April 22nd, 2008
10:27 AM ET
15 years ago

Bill Clinton: Obama camp 'played the race card on me'


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/22/art.bclinton0422.ap.jpg caption="Former president Clinton campaigned for his wife in Pennsylvania recently."]
(CNN) - On the eve of Tuesday’s critical Pennsylvania primary, former President Bill Clinton accused Barack Obama’s campaign of playing the race card against him.

After the phone interview with Delaware radio station WHYY Monday night, a stray comment of his on the issue was also recorded before he hung up: “I don’t think I should take any s*** from anybody on that, do you?”

The former president had been asked whether his remarks comparing Obama’s strong showing in South Carolina to that of Jesse Jackson in 1988 had been a mistake given their impact on his wife Hillary Clinton’s campaign. “No, I think that they played the race card on me,” said Clinton, “and we now know from memos from the campaign and everything that they planned to do it all along.”

“We were talking about South Carolina political history and this was used out of context and twisted for political purposes by the Obama campaign to try to breed resentment elsewhere. And you know, do I regret saying it? No. Do I regret that it was used that way? I certainly do. But you really got to go some to try to portray me as a racist.”

He added that the way Obama’s campaign had reacted was “disrespectful to Jesse Jackson” and that the former presidential candidate had told him he was not offended, and that “we all know what’s going on."

UPDATE: At a Pittsburgh press availability, Obama was asked about Clinton's charge that his campaign had drawn up plans to use 'the race card.'

“Hold on a second,’’ he said. “So former President Clinton dismissed my victory in South Carolina as being similar to Jesse Jackson and he is suggesting that somehow I had something to do with it? You better ask him what he meant by that. I have no idea what he meant. These were words that came out of his mouth. Not words that came out of mine.’’

Related video: Watch Obama respond to Bill Clinton's 'race card' comment

soundoff (316 Responses)
  1. Erin

    The only people playing the race (& gender) card(s) are Bill & Hill. Sheesh, what a whiner!

    April 22, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. mitch from ark.

    the clinton's are not racist.they're just not very good tacticians.their campaign has really let them down,but,their dishonesty has hurt them worse.

    April 22, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  3. Robert

    I'm glad spoke up. We all knew this already but it is only the Obama camp that is allowed to bring up this issue or speak about it. Watch out – here come all the negative remarks from the Obama camp coming on line about this...............

    April 22, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. Bill

    I used to have respect for the Clintons, only in regards to what they did for the country back in the 90's...now after seeing this from him, what a desperate cheap shot. Obama using the "race card" on Bill Clinton? What a load of horse puckey.

    April 22, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. GM, Dallas, TX

    And all of you Obamma supporters who don't think he will play the "race card" if elected, you're puffing up the wrong pipe. While cabinet/ministry will Wright fill? Picture it now! Of course this will probably not be posted as CNN is soooooooooooo biased for him!

    April 22, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. John Des Plaines, IL

    Quit complaining Bill, you helped seal her fate with your arrogance and big mouth. She'll be home soon to keep an eye on you. Better hurry and get what you can before Mom gets home.

    April 22, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  7. John Lith

    Typical Clintonesque spin. Turn your negative into a "positive." Trouble is, BILL, ain't going to work THIS time. Bill, whining isn't very becoming of a former president. Whine all you want. Your words were NOT taken out of context. They were what they were, Period.

    April 22, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. Jesse

    Bill the world knows you are no racist, Hillary is no racist, and Obama is no racist. But what you said about South Carolina was just dumb and it costed you votes there. The only person you can blame for that is you.

    April 22, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  9. garry

    Enough of this attacking and whining.

    Clintons are the old way.

    Obama is the new way.

    Vote for the new way.

    April 22, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. JAB

    Obama has played the race card all along – that's the only way he can win. I mean just look – 90% of blacks are for him! Go figure people and get real!

    April 22, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  11. PA for Hillary

    I don't know if Obama plays the race card but I know that he is just another politican-fool me before. Let's be objective and face the facts, all three of them (Obama, Hillary, McCain) lie, misrepresent and engage in negative campaigning. All three take money from PACS and oil executives, check out factscheck.org-yes Obama too-5th on the list. McCain is wrong on the war. There's very little difference between Obama and Hillary on issues except she has a better plan, a stab at universal health care, a moral necessity. She also has the strong experience, having been at 2 of 3 branches of gov't and a record to show most of this. PA for Hillary.

    April 22, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  12. Van Damage

    You Bill Clinton, played the 'race' card !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 22, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. Ann Tennis

    Finally, the Clintons have been completely exposed for what they
    are: Racists, if it serves their purpose!

    How pathetic...

    April 22, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. Gary - Denver, CO

    Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't see the striped shirt and whistle in Bill's mouth.

    April 22, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. Roger

    Amazing, Bill. Leave it to you to invert the facts in your never-ending quest for another term. What a dreary pattern.

    April 22, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. teddy of orlando

    Boy has bill gone nuts or what

    April 22, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
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