July 31st, 2008
04:19 PM ET
13 years ago

McCain says 'race card' charges are fair

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/31/art.mccainint.cnn.jpg caption="McCain talked with CNN's John King Thursday."](CNN) - John McCain told CNN Thursday it is fair for his campaign manager to claim Barack Obama is playing 'the race card.'

Watch McCain: Obama's playing the race card

"I'm sorry to say that it is. It's legitimate," McCain told CNN's John King. "And there's no place in this campaign for that. There's no place for it and we shouldn't be doing it."

Earlier Thursday, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis lashed out at the Democratic presidential candidate over his comments that Republicans are making an issue of his race.

"Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong," Davis said in a statement sent to reporters.

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.”

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.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (526 Responses)
  1. Peggy - TX

    McCain is taking is plays Bill Clinton's play book. It did not work for Hillary and it will not work for McCain.

    July 31, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. felix the cat

    Obama 08!!!! that is the real deal America, let Mcsame go to bed

    July 31, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  3. charlie

    Oh My God. I hate it when people say this. "The race card" - 1) it's dealt, not played (think about it); 2) Isn't McCain the one bringing up race? When did Obama say the McCain camp was being racist?

    Answer: He didn't. He said they were trying to scare people because he is different than what we've had before, which is true. They did the same thing with JFK, RFK, tried it on Hillary. Looks like McCain is the one playing the race card to me. This accusation is scurrilous and pitiful. To borrow a phrase from Madame Clinton "Shame on you", McCain!

    July 31, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  4. jacq

    At a point it looked like McCain was going to pitch a hissy with John King. The press should keep getting in his face then the people will see the real mccain out of control. I was insulted that mccain compared Obama with those B*****s, That certainly was low ball. McCain's attacks are certainly about race and he knows it. Wake up America. What's this I hear about McCains wife selling her beer in Cuba?

    July 31, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. Willow, from Iowa

    For someone who has been saying all along that he wants to run a fair campaign based on the issues, McCain is running the most negative campaign I have ever seen. He harps over and over about things, as if we all are so stupid we can't figure anything out ourselves. He must protect us from our own judgment.

    This is really getting old. keep to the issues, McCain!

    July 31, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  6. Dennis

    McCain conveniently forgets that if Obama is playing the race card, it is because his campaign dealt it to him. When McCain was nominated by the Republicans, I was pleased, and I thought we'd get an honest debate. However, that has proven not to be the case with the McCain campaign sinking to a new low each week.

    July 31, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  7. Ron

    Yup McSurge. the race card charge is fair and come on now...adnit it. You think the voters suffering from this Republican ruined economy. Are a bunch of Whiners. Oh by the way. I saw a close up of your custom Italian, farragamo shoes. Very nice.

    July 31, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  8. mike s.

    Darn right it's fair, and it's about time someone called the Obama camp on this incessant playing of the race card.

    I stood by and watched them do it throughout the Democratic Primary, and I'm sick and tired of watching them do it now.

    McCain '08

    July 31, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  9. ex-Republican for Obama

    It's ridiculous to say Obama played the race card. McCain doesn't have a plan for turning this country around so he's trying to win by attacking Obama. He is running a dishonorable campaign and is not an honorable man. He is unworthy of the presidency.

    July 31, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  10. Rick FL

    Are you serious? McCain puts two, Caucasian women (no males) in a demeaning ad against Obama, and John is somehow not playing the race card, much less a sexist card. Does McCain think no one would notice this apparent hypocrisy?

    Fair, McCain? Please try to explain that to Paris Hilton's parents, who donated to your campaign.

    July 31, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  11. rob

    Catty is right on the money, the Clintons were not so quietly bringing up race in the primary.

    This will be the ultimate card the Obama campaign,and the media, will play over and over when the polls go against Sen Obama.

    July 31, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. Cynthia

    Senator John McCain is a fine one to talk – HA. He has been attacking Senator Obama even before anyone knew that he would be the Democratic nominee. Those attacks have intensified of late and it looks like real desperation on Senator McCain's part. As far as race goes it could be said that he played the race card with his commerical using Hilton & Spears. Senator McCain has to recognize the reality of it – Senator Obama is running an impeccable campagin in comparison to his.

