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Why Bill Is Mad

"There are things that I wish I'd urged her to do. Things I wish I'd said. Things I wish I hadn't said. But I am not a racist."
--Bill Clinton to Kate Snow of ABC News on Aug. 4.

Bill Clinton's been called a lot of names in his life. But "racist" wasn't one of them. That is, until Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton ran for the Democratic nomination for president against Sen. Barack Obama. African Americans remained skeptical of the Illinois senator's chances until he won the caucuses in predominately white Iowa. And since then, the community that gave Bill Clinton his highest approval ratings during his presidency, and that stood by him during impeachment, has cast him aside.

Did Clinton say things in the rough-and-tumble of the campaign that got him in trouble? Absolutely. Do I believe they were racist? No way. The accusation, leveled by blacks and whites, has burrowed under his skin. It irks him to no end because it's not in his nature. It's not in his heart.

In 1999, I went to a White House dinner celebrating the recipients of the National Medal of Arts. As guests filed out of the State Dining Room, I hung back to thank the president for leading a national conversation on race. It was an effort that ultimately went nowhere. Yet, I was grateful that a president wanted to expend political capital to help exorcise "America's constant curse," as Clinton called it.

My partner stood with me as our conversation progressed and blurted out, "Our friends call you the first black president." A smile crept across Clinton's face, as if he'd heard the name of an old friend. "Toni Morrison was the first one to call me that." When I asked what he thought of it, he said, "My grandfather would be proud." Clinton's grandfather was someone he talked about in his nomination acceptance speech in 1992. The one with the general store who taught him to "look up to people other folks looked down on" and whom he credits with teaching him "more about equality in the eyes of the Lord than all my professors at Georgetown...."

These are neither the words nor the experience of a racist. That Clinton has been tagged as such is a shame.

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 27, 2008; 5:41 PM ET
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Comments

Great essay.

Clinton is a fighter, and Obama, I am sure, will be happy to have him in his corner.

There is always bitterness in politics. I can't think for one minute that Obama takes anything from the primaries personal, and I don't think Clinton ever meant anything racist.

Posted by: K Ackermann | August 27, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

no one thinks Bill is a racist. it might be helpful to the MSM and the GOP for you to WANT us to think he's a racist, ayy? how does it help us, the person on the street, for you to flog this "new" story? let the dems work it out, then report it, will you?

Posted by: preAmerikkkan | August 27, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Umm . . . just whom called Bill Clinton a racist? And please - no blogger quotes - the best part of blogging is the free speech part of it.

I assume that the former President of the United States of America is not teed off because a few bloggers made some intemperate comments.

So when you write these words - in valiant defense of our fallen hero - just whom are you calling out?

Oh - and I am sure you know this better than I - but Morrisson meant that as an ironic compliment, at best. She said he was the first black president because of how poorly he was being treated by his opposition and the press. You remember? The Republicans impeached the man and the press cheered the process - and it was just for doing the same thing other presidents have often done.

Being put on trial while others walk - that is the quintessential black experience.

Posted by: Derrick Gibson | August 27, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Capehart, those are some of the most healing words I have read -- period. . . . . . . I sure hope Robinson and King read your column.

Thanks

Posted by: Coldcomfort | August 27, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Bill and Hillary are not racists. They are, however, hardcore "politicians."

Politicians should never believe their own bs. The people shouldn't either. When we lose the ability to perceive reality, then we truly have lost our way.

http://clintonattacksobama.pbwiki.com/Incident+Tracker

In the old world, politician could get away with lying, cheating and stealing. In the new world, the people - and the media - need to understand and embrace the truth, even unto its innermost parts.

Posted by: Deep Blue | August 27, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

What a ridiculous straw man. The accusation against Clinton was not that he was a racist, it was that he was race baiting. There's a difference. One does not have to be racist in order to use race as weapon. And Clinton clearly did.

Instead of countering an accusation that was never really made(except when deliberately distorted by the Clintons and their followers), try addressing the issue directly: What did Bill mean when he gratuitously injected Jessee Jackson into the national debate?

Posted by: fiver5 | August 27, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

The memory span of the American public is about as long as it takes to blink your eye...that much is basically a given. However, in an historic campaign like this where Obama has stood on the shoulders of many mnay people to be where he is is today to call Bil Clinton a racist is in my book contemptible. He could not be where he is if not for the blood and sweat of people like Bill & hillary clinton among many many others-Black & white,Jew & Gentile. That he stood by & let his minions do the dirty work is no excuse either. Given that plus the fact that he did NOT reach out to Clinton in June but now expects he & Hillary to win the elction for him w/the populations he can't win himself is laughable.
If not for HRC's speech last nite, I'd be voting for McCain

Posted by: nellenews | August 27, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Racism is deeply embedded in the American psyche. Mr. Clinton's edifying experience with his grandfather is a red herring. A white person in the United States has racism embedded in his genes, cover it with whatever he may. He still speaks from the podium/ rostrum/ pulpit and the "others" are in the pews.

Doesn't matter if it's literally switched. Doesn't matter if the white man lives in Harlem.

