McCain Camp Cozies Up to Bill Clinton On Obama and Race

By Natalie Gewargis

Aug 1, 2008 9:12am

"Say whatever you want about Bill Clinton," McCain campaign chieftain Steve Schmidt tells Politico’s Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith,  "but it’s deeply unfair to suggest his criticism of Obama was race-based. President Clinton was a force for unity in this country on this subject. Every American should be proud of his record as both a governor and president. But we knew it was coming in our direction because they did it against a President of the United State of their own party."

There are a number of prominent African-American Democrats who would disagree that Bill Clinton’s criticism of Sen. Barack Obama during the primaries was beyond reproach, but it of course long before Sen. John McCain got into the act, Bill Clinton was the first one to accuse the Obama camp of playing the "race card."

It behooves McCain and his team to cozy up to Bubba on this issue. The goal: to woo those still-angry Clinton voters and to make Obama look like a racial whiner.

For what it’s worth, we at Political Punch kept quite a keen eye on how the Clinton campaign used (or didn’t use) race in the Democratic primary and at NO time was the Obama campaign involved in our reporting.

Nor did Obama ever level a charge himself, as he did this week against "McCain and the Republicans" in Missouri.

Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod was asked by Chris Cuomo on Good Morning America just what Obama was driving at with his comments that "McCain and the Republicans" would make an issue out of the fact that "he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills."

This is how Ax answered: "He’s not from central casting when it comes to presidents of the United States, he’s young, he’s new to Washington, yes, he’s African American."

Watch HERE.

Do you think that acknowledgment that there was a racial dimension to Obama’s comments contradicts what Obama senior adviser Robert Gibbs told the AP yesterday?

Gibbs said “What Barack Obama was talking about was that he didn’t get here after spending decades in Washington. There is nothing more to this than the fact that he was describing that he was new to the political scene. He was referring to the fact that he didn’t come into the race with the history of others. It is not about race.”

Other ways Obama does not look like the presidents on the dollar bills:

* No powdered wig
* No wooden false teeth
* No pince-nez in jacket pocket
* No splinters on hands from chopping down cherry trees

- jpt

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