September 16th, 2009
03:15 PM ET
12 years ago

White House: Obama doesn't think race a factor

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The White House said Wednesday President Barack Obama doesn't believe that he's being attacked by critics because of his race."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House said Wednesday President Barack Obama doesn't believe that he's being attacked by critics because of his race.

"The president does not believe that that criticism comes based on the color of his skin," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters.

"We understand that people have disagreements with some of the decisions that we've made and some of the extraordinary actions that had to be undertaken by both this administration and previous administrations to stabilize our financial system, to ensure viability of our domestic auto industry. I don't think that – the president does not believe that it's based on the color of his skin."

The issue was raised Tuesday by former President Jimmy Carter, who said racial politics played a role in some of the opposition Obama has faced since taking office. Carter also said that race was a factor in South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst last week during the president's address to a joint session of Congress.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. Right-Wing Republicans are WRONG-THINKING Americans

    The President knows, as well as any person with an ounce of intelligence, that some (NOT ALL, but some) of the extreme dissent is racism based. But the President, unlike those USING racists to do their dirty work in order to make political hay, wants to pull the country together rather than divide it more. So, of course he's going to say this. It's up to the rest of us to have his back and call out racists everywhere and everytime they dare to crawl out from the rocks they hide under. Racism is the seamy underbelly of this great country. We need to stamp it out!

    September 16, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. so

    I think that he was voted into office due to race... Anyone that says otherwise is lying! However, he is the president and I think that most Americans are turned off due to the lies that he has given us. I think that the way he is reacting to the health form issue is wrong. When people say that they want their country back they just don't want the change. It is a new president and he is way different than the last.

    September 16, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. Shirley In California

    Well, I say this as a supporter – this time he is lying. 95% of this is about race and anyone who says it's not is either a liar or delusional.

    September 16, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. What have we come to?

    Claims such as that made by Carter are a sign of desperation on the left. The left is losing the fight over health care, Obama is at risk of slipping into obscurity (that's why he is parading himself in front of us som much – talk about overexposure!) and so they have to play the race card and play on eople's fear and anger. Maybe Carter will use the same lame excuse for his own failed presidency? No, he was just a disaster.

    September 16, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Steph

    President Obama is a role model for all. In the midst of all the inappropriate, rude, and childish behavior, he has continued to work for improvements that will benefit all Americans (even the crazy, racist, idiots with the horrible signs and saying such obviously racist statements about the First Lady and the President – like Tea Party organizer calling The President of The United States an "Indonesian Terrorist Welfare Thug").

    Race is an issue for some but not for all tea party folks. The problem is that the people who want to seriously talk about the role of government aren't telling the crazies in their midst to back off. It seems like they are encouraging it.

    September 16, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. cora

    of course he's not going to say he's being attacked becaause of race because he's a gentleman , and he's far from being stupid, that will give the republicans something else to come at him about. Now here mccain have started the war up while the other mess is going on. the republicans never seems to amaze me.

    September 16, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. Farrell in Houston

    You think maybe it's not race but just plain old fashion ignorance.

    September 16, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. cTX


    If you disagree with his policies go ahead but when certain members of the population have signs of him as a Nazi, illegal immigrant and a monkey–I'M SORRY MR. PRESIDENT BUT THAT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH RACE.

    I'm in Texas and I have never heard so many racist remarks in my life. I'm Hispanic married to a black man and when people can say the craziest things until they learn that I'm married to a black man.


    September 16, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. Dee

    Of course racism is at play and it is incumbent on the majority who abhor racism to call them on it. They are the minority but they are a very vocal minority and should not be given the dignity of a forum to have their views heard. Anyone who denies racism against this President is hiding their head in the sand. It is blatantly obvious!! And those who are denying it are legitimizing it for their own ends.
    As a Canadian, I am embarrassed for the American people who must be ashamed of what is happening. Speak out loud and clear against this neo conservative hatred so the world knows it is a minority group whose views are contrary to the majority American view.
    And yes, it is unpatriotic to show such disrespect for your President. Disagree with his views but dont attack the man! Shame on you !!