The sin of slavery is etched on the national soul. It will never be washed away, even with multiple crucifixions. You don't have to be a card-carrying KKK member to be a white racist. You don't have to be a Black Panther to be a black racist. In America, race matters. Deep in our souls.

Sorrowfully, it always will.

Posted by: dwyerj1 | August 27, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I love Bill Clinton. I wish he could be Attorney General, or maybe a special War Crimes Prosecutor.

Posted by: Tomhere | August 27, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for this essay. I am as angry as Bill over. He was wronged and somehow this has to be set right.

Posted by: Monique from NC | August 27, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Let's see what Bill Clinton has to say tonight? What he said during the primary, was not helpful, disrespecting the good people of North Carolina.

When the Black caucus shuns Clinton because of his primary "unfortunate" speech, then we must accept that judgement.

When I say something that offends you (even unintenionally), and you clearly tell me that my remarks are offensive, then it is up to me to make ammends. This is respectful of your feelings. It is not helpful to disrespect your feelings by saying, "oh I didn't mean anything", or "I was joking".

Posted by: Richard | August 27, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Hmm...the beginning of an attempt at reconciliation always begins with admission of the injury. I think it's a little more nuanced than whether Bill is a "racist" or not.

Latent racism usually shows up in paternalism, just like latent sexism, and both can live for years like a dormant virus until something triggers a full-fledged, unconcious response. Usually, in my experience, (academia, government) the trigger is a threat to an unspoken understanding that ultimate superiority belongs to the white, male person, who, unchallenged, can abide in benevolent tyranny that looks somewhat like equality.

The threat/trigger in this case was twofold, as evidenced by Bill's comments about Barack (race) and his wife (the 60-year-old, sleep-deprived, forgetfull woman who responds with a tall-tale at 11pm). Both of these figures had/have a chance at eclipsing him, and as much as he conciously doesn't mind, the narcissist man that has deep roots in the insecure, anxious child can't stand to let that happen. The person he most needs to reconcile with is Bill himself, not the black community, which could probably forgive him if he could ever acknowledge the truth. It's the same as ML scandal, and yes, it is sad to see...

Posted by: politicaldukie | August 27, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

It is beside the point to discuss whether someone is a racist--in part because it is something over which they may not have any control.

Lou Palmer, the late Chicago activist, used to say "all white people are racist." That may have been another way of referring to white skin privilege in the United States. It makes the point that as long as there remain significant and foundational problems of race in the United States, discussing whether an individual "is racist" is pointless, because the individual is can't arbitrarily be separated from the larger society that produced them and in which they live.

Posted by: Hayden | August 27, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I know Bill Clinton is not a racist, which is precisely what made his comments and actions in the primaries all the more painful and offensive. It became clear to me that he wanted his wife to win at any cost, even if it meant attacking Obama in places that we never thought he would go. It felt like a betrayal from a long-trusted friend. If he was cast aside, it was because we held him to a higher standard.

Posted by: candle96 | August 27, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton should pull his offices out of Harlem and the Clinton Foundation should pull out of Africa and refocus its mission on South America. Neither neighborhood needs him anymore: black netroots are declaring that they will unseat Hillary Clinton from her NY senate seat for opposing Obama and Africa is forging strategic commodity trade alliances with China instead of us.

People should recognize when they are not wanted.

Posted by: AsperGirl | August 27, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it's a shame that Clinton has been branded a racist. But it is more than a shame that thousands of people have been categorized as racists because they have been critical of black misbehavior- widespread illegitimacy, crime, irresponsibility, are, unfortunately, too common in black communities. Too often, those who point it out are labeled racists. Democrat Sen. Moynihan, many years ago, was the first politician to point out the danger of black illegitimacy and the terrible consequences of bringing up fatherless children- he was called a racist. Politics will not save blacks- nothing less than change in black urban culture can accomplish that.

Posted by: mhr | August 27, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I am shocked that you an so many other folks do not know the origin of the Toni Morrison comment. This is from Wikipedia - Morrison stated to Salon magazine: "People misunderstood that phrase. I was deploring the way in which President Clinton was being treated, vis-à-vis the sex scandal that was surrounding him. I said he was being treated like a black on the street, already guilty, already a perp. I have no idea what his real instincts are, in terms of race."[

Posted by: skycontrol | August 27, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

President Obama would do this country a terrific, long-term favor if he nominated Bill and Hillary Clinton as the first husband and wife justices on the United States Supreme Court!

Posted by: Tony in Idaho | August 27, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Four things:

1. Blacks were brought over here, as slaves, not because of hatred but because of greed and survival.

2. Young Irish girls were also brought to this country, in White Slavery, and were lied into a life of prostitution (see the Mann Act of 1910) because of... you guessed it, greed.

3. The corrupt elite has used race, and every other trick in the book, to create a smokescreen and to divide and conquer the lower and middle classes.

4. Can't we all just get along? :-) Bobby Kennedy envisioned a black President in 40 years. That time has come. 20 years from now, racism won't be a major issue. We'll have bigger fish to fry.

