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. An American

    McCain is so transparent, he is just opening the door so he can play the race card. Not falling for it, not this time. Say no to McCain, this is your brain, this is your brain on McCain... sizzzle...

    Obama '08

    July 31, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  2. Frank Canada

    I can't understand why John McCain would allow his campaign to be so inept and useless. Someone on his staff must have convinced him to just go negative as your positives just won't cut it.

    I don't know if McCain is as useless as his campaign has projected him but any middle of the road Republican must already be in a political transition. After all it's their country and future as well.

    July 31, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  3. Marc PDX

    How can Obama be part of the ruling elite while still acting like a victim? He's a rock star who attracts 200,000 in Berlin and needs a football stadium to accept the DNC nomination. Then he turns around and acts like a victim the next day. If his campaign is going to play the race card then they are the racists! Hillary was rolled over by the race card but it's time for it to come to an end. It is UNTRUE that everyone who is going to vote against Barack Obama is a racist. Stop it!

    July 31, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. Peter (CA)

    I thought McCain was above this but I should not be surprised.

    I keep hearing about Obama playing the "race card". How? By being born dark skinned? As to his statement that the other side will point out he does not look like past presidents-it's true, they have. Hillary did it towards the end of the primaries and the Republicans have pulled it out too.

    I hope that the voters see through this tripe.

    July 31, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  5. Eugene

    Sen. Obama won the primary by avoiding the lows taken against him. He will continue to follow that winning strategy while pointing out exactly where Sen. McCain is killing his chances by insulting the voters' intelligence.

    July 31, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  6. lil

    'Cards' is a game and now McCain is playing his own game of race-baiting. The name of the game that he is playing is called the Race Card.

    July 31, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  7. Kenny

    I am an Obama supporter and as much as it pains me to say this, Obama did in fact play the race card in the speech he gave. He would have been just fine with the speech had he not mentioned that "he does not look like the other presidents on the dollar bills". I have herd all of what he commented on either from the McCain campaign or it’s surrogates except the reference to him looking like other presidents on the dollar bill. Now the few negative ads I have seen from the Obama campaign have been very subtle but this one was out right wrong. I hope he will acknowledge the fact that he made a mistake and apologizes for it and then reverts back to the high road. Leave McCain in the gutter and let him sling all the mud he wants. Senator Obama is a better candidate than all of that.

    July 31, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  8. K

    Britney Spears has no contrast to Obama? In your effort to make McCain look stupid, you instead did it to yourself AND supported McCain point! When you say "no constrast" that means they're the same!
    Also can you enlighten all of us not-so-enlightened Obama voters with what it means when you say the McCain campaign is getting "fully elementary?"
    As for your guy getting us out of Iraq...only one thing to say....Afghanistan...
    Obama's reality will bite his blind followers!

    July 31, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. John in Arizona

    mccain has done nothing for arizona – his "hero' statis is a sham! check it out other viet nam vets know the truth about him. he is old politics and will stab you in the back whether is ptsd is in flair up or not – the republicans have no leadership – they're game is up! the world is changing and so too must we as a nation. the day of the norman rockwell painting is over. this country is not all white christian and meat eaters. a vote for maccain is a vote for the death of our nation. the republican party will be known is history as the polit6ical party that destroyed the united states of america for money... and mccain is there new sub-zero iq puppet. i'm fed up with the whole thing!

    July 31, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. Dr. J

    McCain is ignorant. He attacks Obama by using race. However, when Obama defends himself, he wants to say he is using the race card. McCain your a desperate. I don't want you as a leader. Learn how to use the internet.

    July 31, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  11. PCS / North Carolina

    Willy wrote July 31st, 2008 4:30 pm ET

    "BHO, and with the help of the meda, has been playing the victim card for this election you know , I'm black oh poor me I need to be a president."


    To all the racists who posts Barack "H" Obama to imply that Barack is a terrorist, TIMOTHY IS A LOCAL TERRORIST. Does it mean all "TIMOTHY'S" ARE TERRORISTS ? Go figure.

    The conservative neocons and the closet racists were shocked to see the unprecedented reception Obama received in foreign lands. They are bitter because a half white man can energize the whole planet.

    VOTE FOR YOUR McPUPPET If you support the following:

    McCain voted for the Iraq war = quagmire

    McCain voted for troop surge = he did not have to ! if he did not authorize the iraq war in the first place

    McCain voted against the GI bill = is he really a vet ?

    McCain voted against VA hospital funding in 2003-06 = Then ,why is he sending our troops to war ?

    McCain voted against MLK holiday = Yeah right, he is for civil rights movement !!

    McCain is against Roe vs Wade = he will change the supreme Court balance to overturn the roe vs Wade = listen PUMA / W V W V

    McCain Remember the Keating Five

    July 31, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. Jack

    Yes, McSame finally starts to show his true colors. Here is the pitiful excuse for a man that cheated on and divorced his injured wife. Here is the hot-head blow hard that is more full of his "maverick" image than his lock-step conservative voting record shows. Here is the disgraced Keating bag boy that pretends to be humbled and above such low-level politicking these days.

    Keep rolling out the negativity, John, so the American voters can see the truth: a shallow politician like the current president that they really don't want to vote for again.

