May 21st, 2008
08:06 PM ET
15 years ago

Bill Clinton says race card allegation 'revolting strategy'


[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Bill Clinton had some tough words for the media and the Obama campaign."](CNN) - Bill Clinton says that he thinks most people in the media are in Barack Obama’s demographic, telling People magazine “There have been times when I thought I was literally lost in a fun house."

In an interview hitting newsstands Friday, the former president said his wife Hillary Clinton has been “outspent, dismissed, denigrated, declared dead” this primary season.

Asked whether he likes Obama, Clinton responded that he did not know the Illinois senator very well – but “I think I understand him. There are enough similarities in our childhoods and things that I think I get what he is doing.”

Clinton said the allegation that he and Sen. Clinton played the race card was a “cold-blooded, calculated, manipulated, and a revolting strategy,” and that his only campaign season regret was speaking “late at night when I was tired, ‘cause if you are tired or angry, you shouldn’t be talking.”

Clinton told People that after her mother lost the Iowa caucuses, daughter Chelsea “was upset, bawled, went to her employer and said, ‘Look, you got to let me go or give me an indefinite leave of absence. I’m not letting my mother go down like this.’”

Does the former president think Chelsea Clinton would consider a run for elected office? “I don’t know. If you had asked me this before Iowa, I would have said ‘No way. She is too allergic to anything we do,” responded Clinton. “But she is really good at it.”

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (448 Responses)
  1. hillary4change

    The race card being played by obama and so obvious.

    The Clintons are known far & wide for their work on behalf of all minorities.

    Bill was referring to demographics and statistics. Not demoralizing obama or Jesse Jackson. Statistics are talked about ALL the time in politics. But it is immediate that he is racist! People act like he had a history of racism and that is why it was so believable!

    Yeah right, that is why Toni Morrison (Black Author) called him the first black President!!

    Hillary, speaking about a President has to be courageous, like Pres. Johnson. You have to have the courage to sign in the law, such as the civil rights amendment.

    Immediately, obama HIS SELF says "I am disappointed she didn't give MLK the credit he deserves". Enflaming the whole black community against her!

    She was speaking of Presidential COURAGE, NOT CREDIT!!

    I think part of the black community was looking for a reason to turn their backs on the Clintons for an imagined sin. That way they had a "reason" to vote obama who is less qualified, and not make it look racist!! There is NO other explanation for the sudden turn against a couple that has DEVOTED their entire lives to minorities, poor people, and causes directly related to the well being of Black Americans!

    Like the $250 million Bill Clinton spent in HARLEM, and then he has his offices there. In the heart of a community he reviles!! I think not.
    People need to quit with all this racist crap. It is getting really old.

    I bet I will be called racist now too, for speaking out against injustice, kind of like white America did on behalf of civil rights for African Americans! Grow up America!

    May 22, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  2. Ilona Proud Canadian


    I fully agree with you in just about everything, but one of the areas that I am extremely concerned about is this:

    Why do you think that Hillary would be the better choice? Hillary brings so much unsavoury baggage to this election, that I cannot in all fairness see why she would want to be in this Presidential race
    Oh..... Oh...... Sorry...... I just thought of one reason, and boy is it a dandy!

    If Hillary should win the Presidential Election, it would be a very simple matter, for her to Appoint Judges of her choice, so now they can throw out the current court case of Paul vs Clinton, or even if this does not work, she will simply "Pardon Herself"

    May 22, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  3. Wouk

    McCain is no patriot. He is a hypocrite who will give us 4 more years of failed Bush policies that have destroyed the economy, the environment, our civil rights and have produced a war based on a lie that has put us and our children billions of dollars in debt.

    What is wrong with both Hillary and Barack fans who continue this ridiculous fighting? Have you lost sight of the goal? Are you so naive as to allow McCain to waltz in because of your pettiness.

    For no other reason that to stop McCain from winning and then choosing the next Justices for the Supreme Court, all Democrats and people who do not want any more of Bush's failed policies need to stop the childish antics and come together to defeat the McCain/Bush.

    May 22, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  4. Patricia

    I agree completely with Carlos from Canada – its has been a 3 person against 1 campaign. The Clintons had 3 people campaigning daily and their name had already given them an advantage. Bill kept complaining about the money spent by Obama. You do have to advertise more for a new product. Common sense.

