July 31st, 2008
02:33 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain campaign charges Obama playing race card

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/31/art.racecard.gi.jpg caption="The McCain campaign says Obama is 'playing the race card.'"]WASHINGTON (CNN) – John McCain’s campaign manager charged Thursday that Barack Obama falsely accused the McCain campaign of injecting race into the presidential contest.

"Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong," McCain campaign manger Rick Davis said in a prepared statement sent to reporters one day after Obama alluded to his own race during several stops in Missouri.

An Obama spokesman immediately denied the assertion, but noted that the presumptive Democratic nominee believes that the McCain campaign was “using the same old low-road politics to distract voters from the real issues.”

“This is a race about big challenges - a slumping economy, a broken foreign policy, and an energy crisis for everyone but the oil companies,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said. “Barack Obama in no way believes that the McCain campaign is using race as an issue, but he does believe they’re using the same old low-road politics to distract voters from the real issues in this campaign, and those are the issues he’ll continue to talk about.”

At three stops in the battleground state of Missouri, Obama told audiences that his opponent is trying to make voters “scared” of him because he doesn’t look like past presidents – an apparent reference to being black - and has a “funny name.”

“Nobody really thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face,” Obama said at an appearance Wednesday in Springfield, Missouri. “So what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. You know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills, you know. He's risky.”

This is not the first time Obama has delivered this line. He made similar comments dating back to the Democratic presidential primary. But a senior McCain advisor told CNN Thursday that Davis reacted strongly because Obama was directly responding to a new McCain campaign ad.

“It is a disgusting accusation and we are compelled to respond,” said advisor Steve Schmidt. “This campaign will not allow John McCain to be smeared in this way.”

Schmidt added: “We sat here during the Democratic Primary, waiting with dread for this day to arrive, that Obama would be criticized on national security or some other issue, and he would play the race card.”

The political ad, which the McCain campaign released Wednesday, features Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. The McCain campaign is ceding the point that Obama has reached celebrity status, but argues that does not qualify him to be the next president.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (1,030 Responses)
  1. Mike

    I am a independent. and something similar happened in the primaries.. I thought ok its bill so things like this come up.. Obama you just lost my vote.. you might still win but you just lost my vote! The only change you will bring is for yourself and your family. you are not out looking for the average american like I thought you were! I guess the choice is old guy vs inexperienced young guy and I was wrong in wanting to vote for you. Its better to have a old guy run the show than someone totally inexperienced and self centered. Atleast he wil tell me the way it is!

    July 31, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. That is how the least candidate wins

    I think everyone is tired of Obama and his constant race card playing dirty politics.

    July 31, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. Kimberly

    Oh please, McCain is funny. He makes it sick and makes me work everyday harder to get individuals to vote for the right person- Obama.

    July 31, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Mike

    Karl Rovian style!

    July 31, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. yankeegirl15

    Nurse, Johnny is ready for his sponge bath and meds. (Check Cindy for the Meds).

    July 31, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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