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Thursday, July 31, 2008

John McCain Campaign: Obama Has Played The Race Card

When the primaries were going strong, Barack Obama accused Bill Clinton of "playing the race card". In the general election campaign Obama has said the GOP will play the race card. The McCain campaign, like Clinton, says Obama is the one playing that card
Back in January of 2008, Bill Clinton was accusing Barack Obama of playing the race card by throwing accusations around saying that Clinton was using race as an issue.

At that time Clinton said, "This is almost like once you accuse someone of racism and bigotry, the facts become irrelevant."

This continued into April of 2008, where Clinton again defended his comments about South Carolina and the vote in that state being similar to the vote when Jesse Jackson was running, comments which the Obama campaign implied were "using the race card", and Bill Clinton said, "I think that they played the race card on me. And we now know, from memos from the campaign and everything that they planned to do it all along. I was stating a fact, and it's still a fact."

The primaries over and the general election is in full swing and once again reports come out that Barack Obama claims, to a Florida audience, that the GOP "would use his race to scare up votes for John McCain."

“We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid,” Obama said at the fundraiser. “They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black? He’s got a feisty wife.”

No examples given, just the direct statement that the GOP would use the race card.

On another stop in Springfield, Missouri, Obama continued along that theme and said, "So nobody really thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face, so what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. You know, he doesn't look like all those other Presidents on those dollar bills, you know. He's risky. That's essentially the argument they're making."

Obama critics and John McCain as well as his campaign are leveling the same charges at Obama that Bill Clinton did during the primaries, claiming that it is Obama, in fact, using the race card and not the GOP or John McCain.

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis sends a statement to reporters that states, "Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong."

John McCain weighs in saying that his campaign's accusations against Barack Obama using the race card are fair and accurate.

Obama critics believe this a mask that is starting to come off whenever Obama feels threatened, by stating, "It seems clear, therefore, that the race card has become a permanent part of Obama's hand, a wild card to be played whenever the spirit, or the circumstances, so moves him."

Others are suggesting that playing the race card, then denying it is Obama's way of trying to have it both ways.

Obama is covering himself here just a bit by making his accusation predictive -- "going to" -- but this seems to be a pretty clear effort at having it both ways.

In researching this piece the only references to race I have found is Obama predicting what others are going to do, but no actual reference other than the McCain campaign showing examples of Obama bringing up the issue.

Is claiming that the GOP is "going to" do something fair without presenting evidence that they have already done it?

Is this Obama's defense mechanism when polls are down and the media is becoming critical?

Last but not least, was Bill Clinton correct back during the primaries and is the McCain correct now in claiming that Obama is the one using the race card by predicting others will?