    There are WOMEN writing to the DNC to get them to endorse H. Clinton with Obama as vice. I hope there are as many Obama women writing to the DNC to express their desire to have Obama at the top of the ticket with maybe H. as his vice.

    In H. Clinton's initial primaries, she was still under the Limbaugh decree, so we don't really know how that 12% would now vote.

    B. Clinton apparently doesn't like the fact that Obama is compared to him when he was young. Being part of the senior citizen group makes the Clinton's out of touch. Their WHITE vote (other than the over 65) will vote for Obama. He has already proven that. Obama should have campaigned in WV and KY; it would have made a difference.

    People are ready for a change. I think the superdelegates are feeling that way also. Many of them have seen Old Washington and are ready for a new style.

    May 22, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  5. BHO

    If Clintons are there to help BLACKS( always they claim so), why does Hillary or Bill not prepared to help Obama?

    May 22, 2008 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  6. Wise White Guy

    Yeah it is Bill. So why did you do it. And your wife playing the gender card when that is an absolutely ridiculous claim is just as bad. You people should be ashamed of yourselves!

    May 22, 2008 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  7. Jacob S

    Whoa whoa whoa, slow down Bill. Maybe people wouldn't have denigrated your wife so much if they hadn't seen the campaign with the best chance of smashing the primary opposition apart in a long time run so poorly and so arrogantly that it lost to someone unknown outside of Illinois. She had money, she had superdelegates, she had name recognition, she had the poll numbers, she even had you- And she planned everything so poorly and picked campaign staff so poorly that she threw it all away.


    May 22, 2008 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  8. Barbara


    I am so sick of reading these comments that state they will NOT vote for Hillary or Obama if their nominee doesn't get it!!!! GROW UP you all sound like a bunch of babies that goes for both sides… It‘s immature; maybe you shouldn’t be voting at all. I am sick of hearing about the WHITE blue collar votes. I am one of them Guess who I voted for.... and some of the votes Hillary has received with the White blue collar folks are REPUBLICANS, with thanks from Rush Limbo.

    In the G.E. she will NOT get them…

    I hate the flip flopping that continues to go on and Hillary is walking a very fine line, she knows that if Obama doesn’t beat McCain she will get the blame for carrying on with this…

    Also this will make it very hard for her to run in 2012 she will be laughed at.

    When Hillary was up in super delegates it was the super delegates that mattered and not the popular Vote
    Why because Obama had the popular vote. But now that he is up in everything she wants Florida and Michigan to count because it’s now the popular vote that counts that is going to win this. (It’s flip flopping)

    Hillary and Obama agreed Florida and Michigan would not be allowed because they broke the rules, but when Hillary could see that she wasn’t going to win the nomination that’s when Florida and Michigan were important.

    Every card has been played in this Race on both sides… I can agree to disagree with a lot of you here. This isn’t about Me or You it is about BEATING the BUSH Republicans!!

    I saw a comment on another site that made a really good point–she claims Florida & Michigan are being disenfranchised. But in her use of the popular vote count, she's ignoring the caucus states, thereby disenfranchising them.

    I just don’t understand why any TRUE democrat would put another REPUBLICAN in office after these last 7 years, but I guess when all us Dems start feeling more of the PINCH that’s when we will vote our party but I truly hope it’s not to late and that we are not selfish like the Republicans say we are.

    I agree that Hillary is a better candidate "today if she would have been this candidate" throughout her campaign she would have WON!!

    May 22, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  9. silkcity

    "get with the program" so Obama has no pride. is not a patriot, and shows no loylaty to his country. Come on! you guys kill me. Just be honest and say won't vote for him cause he is black.

    McCain a Patriot: oh thats why is willing to have our troops in Iraq for mimniun of at least 8yrs and a max of 100; Pride: yeah that's what Bush has and you see where we are at as a country; loyalty: Oh you mean loyal to these big oil companies, yeah his loyal alright, to their pockets and I'm pretty sure his.

