April 22nd, 2008
10:27 AM ET
14 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. A. Harrison


    Fair is fair. I wish the "Change" campaign would own up to what they do, you can't be slick forever.

    April 22, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  2. John



    April 22, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  3. Sandra

    You've got to be kidding me. President Clinton has done a disservice to his wife's campaign. I definitely have less respect for him now than before. Sometimes I wonder if he even really wants her to win.

    April 22, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  4. Jackson

    Again the day before a primary the Clintons pull out dirty tactics. This time playing on the negativity that surrounds a supposed race card. Trying to drum up anti-black sentiment much, Billy boy?

    April 22, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  5. Natasha

    Race card? Bill, was the race card being played when you were dubbed "the first black president"? Desperate times...

    April 22, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  6. Whiskey

    Bill you were once an honorable and good president. But now you are letting Hillary bring you to her low level. What a disgrace she is to Democrats.

    April 22, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  7. Louise from ohio

    The Clintons are desperate and loosing it. Regret that I voted for Hillary.

    Penn state dont make that mistake.

    April 22, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  8. Sick Of The Whining

    So now Bill's going to cry just like his wife....great! Now, all we need are the tissues and a hallmark commercial.

    GET TO THE ISSUES...I'm so SICK of this back and forth blaming! STOP WHINING!

    April 22, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  9. Twinkie

    QUIT WHINING BILL!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 22, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  10. sozzi

    Bill, please go away now, before you open a new can worms.

    April 22, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  11. Paula in WI

    The Clintons need to spend as much time paying their debts as they do crying."If you can't take the heat Billl,get out of the kitchen".

    April 22, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  12. Jay

    Yes he did!

    Go back to South Carolina when his camp RAN with the spin on him calling his record on the war a Fairy Tale and then Other people in SC saying it was about Race. Obama said nothing about it and his camp sent out emails (that were brought to a debate) pushing that the comment was about his race!

    April 22, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  13. Shelli

    The Clinton's never cease to amaze me....Bill...what is wrong with you?? They will do or say anything for Billary to win....PA DONT BE FOOLED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 22, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  14. Yo Momma

    Billy Clint is acting like a complete moron...if his wife desont lose because she is a liar, then you can blame it on her husband. He needs to keep his mouth shut. He really just wants to get back into that House for another 8 years and call up Monica. What a jerk...

    April 22, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  15. Paul

    Are you kidding me Bill? You, Hillary, and many of your supporters have specifically and overtly made it clear that Obama's race is a major factor in this election. Why would you directly compare Obama to Jesse Jackson? They are nothing alike except for the color of their skin. Why is Ferraro and your BET buddy saying Obama would already be knocked out if he wasn't black. You and your counterparts have constantly used Obama's race against him and forced him to respond. Just because he responded to your comments doesn't mean he is the one who instigated the race issue. YOU DID!!

    April 22, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  16. PAVoter 2008

    You tell them Bill! I've said that from the moment I heard his camp attempt to portray you as a racist. How disgusting!

    God Bless you and Hillary! I am forever in both of your debt regardless of the outcome of this election. You gave my family the best 8 years of our lives. Thank You from the bottom of my heart!

    April 22, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  17. L. Michael

    Bill and Hillary Clinton will say and do anything to get back into the White House. They are a great team – he dodges the draft in order to "serve" the Country in a "better" way. She works for Sam Walton, works to free Black Panthers and other convicted felons, or for anyone paying the big bucks.

    Obama is equally an opportunist, running too soon with too little experience.

    Every single candidate now running for President is an "elitist", only John McCain has actually "walked the walk" and so can "talk the talk."

    Obama and the Clintons are just "wantabees" (she wants to be president, he wants to be a real man like John McCain!).

    April 22, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  18. kay

    hasn't he learned to keep his mouth shut yet? i'll be voting for obama regardless of what the former president says, but he isn't helping her at all!

    April 22, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  19. Jim

    I hope to God in heaven that the people of Pennsylvania don't buy into this typical Clinton textbook pathetic pre-primary nonsense. Days before the primary, they both bring up FEAR, RACE, and CHANGING THE RULES. It's outlandish, but also sad and pathetic. Do you really want someone like this leading our nation? They are both out of touch. Please vote for Obama today. Let's get the Clinton Machine out of the picture so that we can focus on beating a guy who literally wants to be at war for 100 years (he will pretend that's not what he meant, but he said it over and over and over). VOTE OBAMA!

    April 22, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  20. HH

    I hope after this is over this will be the last time we see or hear from the Clintons.

    They have run one of the most negative campaigns, especially against there DEMOCRATIC apponent. I cant believe people are buying there nonsense.

    No wonder why this country is turing into a 3rd world country. I think the Clinton supporters need to wake up and stop drinking the kool-aid.

    For real change vote Obama or McCain.

    April 22, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  21. Gail

    It's funny how each time the CLintons do something negative, they immediately accuse Obama of doing it. Yea, this is a great way to get along with people, not to mention the world.

    Obama 0'8

    April 22, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  22. Doug R.

    Take a seat and chill out Bill. You're not running for President.

    April 22, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  23. cnn rocks

    cnn,where is the article that hillary wants to obliterate iran?i cant believe you guys have not reported it.

    April 22, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  24. Jeff

    Worse than people who are blatantly, flagrantly racist – are those like Clinton who USE minority people for their own gain, and get away with it. Quit crying, and grow up!

    April 22, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  25. Judd in Austin

    Wow, Bill really does NOT want to be first lady. The arrogance of this family baffles me.

    April 22, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
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