    September 16, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. Polar Bears Against Palin

    Come on, Barack! I know you can't say it. But, the film footage of these right wing loons at these protests say it all. They are racist. And, they are also as paranoid as Hell. But, I will admit, I love the idea of FEMA constructing concentration camps for these right wing dummies. Round them up! Ha!

    September 16, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. janeycat

    of course Obama would say he dose not believe that racism has come into play,he is the POTUS.i bet he still cant help but worry about his wife and kids and how all this affects them.he is human.
    after all that went on in his front lawn this past saturday. im ashamed of them all.crazies thats what they all are,but the crazies are the ones you have to look out for.

    September 16, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. ConsiderThis-FL

    Of course President Obama would say that. But we ALL know that racism is alive and well in America; even at the highest levels of government. I'm sick of racism and all of the people who keep it alive. Please be gone.

    September 16, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. Tom L

    Are there racists? Of course. It happens both ways. We need to stop with the distractions and get down to business.

    The government needs to stop spending money...period.

    September 16, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. kim

    Repubs, Obama is not that stupid, dont take his kindness for weakness. He has to say that to keep the peace. But we know the truth

    September 16, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Laurie

    President Obama is above the fray on many issues including the issue of race. Race is a factor in how people view this fine man. I live in North Dakota and have heard people in my small community speak of the fear of losing guns, send racially charged e-mails to co-workers, and speak in very degrading racial terms about our President. There are small minded bigots all over this country as President Carter stated. Thank God, President Obama is able to keep on working for the American people in the diligent way that he has. He has a sense of decorum and dignity that rises above the small minded stupidity of the so called "real Americans." I must add that the majority of Americans continue to be very proud of President Obama. No one can change the thought process of hate.

    September 16, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. Lauren from Tallahassee, FL

    President Obama, I want to believe it's not either, but it clearly is.

    I have nothing, but respect for President Obama, but there are people who don't know how to be civil. The "Tea Party" is most definitely harboring racism and it makes me so mad and the fact the the republicans are trying to make the "Tea Party" apart of their party is appalling, in my opinion.

    No party is perfect, but I will never support a party that has anything in common with these crazy, ignorant, racist individuals. Period. And as much as some republicans and members of the "Tea Party" say that it isn't about race, their actions prove otherwise.

    September 16, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. bern

    President Obama will never say that it is racism. He does not have to. The entire world already knows full well exactly what it is.

    September 16, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. centerleft

    Race is a small factor, but crazy is the larger problem from the right wing fringe. Foxs News and their cohorts are destroying the GOP to get in the mainstream of America.

    September 16, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The President is a gifted orator who has opted for silence in this case. He CANNOT say that race is a factor in all of the acrimony, and hate being slung at him. If he did he would unleash civil unrest. But Jimmy Carter was absolutely, 100% right on point. Race IS a factor.
    The question now is: who will speak for our President? Will we stand by and turn a blind eye to it, or will we stand with him and offer him the respect, support, and civility that he has extended to us?

    September 16, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  20. Andrew

    Time to Wake Up. US still has a large population of racists – esp. in the deep south (the main home of US racism). Dissent is good. Individuals have the right to call leaders fools and/or their policies whatever. The racism varies from protest group to protest group. The stealth and non-stealth racism are obvious.

    The pubs got the dixiecrats to convert to pub after the 60's voter laws; Nixon used racial resentment to win the south – the R in Republican stands for racist in many parts of US to this day.

    The regrettable names Bush was called were NOT racist, although Bush's presidency has hurt US decades out. Those of us who are not biggotted need to Wake UP. The face of multiplural US is no longer white; white will be the minority in 2 decades or so – from a white AZ Independent.

    September 16, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. felicia

    That's because president Obama is so pass this

    September 16, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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