    July 31, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. ObamaTears

    Same thing I heard from the Clintons. I guess its just everyone being mean to the poor little Obama. I wish people would just stop picking on him and just take what he says as the truth. He wants to make a cake out of rainbows and butterflies to feed the world so that one day, all nations can hold hands and sing camp songs.

    July 31, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  14. Matt: honestly

    for all of you uninformed people outthere, did you all miss the online political ads as well as people purposfully emphasizing his middle name??? He has definetly had those things brought against him! Remember the picture of him in traditional African garb and what a huge deal people made of it? Tell me race has not been made an issue by the repubs!

    July 31, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  15. Big D

    I heard the full recording from the Racine speech – and I was appalled at the lies McCain said throughout the speech. He said several blatant lies that have already been debunked in the press – but he said them anyway. So either he doesn't care that they're lies, or he's oblivious that they're lies. He said that Obama voted to raise taxes on people earning as low as $32,000, and he said that Obama wanted to remove troops from Iraq within 16 months regardless of any conditions on the ground. These have been debunked in public already, but McCain has no problem saying these lies again. I am apalled at how low McCain has sunk in his desperate attempt to malign his opponent.

    July 31, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  16. CJ/PA

    McCain's new campaign mgr., Rick Davis, is one nasty dude! Wow. And he's got McCain thinking it's the right thing to do. Apparently, what mind is left is not his own!!!!

    July 31, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  17. Olivia

    Print my post,CNN.

    I repeat.....I saw the interview with John King, and MCCain rightfully walked off when he got into his face. I also said that I thought Suzanne Malveaux sounded a might too emotional while reporting on Obama today on CNN. Some say she has become close to the obamas. Is that so?

    July 31, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  18. Sad in GA

    I actually had liked McCain once upon a time. Admittedly I was looking to vote for Obama when I first heard that he would be in this election. I was wishing that he would have run against "W" in '04. It doesn't change the fact that I had honestly liked McCain a whole lot and felt that his politics were progressive and smart. Now I see a man who I do not recognize at all. What happened? Why so much back tracking? Why does this man who once opposed Bush sound so much like him now.

    There was a time when I thought that this election was win win and now I'm no longer a believer in this. If McCain wins this one, it will be utter garbage for us all. You guys need to pay attention to the actual facts and stop listening to the yellow journalism and other garbage.

    July 31, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  19. Roy


    Of course Barack Obama plays the race card, every single fricken day of the week!!!

    The man is black, winning all the black vote, and he seems to embrace that. But question the whys and he freaks out at ya saying youre a racist.


    Barack is the new Black Panthers.

    July 31, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. Perusing-through


    I really rather not go there. Too many people have played that card frivolously. But somebody has to say it, because it is most appropriate and true and the right time.

    The false "arrogance" accusation against Obama is old Jim Crow for "uppity negro". McSame"s supporters over 50-years old know this, as do older Hillary"s supporters. As a reminder it was the Clinton campaign that first leveled the bogus charge, when we all know Obama has been the most humble and gracious Christian nominee in generations.

    Obama has been hounded to go dirty, to return lies for lies. But he remained above board, first with Hillary and now with McCain. And with utter humility Obama showed Hillary respect and acknowledged her leadership as a model for his two girls. This while Hillary was throwing everything at him including the "kitchen sink". If Obama was arrogant, he would have told Hillary where to jump off when the "Delegate Math" was in his favor back in March. If Obama was arrogant, why would he turn down a high paying Chicago law job for something as unpromising as community organizer?

    People, this "arrogance" thing is a horrible lie with its roots back in the Jim Crow days when a Black man that could read and write and think was considered an "uppity negro".

    Fortunately, a lot of people over 50 are turning from the Jim Crow ways and are starting fresh. While our young are refusing to buy into the racist ways of old.

    July 31, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  21. laurence

    mccain has played the race card. he's been perfecting his game since he voted against the mlk holiday. point is that he never stopped playing it. nor have many of the repugnicans. a bunch of elitist, supremist styled mccaininites. i see the black repunican talking head that is supposed to be a preacher trying to make sense of what he does for them. the fact is that the repugnicans don't care anything at all about him or that lovely black lady that is aways on cnn.

    July 31, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  22. Shannon

    My god, I am so sick of Obama and his campaign whining about race. Every time there is anything negative he goes right to the racist thing. Obama is the one who plays the race card, he did it against Hillary Clinton and now he is doing it against McCain. Is this what we can expect four years of listening to him whine about how he is picked on because he's black. Seriously, he is running for President, how much prejudice can he face, he is running for the most important job in the world. It's time for the Obama campaign to grow up, and accept that not everyone wants to vote for him. As a Democrat, I would vote for anyone over Obama.

    July 31, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  23. Wow

    Just more smoke from the McCain camp.

    July 31, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. WoMaN4McCain

    Midgea notfallinginline.org....you are almost as pathetic as your candidate Hillary. Losers need to go to the back of the line and hush.

    July 31, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  25. RKing

    McCain is acting like he doesn't have anything to say that's worth hearing, so covers that fact with a lot of negative comments about Obama. McCain is really lowering himself or possibly revealing the real John McCain that shouldn't even be considered for the office of President of the United States. He doesn't sound up to it considering his lack of maturity or ability. He just doesn't come across as even intelligent.

    July 31, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
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