Posted by: Deep Blue | August 27, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm a white man and my (male) partner is Black, and together we are raising 3 adopted Black children, ages 7 to 15, in of all places, Idaho. Yet, when I go to a major city and walk down the street, and am approached by a group of black teenagers, a chill goes down my spine and I get very uncomfortable. In that respect respect, I guess I'm still a racist, and I'm not proud of it.

Posted by: Tony in Idaho again | August 27, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama is now the OFFICIAL Democratic Nominee, and the next President of the United States of America!

Posted by: BasicInstinct | August 27, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Who on Earth could call Bill Clinton a racist when he has his own offices in Harlem, New York right now, as we speak? I do agree that since Bill has become independently wealthy (a multi-millionaire), his views have shifted more towards Republican ideas. But, Bill Clinton was what we used to think of as our 1st Black President and therefore is forever excused from ever being called a "racist". Bill Clinton has done his job, and has served this country well.

Posted by: Peacemaker | August 27, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Once said, some things can't be unsaid, and I think those factions of the Democratic Party who called Bill Clinton a racist will rue the day!

His status in the black community was the only personal value of Clinton that remained undiminished, and that's gone: Gone with the wind of racial rhetoric!

What can be done about it?

It can only be regretted, as Clinton regrets his Lewinsky pulchritude! But it can never, never, never be undone!

Posted by: DaTourist | August 27, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton is a racist, as are we all. There are so few true non-racists in this country, that they can probably be counted on one hand. We are built with brains that function, reflexively, by generalizing assumptions from specifics. We see an instance, and we assume in the aggregate. When we assume anything about anyone based on their color (as we must), whether it is true or false, positive or negative, we are racists. I am a racist. Bill Clinton is a racist.

Posted by: firewoodtim | August 27, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's only the latest person to be unfairly branded a racist by Democrats who cannot resist playing the race card, and Clinton has played the race card himself.

I won't cry a tear for Clinton. You reap what you sow. What goes around, comes around. Obamaniacs turn will come around, too.

Posted by: DaTourist | August 27, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

I would respect BJ Clinton more if he did not receive fellatio in the Oval office by a woman not his wife.

Posted by: Karl | August 27, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Firewood, I agree with you to an extent. But your average person, white or black, who saw Derek Jeter, dressed nicely walking down the street wouldn't walk across the street. The average person may do that if a gang of young, drunk, dirty looking whites were.

We are genetically and socially conditioned for survival, not racism.

Posted by: Deep Blue | August 27, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Even blacks are not immune to being lashed with racial epithets other than the N-word.

The latest example was when Obama's political godfather (an Illinois and Chicago kingmaker!) Emil Jones called Clinton delegate Delmarie Cobb AN UNCLE TOM in the lobby of a Denver hotel, in the presence of two Chicago councilwomen.

Cobb got right in Jones' face, and Jones' ultimately made a public quasi-apology while denying he uttered the term UNCLE TOM, although the two Chicago council women confirmed Cobb's version of the incident.

Those are the kinds of things a person will remember for a long, long time.

Posted by: DaTourist | August 27, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

The question is not "racism"; the question is "color-arousal". The question is, "Did Bill Clinton have skin color-aroused ideation and emotion with respect to the skin color of himself, his wife and Barack Obama.

Let's look at the question of ideation. Bill Clinton pulled Jesse Jackson out of a hat in South Carolina. The only possible reason he could have mentioned Jesse Jackson is that Jackon and Obama both have brown skin. So, clearly Bill Clinton perceiced the skin color of these two leaders, and that perception aroused certain ideation. Bill Clinton SAID it.

I don't know what Bill Clinton's emotion was with respect to the aroused ideation, but it seems to have been a sense of relief at the thought that Jesse Jackson didn't win the nomination and Obama, being Black, wouldn't win the nomination either.

Bill Clinton's ideation and emotion led him to an expressive act - comparing Jackson to Obama - and that act infuriated Blacks and many whites, and led to his being called "racist".

Forget about whether Clinton is "racist" or not! What we know is that he had color-aroused ideation and color-aroused expression that caused him color-aroused embarrassment. Whether he's "racist" or not, he should look at the color-arousal issues and see how his skin-color associated ideation, emotion and behavior have discredited him and his wife in this election year.

Posted by: Francis L. Holland, Esq. | August 27, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

This is well written. I always like your level-headed at Hardball with Chris Matthews.
Great work. Say hi to your partner.

Posted by: dentalwellness | August 27, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

The term RACIST has been so trivialized and devaluated by being hurled about gratuitously that it's worth less than the smallest piece of Zimbabwean currency, if you can possibly conceive of anything so worthless.

After Clinton was accused of racism, the term racist probably means even less than it did before.

I'd have no problem admitting to a Clintonesque kind of racism.

Who wouldn't?

Posted by: DaTourist | August 27, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

As a practical matter, I'm probably MORE RACIST than Bill Clinton, and LESS RACIST than Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or Emil Jones.

How 'bout you?

