Obama’s pastor…..When you are running for any kind of high position as both Obama and Clinton are, there are going to be supporters as well as people in your campaign that say and do stupid things. We need to continue looking at the issues and stop focusing on the drama.

    March 17, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. Concerned Voter

    The Clintons are a lot of things, but playing the race card ? No way. This is Obama marketing. What else does he have. Certainly not a record.

    The Clintons have done more for the African American community than Obama ever will.

    March 17, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  17. ILoveAmerica

    Well, did Charles Rangel ever agree with Bill Clinton that Obama's opposition to the war in Iraq was a "fairy tale?" I don't think so.

    March 17, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. Yinka Lawal

    Why all this race card that CNN and other News are showing to the public. its not fair and CNN is ready to destroy this man reputation. why is press trying to seperate this country. please let this people face the problem that americans are facing. Stop this race card that Hillary and Obama did not mention out of there mouth. Hillary is smart and Obama is smart also, and please let the americans make there decision. Why Joe in MSNBC hate Obama. Every net work look like they want republican to win.

    March 17, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. david

    Who is promoting hate in this race? Definitely Obama's compaign. People, neurtral or not, are intimated by Obama's supporters on Internet. This is just another movement based on hate.

    March 17, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. Di

    When Obama's wife Michele said "This is the first time I've been proud of America" she sounds EXACTLY like Rev. Wright!!!!!! How disgusting and sad. If Obama was falling asleep during Wright's sermons, Michele definitely was VERY alert and agrees with him.

    March 17, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. Deb

    As we all know now....

    Obama is the extreme Hateful Racists Liar!

    Obama should bow out now, while his


    If he stays in the Race we will only be caught up in incredible negativity that won't accomplish a thing.

    Obama is no longer a viable candidate!

    March 17, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. MikeinOhio

    Until Bill Clinton comes forth and truthfully discloses where all of the money has come from, I will see him and his wife as two all-american liars capable of fooling the democratic electorate again.
    Politicians have ruined this country and we do not need the same old, same old. None of the three remaining possibilities inspire any amount of hope in me. Picking the least of the evils offered, I will vote for Obama or McCain in November.

    March 17, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  23. Mcpoke

    I think it is a rather sad state right now for Mr. Obama and his campaign. Here is a qualified individual gathering support to be the nominee of the Democratic party, having a great deal of success, and now needs to defend himself because of his race. It is unfortunate that his pastor said what was said regarding Hillary, but I find it interesting the video came out as quickly as it did to snuff out the abuse Mr. Obama received from Ferraro and the Clinton campaign. Someone had this video already to release – you just don't go to sermons and video them. It is hard to say with whom do you blame for the video getting on You Tube, but it seems suspicious to me, almost "dug up" by the Clinton campaign to force the attention off of their Ferraro mess and put Mr. Obama in a state of defense.
    I am sure Mr. Obama will rise above these tactics and it will just make him more battle-ready for the mud-slinging the McCain camp will ensue.

    March 17, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. Laura

    Where is Obama's tax return for the year he bought his house? I want to see a list of which charities he donated the Rezko money to.

    March 17, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. Desiree

    Bill Clinton was not trying to play the race card, the media spun everything around to make it look like he was. The media loves this stuff and hasn't dropped it yet because it get a lot of ratings. If the democrats don't start to work together and talk about the issues that are facing the American people then the republicans will keep the Whit House.

    March 17, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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