    July 31, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  13. stacy

    Obama and fans have from the beginning made the white people
    of this country out to be unfairly judgemental of the black race, when
    in fact that is not true, he has played the race card from the very onset
    of this campaign.

    July 31, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  14. Neal

    McCain is getting desperate.
    He has made no real ground for weeks. While Obama gradually moves into the mainstream, solidifying and enhancing his led.

    July 31, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  15. Dudervision

    To all the PUMA's out there. I won't even begin to discuss the very fact that McCain pretty much stands against EVERYTHING that Hillary stood for and that your vote for him is as much a vote AGAINST HER as it is against Obama and the DNC.

    But, this delusion that a vote against Obama this fall will make HIllary a sure thing in 2012 doesn't take into account that there are a lot more dedicated Democrats who will hold Hillary libel for his losing the election. Obama loses, and Hillary's political career, at least as a Democrat, will be put to an end by those looking for somebody to blame.

    OK...OK...I know you may say they would do this just to be bitter...but whose bitter now???? PLEASE...there is too much at stake this fall. If you are a TRUE Democrat...no...ANYBODY who wants the nightmare of the last 8 years to end...you MUST vote for Obama. Even if you don't vote for McCain, a vote for Nader, Barr, a write in for Hillary, or no vote will do the same damage.

    Ask yourself...do you really care about America and it's future???

    July 31, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. Jennifer - American in Canada

    Is there anything that the McCain camp have said or done in the last week (to discredit Obama) divisive, negative, shameful and wrong? McCain seem to be acting as if he is the adult chastising a child.............then he ran those childish Ads.

    Give me a break.

    July 31, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  17. Texan in Colorado

    A shout out to – "A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square". It's Barkley Square.

    July 31, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. KARO

    nobodys playing the race card look in the mirror when you make the charge of someone playing the race card. this is what you race dividers wanted all the long. its the republicans ACE IN THE HOLE.

    July 31, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  19. Daley Dunham

    A rather ingenious Rove move, actually. It gets people to focus on the superficial, meaningless ways in which Obama is different from many of us instead of the substantive, meaningful way in which he is unified with all of us (interest in fixing the economy, solving the energy crisis, etc.).

    Basically, it's a way of obliquely 'playing the race card' by directly accusing your opponent of 'playing the race card'. Brilliant – but GOP hypocrisy FIRMLY on the low road, to be sure.

    July 31, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  20. bulldog

    This is simply an underhanded way of bring race into the campaign by McCain himself. He knows there are still tons of racists in this country so by throwing the "race card" allegation out there he is targeting these exact people. It doesn't matter if it's true or not, the mere fact that it might be will give these racist Americans fuel for their hatred.

    July 31, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. Lorna, NY

    There is nothing more pathetic than scared Republicans. If you can't dig up dirt on your opponent, then make stuff up. Hillary threw the kitchen sink, John McCain is throwing the septic tank! I am still in shock that the only person they can find is John McCain. I can't wait to vote in November and send this man to a retirement home.

    July 31, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  22. S. Boatman

    I Am Casting My Vote Based On Looks! Mccain Has Too Many Neck Wrinkles To Get My Vote! I Have Just Played My Age Card!

    July 31, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  23. Mark

    Mr. McCain needs to do anything he wants to do because Obama has Brain washed everyone into thinking he is a Black God! Obama made this fake fame up and lied his way to the top trashing the Clinton's anyone in his way. The Media is one side when it comes to Obama great fame. It really makes me sick to turn on the Tv and watch CNN news. Thank God someone with nuts can stand up to Obama lies!!

    July 31, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. Texas Trail Dog!


    July 31, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  25. Debbie

    Obama can't say it – but McCain is doing extactly what the HC campaign did when she was loosing – GO NEGATIVE – hopefully it won't work, and people are more aware, more educated enough to see through this – it's too important to fall for the old style politics, too much is at stake for 4 more years of the USA being run by corporatations, special interest groups – the money that has been made by large corporations, investment banks, oil is a disgrace – when the rest of us are struggling these people are rolling in cash!
    How any normal person with a brain can consider voting for McCain is beyond me – look at the last 8 years how could Obama possilby do any worse!!!??? Also it does matter what the rest of world thinks of the US – it's blind ignorance and the hight of arrogance not to this so!

    July 31, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
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