Posted by: DaTourist | August 27, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

People are reaching. When it comes to Bill Clinton and "aroused ideation" he's aroused in an equal opportunity way. And when it comes to someone standing between his wife and the Presidency he's an equal opportunity politician who will do what he has to do, against anyone.

The man is a politician. He plays to win. Just about everything else is secondary.

It makes for lively discussion, and perhaps we as a country need to work through this stuff, but I'm hoping that my fellow Americans can actually understand the truth here.

Democracy doesn't work as well with an uneducated, or irrationally charged, electorate.

Posted by: Deep Blue | August 27, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for putting things in perspective. An elegant statement.

Posted by: magpie | August 27, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

In the black community, being RACIST is less pejorative than being GAY.

Black gays who engage in homosexual behavior with other black gays are not viewed as somehow more moral than black gays who engage in homosexual behavior with white gays.

As a white person, I have to say I feel the same way as blacks. Black racism just isn't as bad as black homosexuality. Racists (black or white) can become enlightened, but homosexuality is just terminal.

Posted by: DaTourist | August 27, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, the behavior directed toward Senator Clinton and President Clinton put me in Senator McCain's column. The very way they were treated by many of the black leaders set my vote in stone.

Posted by: kt | August 27, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

What's truly funny about Clinton's situation is that he would have preferred to been called GAY, not RACIST, by the Obamaniac partisans.

However, the black community respects Clinton's straight sexuality more than his empathy with blacks.

Dats de troof, honeychile! Believe it!

Posted by: DaTourist | August 27, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

My thanks for explaining about the racist slur against Pres. Clinton. I wish there could be a very public apology in all the newspapers and CNN etc.

Posted by: Maud | August 27, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

All this pathology of racist political accusations is virus endemic to the Democratic Party.

You never hear of Republicans accusing other Republicans of racism, no matter what their race may be.

However, we expect black and/or white Democrats to hurl the racist accusation like spear chuckers! At one another! And at Republicans!

I can't explain the WHY of these antics any more than I can explain the WHY of other social and political pathologies, but it seems sufficient to just be able to describe and recogize THAT IT IS WHAT IS.

Posted by: DaTourist | August 27, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

fiver5 wrote: "What did Bill mean when he gratuitously injected Jessee Jackson into the national debate?"

... did it ever occur to you that Bill Clinton viewed Jesse Jackson as a legitimate candidate? ... they have been very good friends for years!!

Posted by: Francisco Cardenas | August 27, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Obamaniac partisans feel AN ENTITLEMENT to play the race card if they calculate it will gain a political advantage.

They played it against the Clintons and won the Dem nomination, because Hillary really couldn't fight back on the Democrat playing field. It's not allowed. You'll be penalized if you do, and Hillary was.

That was then, this is now!

The Obamaniacs are up against McCain, and race cards just aren't as effectively lethal in a Presidential election as in a Democratic primary. McCain can not only talk back without penalty, it even gains him political advantage to talk back right in Obama's face!

Posted by: DaTourist | August 27, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

POLL SHOWS HUGE I.Q. GAP BETWEEN OBAMA AND MCCAIN

97 percent of Americans with an IQ over 100 are supporting Barack Obama, according to a recent poll. Obama also wins with voters who use soap regularly, have been to Europe, believe that it is morally wrong to mate with farm animals, listen to opera, and read books without drawings in them. The question becomes -- are there enough educated people in the US for him to carry the day?

Posted by: Jeff Wagner | August 27, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

The Clintons are foul and divisive. Please, no more discussion of them. They should go away.

Posted by: Jeff Wagner | August 27, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

He's not a racist. He's an egomaniac. He can't stand it that he won't be Mr. Democrat anymore. How in the world could Obama choose Hillary as VP? Only if he could lock up Clinton and never let him get within 100' of a microphone. Also, hasn't anyone noticed how nice the R's have been to Hillary? They were so happy thinking about all the old Clinton scandals (most without merit) they could recycle instead of having to dig up new stuff on Obama.

Posted by: carolanne2 | August 27, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan Capehart, who always lisps right, is partly right and partly wrong. Bill Clinton is not a racist; he's an opportunist who used race, just as he would use any other means to achieve his objectives. But it isn't a shame that Bill Clinton has been "tagged" with his own words; what's shameful is that he said the things he did and now doesn't want to be held accountable for them.

Bill Clinton is angry because he thought he could insult a group of people in the name of politics and all would be forgiven when his wife was elected. Sorry, Bill.

Posted by: Gardenia | August 27, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Francisco Cardenas wrote:

"fiver5 wrote: 'What did Bill mean when he gratuitously injected Jessee Jackson into the national debate?'

... did it ever occur to you that Bill Clinton viewed Jesse Jackson as a legitimate candidate? ... they have been very good friends for years!!"

So Clinton brought Jessee Jackson into this race because they're pals and not in an attempt to paint Obama as "the black candidate." Care to invest in the Brooklyn Bridge?

Posted by: fiver5 | August 27, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Jeff Wagner wrote: 97% of people in America with an IQ over 100 are supporting Obama. Tell your girlfriend and Mom that. Oh, wait, just tell Mom.