    May 22, 2008 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  10. Christian, Tampa FL

    Bill Clinton is the past. Barack Obama is the future. I saw Obama today in Tampa, and it's clear that he's ready to lead our party and our country. Bill needs to get out of the way, suck it up, and accept the people's choice. His wife lost because her campaign was inferior. It has nothing to do with race or gender, and his comments over the course of this thing certainly don't help Hillary.

    May 22, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  11. alexis

    Billary, you are really best when you are not talking, let alone giving interviews! Enough already. You were not "tired" when you compared Obama to Jesse Jackson. You showed your true colors then.

    May 22, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  12. Joe

    Go Hillary

    May 22, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  13. Lisa Salt Lake City, Utah

    Bill, we are all tire all your families conspiracy theories about all of the people who are out to undermine your family. Can't you or Hillary just once admit your flaws and try to learn from your mistakes?

    May 22, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  14. jan

    Hillary Keep fighting. I know that you will be a good president!

    May 22, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  15. NC

    Bill knows he played the race card,he
    and Hillary would go to the extremes to try to keep a black man out of the white house,thats really their problem,they more than likely feel like most whites who continue to push her on saying THEY WILL NEVER VOTE FOR A BLACK MAN,lets be for real and speak the truth,she know she cant win this

    May 22, 2008 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  16. SusanM.

    Bill, if playing the race card is revolting then why did you play itin SC? Oh and how about Hillary proclaiming herself the white blue collar candidate? Why weren't you revolted by that? So your wife was dismissed and you felt like you were in the fun house? Well how about the press coverage prior to Iowa portraying Hillary as the heir to the Democratic Party nomination. Were you in the fun house then?

    As far as Chelsea in politics, considering her behavior supporting her mother's lies about Bosnia obviously you and Hillary have taught her well.

    May 22, 2008 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  17. Lanre

    In addition to south carolina, Bill Clinton went on a Hispanic TV channel and said, HISPANICS WILL DETERMINE THIS ELECTION! Knowing well that hispanics leaned towards Hillary at the time
    It is unbelievable how the Clintons are able to twist things around and say you did it. What goes around comes around. The Clintons have brought shame upon themselves.

    May 22, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  18. Carl, Illinois

    A couple of things to ponder –

    – This was Hillary's race to lose, and she lost, and Obama beat her without dragging out the kitchen sink (please consider that when you consider bashing Obama). One pundit called her campaign staff guilty of campaign-malpractice and it is probably true. There is so much negative Clinton material to work with, Obama didn't use it. And it is clear no matter whether you think the Clintons have been playing the race card, it is also clear Obama has not been running on race, if anything it has hurt him, so don't accuse him of that.

    – Hillary is not un-flawed candidate. Many of those same "white blue collars" could easily flip to McCain especially in Ohio and Indiana and there is no way she is going to energize the party like Obama has. She wouldn't win Kentucky or West Virginian either. There are just too many state she will have no chance in. Having her on the ticket would put states like Iowa, Wisconsin, and even California in play. Bill Clinton's best election he only got 40% of the white blue collars, I don't think Hillary would reach that against a war hero maverick.

    – The Clintons are good, but they have never been good for the Democratic party – there are many examples of them putting themselves first, Hillary's current sexism accusations the most recent

    – If you truly think McCain is a better choice, then vote for him. But I really find this a hard conclusion to come for reasons of policy, temperment, values, and judgment. As someone who two months ago was saying to my wife, "I will never vote for Hillary Clinton" – after watching McCain with a little more scrutiny, I would have held my nose and gladly voted for Hillary because McCain really is an extension of 8 failed years of Bush and brings his own undesirable baggage. This guy is really unsuited to be president. He has been a great public servant, thanks for the hard work, but he is a poor choice for president. Clinton and Obama are both more suited, regardless of party affiliation.

    – Do me one favor – read the posts on this site and imagine just for a minute that there are some devious Limbaugh-types out there trying to stir up discontent in the Democratic party to try and favor McCain. They are actually pretty easy to spot.

    Obama won this contest. No doubt that Hillary is now doing much better – the campaign staff shakeup was successful – but it is too late and she needs to get with the program - just as McCain did 8 years ago and he is now getting is own chance by being a good party member.

    May 22, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  19. Ratgurl

    Aldon Black – you're not a black man, you're a sales man. And a bad one, at that!

    May 22, 2008 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  20. calling all believers to pray!

