September 16th, 2009
03:15 PM ET
11 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. Wake Up

    Of course. But he uses race-baiting as a tool to attack his enemies...he just has people use this strategy for him. Then all the Obama lackies jump up and yell race.

    Wow, all those racists that called Bush an idiot, liar, evil....

    it's called democratic disent, not racism.

    September 16, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. Willy Brown

    This whole race card game is what Obummer wants so he can sneak th ehealth care bill through.

    September 16, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. cheann

    well, he better think again because a good deal of it is. i hear it all the time over here.

    September 16, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. RCasson

    The President is a better man than the racists. He knows what time it is, but he's too good a man to admit it on TV.

    September 16, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. LacrosseMom(stuck in moderation)

    President Obama, you are too kind, sir!

    The best way to stop these crazies is to ignore them!

    September 16, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  6. blreid

    President Obama,

    I love you and I pray for you, your family, and the world everyday. Please do not go blind to the evil mindset of racist people. This word is the reason the world is in such an evil state. I thank President Carter for not being blind to this fact. It will not go away. It must be dealt with. Please don't forget.

    September 16, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. Duck Fallas

    Once again, the President takes the high road and rises above the fray. He is a man of class and dignity.

    September 16, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. JAY

    Carter should stay home and be quiet , and figure out what he
    did wrong as president . ( everything)

    September 16, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    You can deny it all you want, Race IS STILL a problem in THIS COUNTRY.

    Especially in the South. We lived in a small town in the Mountains of NC, called Murphy. To this very day, the black folks are kept on a hill called Texana. Well away from the white folks in town. The ONLY WAY OFF that mountain is to marry a white person (the young adults, not the older ones, the young ones have the open minds) or MOVE AWAY FROM TOWN.

    Copperhill, Tennessee hung black folks from the overpass, up until the early 70s. Anderson Copper on CNN did a whole story on Copperhill, Tennessee and the racism there, a few years ago.

    We still get the local paper and I have never seen such racist comments in a 'Letters to the Editor' section. The people have NO REAL ISSUES other than a Black President.

    September 16, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I disagree totally! When people are screaming "I want my country back," who do they want it back from? Some on the right just can't accept the fact that a black man is POTUS. Some may have legitimate concerns about his policies, but from the protest on 9/12, I saw more attacking of the person rather than the policies.

    September 16, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. Gale

    While I am not a Democrat, I have a deep respect for our President. If we can get Congress to stop their petty sniping and spending time on investigating one another, maybe they would get something important done! People like Ex-President Carter, Wilson, Franks, and the rest of the self serving Congressmen and women, keep your opinions to yourselves, especially hateful ones, and get something done in Washington D.C. They sure don't have any disagreements when it comes to voting themselves a raise, do they?

    September 16, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. pat c.

    we must call it like it is......race is a big part of this tea-party crowd. thanks to glen beck,hannity and others at FOX it has been made okay to talk and act like savages to our president.
    the door was opened by sarah palin last year when nothing was done about her open rants during her hate rallies of barack obama.
    glen beck is an open hate-munger of our president with an agenda to take down our president at all cost of telling lies to the older less educated crowd.

    September 16, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. notfooledbydistractions

    The President is being gracious. I have eyes and ears. It's obvious – and it's pathetic.

    September 16, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. Pat from Texas

    I understand that the President does not want to give credence to the fact that racial politics play a role in some of the opposition he is facing, but Carter is not only correct in his statement, he is courageous enough to call it by it's name....racism. By the way Jimmy, it saddens me too.

    September 16, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. Di

    Carter is trying to tear this Country apart! Now he has shown the true color of his heart. There are sometimes when a person needs to keep their mouths shut and thoughts to themselves especially a FORMER Prez! It shows disrespect for US and Country.

    September 16, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. Illinoistom

    As long as the left paints every criticism of the White House in racial terms, it loses credibility with the American people. I am a "mutt" like the President, and will support his opponent in 2012 whether he/she is black, white, brown, yellow, or whatever as long as they revere the Constitution, and despise massive Federal government like I do.