Posted by: Obama's Da Man | August 27, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Obama did the race baiting, not Bill and Hillary.

Posted by: Andrew Austin | August 27, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

POLL SHOWS HUGE I.Q. GAP BETWEEN OBAMA AND MCCAIN

97 percent of Americans with an IQ over 100 are supporting Barack Obama, according to a recent poll. Obama also wins with voters who use soap regularly, have been to Europe, believe that it is morally wrong to mate with farm animals, listen to opera, and read books without drawings in them. The question becomes -- are there enough educated people in the US for him to carry the day?


Posted by: Jeff Wagner | August 27, 2008 7:51 PM
****************************************
Jeff, you can't be too smart. Most people, including Barack Obama, recognize that calling people names and insulting them is unlikely to persuade them to join the revolution. Please rethink your tactics. You are harming your candidate.

Posted by: MJ | August 27, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

How much did he pay you nto write this garbage. No one said he was racist! he did inject race into the campaign in a negative manner trivializing Jesse Jackson and obama in swipe.What makes you such an expert that you know better than 80% of African Americans? It was beneath him to appear on Fox, to sugest his wife cozy up with people are racist such as Limbaugh and to go to the the billy bobs you remember those poor working class whites with his coded messages about Hillary being "their kind of folks". What are you an idiot? If he cared so much about race or race relations he would not have taken those actions even to scare up a few votes for his wife. African Americans like you who continue to pimp for Clinton make the matter worse. Why not just go join Clintons for McCain. Just go someplace and stop your advatorials on his behalf. They won't work. Black people are too smart. We know what we hear and what we saw. Welcome to 2008. You seem to be stuck in the 90's with so many Clinton pets.

Posted by: Mark | August 27, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks! The Clintons are many things, but "racist" is not among them. The best economic and peaceful years that I have experienced in my life was when Bill Clinton was president.

I was grieved by the way that black talk radio demonized the Clintons during the primaries and took their words out of context. It must have been painful for both of them to have the "race card" played against them, but without the ability to challenge back; less that somehow prove that they were indeed racist.

Posted by: Conscious | August 27, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

THE QUESTION OF RACISM APPLIES MOST PREEMINENTLY TO OBAMA. HE'S THE ONE WHO ATTENDED A CHURCH THAT REPEATEDLY EXTOLLED THE VIRTUES OF LOIS FARAKAHN, THE BLACK EQUILVALENT OF THE GRAND WIZZARD OF THE KKK. ANYONE WHO COULD TOLERATE SITTING AMONGST SUCH A CONGREGATION MIGHT AS WELL BE A NAZI IN BLACK FACE. THIS IS THE FOREMOST QUESTION. YOU CAN JUDGE A PERSON BY THE COMPANY HE KEEPS. FRANKLY PERSONS OF THE KKK, NAZI, AND BLACK MUSLIM PERSUASION ARE TRUELY CREEPY AND I COULDN'T TOLERATE THEIR COMPANY! HOW ABOUT YOURSELF? DO WE WANT THIS KIND OF PERSON IN WHE WHITE HOUSE?

Posted by: servinc | August 27, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

The legitimate charge never was that Bill and Hillary are racists. The legitimate charge is that they baited racists by their continual message that their opponent is a Black man. They ran a racist campaign.

Posted by: infuse | August 27, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Obama using race and playing the race card when he gave his famous Major Speech On Race?

Posted by: John | August 27, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I started this election as a die hard Democrat but now find myself moving over to the Republican Party.

A large part of my move is how Obama and his racist campaign have treated the Clintons and the white American voter.

In watching the news I find that the Democratic Party has become the African American party where all the news commentators and writers and interviewed parties are black - and they all love Barack.

Clearly the party has changed course and is now focused on only one piece of American fabric.

Too bad the Clintons were so badly treated by the Obamas and the DNC - neither deserve their support or commitment.

Posted by: Becoming A Republican | August 27, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

The same people who used race against the Clinton's are now trying to downplay it since they need their voters now. We're not that dumb though and we're not voting for Obama.

Posted by: John | August 27, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh please. Both of the Clintons played the race card during the primary. Whether or not Bill and Hillary are "true" racists is a red herring. They did wrong and they deserve the criticism that has befallen them. They lost and now, to this day, they are trying to derail the candidacy that Obama rightfully won. They better start acting like loyal soldiers of the party to which they belong or they will continue to bear the scorn of people who want to see a true black president of the United States.

Posted by: Sam | August 27, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Look, I'm a white guy who grew up in a black neighborhood. I hung out with lots of black people, from age 5 on, but you know what? Even I have to check myself occasionally. Everybody has tendencies toward racism, and no one is 100% innocent. I know I am not. So, I know Bill Clinton is not either.
It is easy to be non-racist when you are on top of the world and everyone else has to look up to you. But when a black guy is whooping your butt, in whatever field, then the tendencies come to the surface, and they have to be confronted again.
That is what happened to Bill, but he is in denial.

Posted by: Arjuna9 | August 27, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Clinton should know by now not to expect accolades and applause, it just doesn't work that way.