    Boy this is a mouth full this interview covered a lot in a little time didn't it?

    Well I do think in some ways he and Obama can relate to each other's upbringing, single parent and all, but I believe Clinton somehow lost sight of what is most important along the way, especially in his quest to get his wife elected, they forgot about the most important element, the people yet made this whole thing about themselves to the point that they became desperate and calculating beyond all trustworthiness that I think was due to more than lack of sleep, but let's say this is the reason both misspoke possibly decrementing comments to Hillary's bid to winning what does this truly say to their abilities to govern the most stressful job in the country? It may be that both their ages has hindered them from being reasonably qualified because let's face it none of these damaging answers were given by them at the 3 a.m. that Hillary's ad suggest a most important decision may be required. If they were standing on their feet and wide awake during the daylight hours what on earth will either of them think to do if awoken in the middle of a deep sleep with a really stressful question about American's security is posed? Whew! Makes me shurder to think!!

    Bush's big mouth along with McCain's and Hillary's has too many people thinking about revenge to have either of them in that white house and Lord knows they don't need to be anywhere near that button while stubbering around confused in the middle of a serious wake up call!!

    All of you that may want to still believe in them and McCain, this is not the first time they have warned us that they are too old for this job, better take heed!!!

    May 22, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  21. marlon

    they played nasty and it back-fired....end of story. it is very certain that clinton supporters are not loyal democrats. if obama lost i would vote for hillary because that's what loyal dems do. hillary's supporters need to stop the anger BS and help unify the party. what's this BS about voting for McCain if hillary is not the nominee? you mean to tell me that you are soooooo dumb, that you will rather have four more years of the Bush Admin policies than to vote for a man who wants change. come on people get real. you are losing focus and gaining ignorance. those who hear don't listen and those who listen don't understand. obama is who we need at the moment. well even hillary said that she has the uneducated voters and it shows in their hatred for obama. it's sad to see that uneducated people have a say so in what direction the country goes. also hillary need to stop the madness and stop her ego trip and start to help obama defeat mccain in november. if her voter do go and vote for mccain in november, and that is more suffering like the last eight years, then you deserve every minute of it.

    May 22, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  22. Explanation for sally from Prof Truth

    Hello Sally. Let us pretend you are right, and 90% of black people are racist. This means that the only reason they are voting for Obama is because he is Black.

    This means that, if you look at the MI vote results, none of these Black racists came out to vote for Obama, SINCE HIS NAME WAS NOT ON THE BALLOT. All your "racist" Black People must have stayed HOME. AGREED? Good.

    Now, go to the top of this page, click the link that says "Election Center 2008". Above the faces of the candidates is a box that says "State". From that box, select "Michigan".

    Notice that Clinton won 55% of Michigan votes, or 328,151 White & Hispanic voters. ALSO, notice that 40% voted "Uncommited", 4% Kucinich. That is 237,762 + 21,708 turned out just to vote AGAINST Clinton. These are also white & Hispanic people!! 44%!!


    Now Sally, why did so many of these white and Hispanic people, almost 50% in the state of Michigan, WHY couldn't they vote for Obama in West Virginia and Kentucky? Why did the percentages fall?

    I hope you can answer me Sally, my name is "Professor Truth".

    My answer to the question is this: maybe Black People can pick a superior candidate over a rubbish candidate, and maybe because he is half-white doesn't bother them. Maybe they see a candidate who is better at running their campaign, doesn't go into debt, doesn't play race and gender card, doesn't sling mud, doesn't have lobby and Saudi Arabian money.

    Then maybe the other guys, just can't vote for a guy who is 50% Black.

    So you tell me who are the racists?

    May 22, 2008 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  23. Lisa, Ohio

    I agree Aldon. As much as I want to see a black president, Hillary would be the strongest at the top of the ticket. She can win crucial states that are question marks for Obama (Florida, Ohio, etc..) They both need each other, and she cant win without him either. If Obama loses at the top of the ticket, he is through in politics. He will be like Kerry and Gore. If he loses at the bottom of the ticket then he can blame Hillary for the loss. And he could continue to run and gain power in the democratic party.

    BTW...I am a blackwoman from Cleveland, OH.

    May 22, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
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