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Bill Clinton: Obama Campaign 'Played the Race Card on Me'

Updated 4:25 p.m.
By Anne E. Kornblut
PHILADELPHIA -- Bill Clinton, a victim of racial politics?

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

"I think that they played the race card on me," Clinton said in an interview on WHYY here yesterday. "And we now know from memos on the campaign and everything that they planned to do it all along."

Clinton said that his remarks -- that the Obama campaign was similar to Jesse Jackson's in 1988, which was decried as an attempt to marginalize Sen. Barack Obama -- were just true statements of fact, which the Obama campaign then tried to turn against him. "This was used out of context and twisted for political purposes by the Obama campaign to try to breed resentment elsewhere," Clinton said.

Clinton has remained irritated (and more) over the ordeal, which alienated many black Clinton supporters who felt that Clinton failed to take into account the broad support Obama has drawn, from voters white and black, in races outside the South. The new comments come as another southern contest is on the horizon: North Carolina, which votes on May 6. The Clinton campaign has already said it expects to have a hard time in that state because of its large black population.

This morning, NBC/NJ asked the former president about the exchange and what he meant when he "said that the Obama campaign was playing the race card on you?"

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

When the reporter pointed to the WHYY radio interview, Clinton denied that that's what he 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."

Video of the exchange with NBC/NJ follows the jump:

By Web Politics Editor  |  April 22, 2008; 1:34 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Hillary Rodham Clinton , Primaries  
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