Everyone knows he strove to do well; however, there will always be those who slander you for god knows what reason, and you have to look beyond it, otherwise the anger eats you alive. Next thing you know, you're Dick Cheney, or George Bush or Putin, or some idiot commander, striking out, over reacting to every little slight, a loss of control leading to, well, insanity.

In the end, you have to do it for your country, selflessly.

Clinton made it better.

Posted by: Plouffe Savage, Jr. | August 27, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

The funny part is that some of you believe that Bill Clinton is in anyone's corner but his own.

He only supported his wife because it was his ticket back to the white house.

I'm surprised how clueless people are 8 years later. You'd think hindsight would at least make them a little smarter.

Posted by: TheManKeepingYouDown | August 27, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

It's simply a fact that the Clintons tried to win Hillary the nomination by arguing to Democratic primary voters that Obama was unelectable because he was black. This is so obvious to me, I'm surprised I have to state it. Perhaps that's because I hale from Pennsylvania, where Hillary supporter Ed Rendell got quite explicit about it. Look it up.

Posted by: Douglas L. Barber | August 27, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

THE CRAP THAT HAS BEEN THROWN AT BILL AND HILLARY BY THE SS-LIKE OBAMA, AND HIS CAMPAIGN MACHINE, DESPERATELY TRYING TO INSINUATE OR OUTRIGHT STATE THAT HRC AND BILL'S COMMENTS WERE "RACIST" IS OBSCENE. THE IDEA THAT THAT GREAT MAN, OUR MOST BRILLIANT PRESIDENT, WHO WAS COMPLETELY AT HOME IN A BLACK CHURCH, WHOSE PICTURE IS ON THE WALLS OF INDIAN JEWELRY STORES TO THAI RESTAURANTS TO OTHER PLACES ALL OVER THE WORLD WOULD HAVE TO "DEFEND" THAT HE WAS NOT A RACIST-IS ONE OF THE MOST UGLY, AND SCREAMINGLY ABSURD ASS THINGS I EVER HEARD.

TRUST THE MSM TO FAN THOSE FIRES-HOW ABOUT A BLOG ABOUT ON THAT SOB OBAMA'S REAL CLOSE TIES WITH AN AVOWED TERRORIST? TOO AFRAID TO GO THERE, AREN'T YOU?

Posted by: SPRING RAIN | August 27, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

TheManKeepingUsDown wrote:

He only supported his wife because it was his ticket back to the white house.

----------

It's always a little more complex isn't it, and really, Clinton in the White House beats anything the Republicans, and this crop of Democrats, can offer.

Neither candidate is what I would call intelligent, Clinton the only President worthy of the office in the last 28 years.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 27, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Raise your hands and slowly step away from the caps lock key.

Posted by: OfficerMancuso | August 27, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I never read anything that is all in capital letters.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 27, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

When it is safe, you make a comment like this..Bill Clinton is not racist. But where were you just three months ago when the main media and the Obama people were calling BC a racist and all black people were deserting them? It did not require an IQ of over 100 to recognize that Obama was playing the race and the Clintons were blamed for his doing. We must be able to speak freely without people taking our words out of context and exploiting the wrong for their benefits. That is precisely what the Obama campaign did to the Clintons because it worked on his advantage to portray them as racist when Obama himself was playing the race card. Blacks remained totally silent or spoke to discredit the Clintons then. Where were you? Why to speak now?

Posted by: scvargas | August 27, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Clinton is not a racist--not since Hillary dropped out.

Anyone who opposes or doesn't agree with Obamma is a racist.

If Obamma doesn't win by a landslide, it will be proof that the U.S. is racist. The U.S. must pay reparations for racism. It is the only fair thing to do.

Posted by: JM | August 27, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Nice article. Finally someone who told it like it was. The Clintons are not racists. President Clinton has so embraced the Afrian-American community like no other president has. This campaign was a tough one for both sides, but hopefully we can all move forward.

Posted by: DT | August 27, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Why do you still bring the Clinton's into this? Hillary won but was cheated. The Clinton's were cheated by their own party and treated worse than the Republicans ever treated them.

Leave the Clinton's out of this. You don't want to tlk about Obama being a Muslim because you don't want to bring his religion into it so leave the Clinton's out of it also.

Everyone knew that Hillary won the states that we can't win against a Republican.

Hillary was cheated by Obama now leave her and Bill alone.

Posted by: Susan | August 27, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Give me a break. The politician with the savvy to go after Sister Souljah didn't know what he was saying in North Carolina when he compared Obama to Jesse Jackson? Come on. I'm thrilled with the speech Bill Clinton gave tonight. It's what he needed to do for himself, the Democratic party and the country. But the fact remains that Clinton has not always been above taking the low road whether it's rushing back to Arkansas for the execution of a mentally retarded man or advising Kerry to go negative on gay marriage. To Kerry's credit he refused, by the way.

Posted by: John J | August 27, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Paternalistic racism, a hallmark of white liberals like Bill Clinton, is racism none-the-less.

