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. Tampa Voter

    This is REALLY starting to iritate me. I never thought I'd erase the Clinton's from my list of American heroes but WOW. These people are trying to appeal to the WORST part of white people, and doing it on purpose. I HOPE this way of politics changes very soon.

    Florida For Obama

    April 22, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  2. Norisha

    I'm so sorry....why out of all that have won in South Carolina, would he say Jesse Jackson.? The common denominator in that statement was that ,Jackson and Obama are black! It really is frustrating for anyone to try to spin that any other way. I'm not saying Bill Clinton is a racist but C"MON.....Admit what you said was wrong already.....maybe if he did, then he wouldn't be labled as some are labeling him.

    OBAMA 2008!!!!!!!

    April 22, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    Bill! Stop already!! We are tired of hearing from you!!!

    April 22, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  4. Dave

    Atcually it was Obama's wife, when she accused Bill Clinton of calling her husband a "fairy tale" of course he did not. He called Obama's war recaord a fairy tale.

    But yes it was Obama's camp that first played the race card...

    April 22, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. Mary

    I have stopped believing anything that Bill & Hillary have to say after they both have consistently LIED TO AMERICA. I wished we can put a lie detector on Bill & Hillary. That would be the ONLY way I would know if they are saying the truth and whether they really mean what they say.

    Bill, it wasn’t just you who said it. Also, Hillary (MLK), G Ferraro, Ed Rendell and a few of your surrogates have brought up both race and gender OFTEN.

    So stop the whining. Bill, IF YOU CAN’T STAND THE HEAT GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN!

    All America can’t stand are the lies of Bill & Hillary!

    April 22, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  6. Matt

    The Clintons have truly lost all integrity. It is sad really. People used to have such a positive opinion of them, especially thanks to Bush. Now they just look BITTER. They really need to do the math, realize they can not and will not win, and are doing Democrats a dis-service by staying in the race. I think Hillary wants McCain to win so she can run again in four years. She is motivated by love of self, not love of country!!!

    April 22, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  7. mike

    Of course he played the race card. He has consistenly done that since being accused of not being black enough early in the campaign. But we are not allowed to challenge him on that or be accused of racism.

    April 22, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  8. Barbara in NC

    You can tell he's been practicing his lies – he's SO MUCH BETTER at it. Maybe teaching his wife to lie helped him perfect it. Hmmmm – ask Monica.

    April 22, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. Joe - Carmel, IN

    Don't let it get you down Barack! Silly Season is here once again. If you can beat 2 Clinton's you can beat 1 McCain! End it today PA!

    Go Barack!

    April 22, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  10. Mr. Los Angeles

    Vote democrat for 2008!!!

    April 22, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  11. Geoff, NH

    I think Bill might officially be as insane as Hillary... wow

    April 22, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  12. Nancy

    Gee Bill, give it a break. You are a loser and can't keep your mouth shut. The Clinton camp appears to be the one "bringing up the race card".

    April 22, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  13. NSM

    Wow, the Clinton's complaining about something?


    April 22, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  14. John, Miss

    Bill Clinton is turning himself into a joke of a former President. This is pretty sad.

    April 22, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  15. gerald strother


    April 22, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  16. Alan Boyer

    The Billary lying machine has reached new depths. When will the Clinton Farewell Tour begin? Hopefully when the polls close today in PA.

    April 22, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  17. Blaze, Atlanta GA

    Bill, I don't think you are racist, just race baiting. Big difference there. You did try to use what you thought was other people's racism and it backfired. Please just keep quiet from now on and let your wife run HER campaign.

    April 22, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  18. DM, Detroit, Mi.

    It's not the only time Obama played the race card...his stump in Mississippi included his "subtle" speak in playing the race card as well.

    April 22, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  19. derek

    The ol' "last minute sucker punch" that the Clintons employ every primary eve. What a weak game.
    We'll get one more attack on May 5, then the discredited ex-president can jump on the bandwagon and pretend like he was with us all along.

    We're almost there!
    Obama 08

    April 22, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  20. McCain Clinton 08

    Bill, you're not black enough to use the N-word, quit acting like you are!

    April 22, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  21. ESH

    Just stop talking... I don't like your wife, but you're just hurting the party as an institution and everyone else in it.

    April 22, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  22. Patty Don't

    Give it up and pack it in Bill. No more interns on the menu for you.

    April 22, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  23. semp

    Bill Clinton shud just shut up. He should join Jimmy Carter and lust in their hearts over times gone by!

    April 22, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  24. Eric-PA

    He's right. I saw this a long time ago and Obama got away with it. He can't be trusted and will only divide this country.

    April 22, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  25. a

    oh god i hate the clintons and their lies

    April 22, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
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