Bill Clinton Insists He Is the Victim

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


Obama Rejects N.C. Debate Offer

It looks as though Katie Couric is being shut out on the presidential debate front.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had accepted an offer from CBS to debate Sen. Barack Obama in North Carolina on Sunday after "60 Minutes," but he has turned down the offer, and the session was officially called off Monday.

Obama had little incentive for another face-off. He is comfortably ahead in the state and, after drawing most of the tough questions in last week's ABC debate in Pennsylvania, undoubtedly wasn't looking forward to a sequel.

Ace Smith, director of Clinton's campaign in North Carolina, said in a statement that "we are willing to move forward with another time and location for the debate so that [Obama] has no excuse for not participating."

Obama spokesman Bill Burton replied: "It's unfortunate that the Clinton campaign decided to play politics with this. . . . Their attacks indicate they are really not looking for a debate, but any forum to continue their negative, throw-the-kitchen-sink campaign."

-- Howard Kurtz

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