Posted by: George Dixon | August 27, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

In a country that preached racial hatred for a long time and whose economy was built upon pillars which included 200 years of slavery, it is not surprising that there are still people who despise others because they are black. I just saw Walter Mondale refer to one of his earlier Democratic conventions that was all white and male....40 something years ago. Bill Clinton was 22. Laws that we refer to as Civil Rights laws, signed into being by President Johnson resulted in some Democratic Congresspeople from the South going over to the Republican Party where they found ready support for many of their very negative ideas about black people. That party still has no African American sitting in either House and is comitted to policies that predictably benefit an extremely small part of this population, virtually all white. That is racist. President Clinton has said some offensive stuff that can be described in many ways. Racism may not have been his intent and his strong disavowal has me believing that. His history supports the kinder view.

Posted by: Draesop | August 27, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

This is the same Bill Clinton who deserted Lani Guanier, the same one who invoked Sister Souljah to make points when he ran for president, the same one who was too cowardly to talk to his longtime Arkansas friend Joycelyn Elders, so he had Leon Panetta fire her. What Bill Clinton definitely is is opportunistic, egotistical and remarkably devoid of anything approximating loyalty. Barack Obama was in his and Hillary's way. To remove that obstacle BC would say and do almost anything.
He'll get over his anger ... or not.

Posted by: innocentia74 | August 27, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Don't think Bill is really mad. I think I know how he feels. I'm a 69 year old white male. In the early 1960's I voted for blacks, campaigned for blacks, gave money to black candidates, tried to help blacks get ahead at the company where I worked etc. I was the typical Liberal. Blacks stayed at my house, came to my parties I gave for them..worked by butt off for them...How did I get paid? I was sued by a black for being a racist. 3 years of talking to lawyers, meeting etc.
State court, then federal court. Of course I won. I will vote for Obama.
But, I did not campaigned for him.

Posted by: Hubert | August 27, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

The charge of racism, leveled at both Clintons for political purposes, is something that Obama will have to live with for the rest of his life.

Posted by: Alain James | August 27, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton gave her best speech yet last night and Bill Clinton as always rocked the house with his superb speaking skills.

However, my gut still tells me that it will be better to vote for a divided government by voting for McCain and voting for Democrats for President. When the Republicans controlled Congress and the White House, the Republicans became corrupt. I believe the same will happen to the Democrats. Additionally, the DNC RBC needs to be punished for their unfair process and their unkept promise of being open and not settling disputes and making deals behind closed doors.

Finally, I cannot get over Barack Obama's poor judgment in attending Rev. Wright's black-centric, racist, hate-promoting church for over 20 years without knowing how Rev. Wright truly felt. Either Barack Obama is lying to the American people about this or he is truly naive and inexperienced if he cannot determine how his pastor feels after knowing him and attending his church for over 20 years.

If it weren't for Barack Obama's bad judgment in associating with Rev. Wright, Father Flager, Tony Rezko, William Ayers, and Louis Farrakhan. If it weren't for Obama's bad judgment in keeping bad company, I might consider voting for Obama. My only consolation is that the Democrats are set to get their filibuster-proof majority in Congress and will easily be able to keep a President McCain in check and on a short leash.

Posted by: InSearchOfTruth | August 27, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Errr... I mean...

I plan on voting for McCain for president and voting for Democrats for CONGRESS. I would rather see the Congress keep a Senator McCain in check than roll over and allow Barack Obama do whatever he wants just like the Republican Congress allowed Dubya to do all that he did.

Posted by: InSearchOfTruth | August 27, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Bill made some harsh comments but would I call Bill and Hillary racists. Nope. I look upon him as a one of the greatest presidents of the 20th century. As a person of color, I will tell you one thing. I would have voted for Hilllary had she not taken the advice of Mark Penn. I was leaning towards her until the race gpt ugly. She had my vote from the first day Bill took the oath of office. He inspired my sense of optimism in the true sense of America's greatness. Who cares what happened in his private life. Bill and Hillary embody the true psyche of America, "Generous, Inspiring, and Inclusive". God Bless America!!!!!!

Posted by: A Person Of Color | August 27, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

fiver5,

I would be happy to explain to you what Bill Clinton was saying when he brought Jesse Jackson up. I hope you will listen...

After South Carolina, where Hillary lost, the media asked Bill Clinton if his wife's candidacy was in serious trouble of losing Super Tuesday in a similar landslide.

Like Jesse Jackson, Barrack Obama won S.C. with a massive black majority - no doubt rightfully proud to have the opportunity to vote for the first black president. Bill Clinton simply said, and was right, that South Carolina voted for Jesse Jackson twice, and he didn't go on to win the Presidency. His implication was clear - that the media and voters should not count Hillary out simply because Obama won South Carolina, because South Carolina with more than 50% of the Democrats being black is an ideal state for a black candidate to pull an upset.

That is factually accurate and in no way racist or race baiting. It is simple political analysis.

Bill Clinton was right to point that out, (or would have been had the Obama campaign not spent the next two weeks arguing that the Clinton's were racists which is a devestating accusation in a Democratic primary). When he made the comment, the media was starting on their call for Hillary's doom. Bill simply stated that we can't predict the national election, the primaries in all the other states based on the huge margin in South Carolina because demographically it is not like most of the other states.