    September 16, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. welches, oregon

    Oh yea, everyone's a racist EXCEPT these "Christian Conservatives" whom we all know are the most racist of all.

    Pics of bones in noses, drawn on Hitler-isk mustaches, monkey dipictions of their President – all seen at these "Christian Conservative" gatherings – but oh NO they aren't racists – everybody else is.

    Who are these people even talking to? Themselves? Because nobody else, which is the majority of the America Public by the way, believes them – not now, not ever – we all know how these people feel about anybody who is not White Christian Conservative. Our own American History shows that very clearly and that is something that simply cannot denied, masked by something else, blamed on someone else or rationalized away. It's really quite shameful.

    September 16, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. The Voice

    The problem that I have is the Republicans and the neo-conservative clowns a.k.a TEA goers are critizising the Obama administration for everything their party stood for and represent.

    -govt. doubled under Bush, but they call Obama a socialist?
    -the deficit tripled under Bush, but they call Obama a spender? And Clinton left him with a surplus...he left Obama with a deficit!
    -Wall St. ripped off the average american under Bush.. but they say Obama has a govt. take over our life plans! It's called regulation.
    -We were in the worst economic collapse since the great depression under Bush...but they condemn Obama for refueling the economy.

    Hypocrisy???? America voted for change...lets move on!!

    September 16, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. Josh Gilchrist

    Race isn't an issue with any of the critics??? Right...our President is a brillant politician.

    September 16, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. scottj2

    The American people elect our first Black President with the hope of unity and a transracial approach to solving this nations problems, and unfortunately, the news media and many pathetic politicians seem absolutely intent on proclaiming every disagreement on policy as a racial issue. The use of racial slander in this fashion is deplorable and I believe, intentionally designed to drive us apart. Now, former President Carter, a former president still desperately looking for some credibility after a disastrously bad presidency, adds his irresponsible and race baiting comments. It is all so very shameful!!! We will never overcome the racial divide in this country when such lowball and disgusting political tactics are routinely utilized. That appears to be the point of such efforts and the clear desire of many to maintain and promote divisions and conflict among us. Very sad.

    September 16, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. Stay Above The Murk Mr. President

    To quote AG Holder "We are a nation of cowards" In other words, America CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH. Black people (who want to be honest) are not blinded by the rosy scenarios; things on the surface just appear to be better but deep down the inclination by many Whites is to discriminate.

    Mr. President, many would like to see you wrestle in the mud with Rush et al but don't let them. I know, and many others know race plays a role in this... just watch the videos of the protest; listen to Rush, Beck, Hannity. Second, read the blogs i.e. WND, FOX, the comments are vile disgusting and filled with hatred. Other examples, Orly Taiz, Lou Dobbs, Pat Buchannan, Sarah Palin all misguided in their passion to delegitimize President Obama.

    September 16, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. Randolph Carter, head of the death panel

    Now maybe I'm way off here but it seems to me that "racist" is the new "unpatriotic." Granted I'm sure there are a few neocons whose motivations are racist and some who need a tinfoil hat to protect them from the socialist mind control helicopters, but the ones who put the effort into a substantive argument have a valid concern: outrageous spending. This coming from a "liberal." I don't agree with them. I see all of this paying off in the long run by essentially retooling our society for the 21st century world and its challenges, but accusations of racism do not address the opposition's argument and only serve to confuse the issue further. If name calling is all you can come up with, you're just as bad as "they" are. Weak, man. Have a nice day!

    September 16, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. aware

    Right – its the lies, obfuscation and half truths that have turned Americans off! 🙁

    September 16, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  24. Scott in Atlanta

    What else can he say. You've put him between a rock and a hard place... But then again, that's what happends to any black man that makes it out of the barrel. He has to walk a pretty fine line...

    September 16, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. Vietnam Vet(DC)

    You don't really think the President of the US would admit to something like that, he is not dumb enough to give these crazies another thread of ignorance to cling to. President Carter have it right.

    September 16, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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