Bill Clinton: Move Beyond Race Remarks

Clinton appeared on the Al Sharpton show asking Dems to move beyond King remark.

ByABC News via logo
January 15, 2008, 9:58 AM

Jan. 15, 2008 — -- After asking supporters at an afternoon event to move away from discussions over what critics describe as racially-charged remarks by the Clintons, former President Bill Clinton call in to Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show to reiterate the need to move forward.

"We don't wanna play into Republican hands by crippling either one of them, and making this race something it's not."" Clinton said, referring to Democratic frontrunners Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton

Tensions between Obama and Sen. Clinton hit a boiling point Monday. Sen. Clinton faced scattered boos at an event honoring Martin Luther King Monday night — backlash from a comment she made suggesting King's success in the civil rights movement was possible thanks to President Johnson.

Obama, however, said he didn't view Clinton's comment as racially disparaging.

"I don't think it was in anyway a racial comment. That's something that has played out in the press, that's not my view," he said.

In the former president's hour-long question-and-answer with Sharpton's listeners on Tuesday he commended Sens. Clinton and Obama for calling a truce yesterday on the back-and-forth surrounding the remarks and sought to draw attention to this Democratic field. "The nominee of the Democratic party is going to be an African-American man or a woman," he said.

"Neither is losing votes because of their race or gender," something Clinton added was "a good thing for America."

Stressing again the historic elements of this presidential race, Clinton also promised Sharpton that by the convention in August the Democratic Party will have put the in-fighting of primary season behind them.

"By the time we get to Denver we will have a united party," Clinton said.

This is President Clinton's second appearance on Sharpton's show in the last week. Amid accusations of racial insensitivity, the former president called in to Sharpton's radio show on Friday to discuss comments made about Obama receiving "fairy-tale" treatment from the press. During that appearance, a Clinton spokesman says he committed to coming back on the Sharpton show and taking questions from listeners when he appeared on Friday.