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Bill Clinton Insists He Is the Victim

Katie Couric, not bound for N.C.
Katie Couric, not bound for N.C. (Stephanie Klein-davis - AP)
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Bill Clinton Insists He Is the Victim

PHILADELPHIA -- Bill Clinton, a victim of racial politics?

That's his new take on the controversy involving his remarks ahead of January's South Carolina primary.

"I think that they played the race card on me," Clinton said in an interview on WHYY radio Monday, referring to Sen. Barack Obama's campaign. "And we now know from memos on the campaign and everything that they planned to do it all along."

Clinton said that it was just a statement of fact that the Obama campaign was similar to Jesse Jackson's in 1988, and that the Obama campaign then tried to turn the remark against him, decrying it as an attempt to marginalize Obama.

"This was used out of context and twisted for political purposes by the Obama campaign to try to breed resentment elsewhere," Clinton said.

Many black supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said they were alienated that Bill Clinton failed to take into account the broad support Obama has drawn, from voters white and black, in races outside the South. The former president has remained irritated, returning to the issue in interviews.

On Tuesday, Clinton was asked by NBC/NJ what he meant when he "said that the Obama campaign was playing the race card on you."

Clinton bristled and asked, "When did I say that, and to whom did I say that?"

When the reporter pointed to the WHYY radio interview, Clinton denied that was what he had said. "No, no, no. That's not what I said," the former president replied. "You always follow me around and play these little games, and I'm not going to play your games today. This is a day about Election Day. Go back and see what the question was, and what my answer was. You have mischaracterized it to get another cheap story to divert the American people from the real urgent issues before us, and I choose not to play your game today. Have a nice day."

-- Anne E. Kornblut

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