You accuse Bill of race baiting but think about it for a second. Bill's comments came AFTER the South Carolina primary. He had nothing to gain by race baiting after the big early southern state primary and everything to lose if he was actually race baiting. Whatever else you can say about Bill Clinton he isn't that stupid. But that is beside the point, look at what he said and it is clear he was not race baiting.

The only one who played the race baiting game was Michelle Obama who two weeks before the S.C. primary accused Bill Clinton of being a racist when she completely distorted and misquoted his 'fairy tale' comment. She pretended in so many words that Bill had said that about a black man's candidacy, that no black man would ever be elected. WHICH HE DID NOT SAY. He clearly, specifically said Obama's reported consistent opposition to the Iraq war being supperior to Hillary's was a fairy tale.

The comment had nothing to do with his race or his candidacy in general. The Obamas knew they were in trouble having lost N.H. and Nevada and 2 weeks before the S.C. primary they decided to play the race card to win over the 53% of the Democrats in S.C. that happen to be black.

Michelle played identity politics to get ahead by insinuating that Bill Clinton, a great champion of all minorities particularly black people in America, was a racist. As a social liberal who has spent his life loving black people and fighting for all minorities, her words were an insult to everything Clinton believes in, his life work. She accused him of that which most disgusts him about America's past. It was greatly, deeply, personally insulting to Bill Clinton who couldn't be farther from a racist.

For those of you who would argue that Edwards or another S.C. winner who went on to lose would have been a more appropriate example to cite: Jesse Jackson was the correct historical candidate to compare to the Obama S.C. victory because both men won with a massive showing from black community and tepid support from the white, hispanic and asian population in S.C. That is simply, factually accurate. Bill Clinton simply made the argument that you can't assume Hillary is going to have a similar showing in Super Tuesday based on S.C. because the demographics of the upcoming states are vastly different.

If you go back through the video's of who said what when, you will see that I am correct.

Michelle's strategy was a smart one from a tactical point of view. The black population rallied to Obama's cause and changed the election.

For some of us, though, the hypocrisy of then going on to accuse the Clintons of being racist, was, in many of our eyes, the very sort of Swift Boat type tactic that has long since turned us away from the Republican brand. Just as I now see the attacks on McCain's military experience to be beneath the decency that the Democratic Party once stood for.

Hopefully this was just a particularly nasty primary and the party will return to the moral high ground, but it was not Bill Clinton who played the race card this campaign.

Posted by: michaelp0429 | August 28, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton gave a GREAT speech tonight. He demonstrated why it is so critical elect Democrats as President, U.S. Senator, and U.S. Representative in 2008. It is absolutely essential. God bless America. God bless the Clintons. God bless Barack Obama.

Posted by: Chuck | August 28, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, America, gver it! The Clintons have shown time and time again, that they stand for the rights of all Americans. To think for one moment, that Bill Clinyon is a rascist is crazy. I voted for former President Clinton and would have voted for Senator Hillary Clinton in a heart beat. Taking, nothing away from Barack Obama, but we knew what we had in Bill Clinton, a great President!

Posted by: Andrea | August 28, 2008 12:59 AM | Report abuse

It is ashame! Clinton was and is a man. As President, he looked beyond race, gender, sexual-orientation, religion, etc. to find the persons best qualified to move the nation forward.

Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense---But, who would have thought that a true African American in the person of the late Ron Brown would be appointed Secretary of Commerce--COMMERCE, you hear me--over these United States?

Bill Clinton did just that. A racist??? Clinton is one of the least racist of any elected official, or private citizen, I have ever studied or known, black or white.


Posted by: walter | August 28, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

In the search for authenticity in which young educated white people partake everyday at Starbucks, it has become common to become offended at just about everything.

They say: 'See look I am not a racist or sexist, I have the 'right' views.'

The only problem is that this just shunts race under the table. Listening to one of these well meaning liberal white people talk to african americans in the city is actually hilarious. African americans can't figure out what the hell they are trying to say because they are always so indirect and their language so infused with code words that nobody but themselves get.

My guess is that it is these same young liberal white americans, who don't know any history at all, i.e. the civil rights movement etc... and are obsessed with race, i.e. think it defines everything about everybody, that called Bill Clinton a racist.

The faces of African American's at the convention showed that William Jefferson Clinton is still well loved by his people.

Posted by: DCDave | August 28, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for this. I never did understand
a) Why is comparing someone to JJ to demean their achievement?
b) Why was it racist to mention the obvious(but unmentionable) fact that any electorate that was 50% black had an incentive to vote for a black candidate, especially one as charismatic as BO.
c) How could BC be accused of "injecting" race into an election when it was already such a major and openly powerful a factor?

Finally, if you think no Democrats should go on Fox or talk to the "BillyBobs" (I guess that term isn't racist?) why are so many in the Obama campaign hoping for the Clintons or Biden to do just that?

Posted by: jojo40 | August 28, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

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