Mr. Clinton stirred up controversy on the campaign trail by saying he’d been told his wife would lose because voters were choosing candidates “because of their race or gender.” Before the polls closed, Mr. Clinton pointedly told a TV reporter – who asked why both Clintons were needed to beat Obama in South Carolina – that Jesse Jackson had won the state in 1984 and 1988. At the time, Jackson was often seen as the black presidential candidate, rather than a presidential candidate who also happened to be black.
“Do you think President Clinton was engaging in racial politics there?” George Stephanopoulos asked. Obama on ABC’s “This Week.”
The Illinois senator, who won almost four out of five votes from African-Americans, didn’t rise to the bait. Instead, he talked about health care, college costs, the credit crunch and the subprime-mortgage mess. “As long as we were focused on those issues, we thought those would transcend the sort of racial divisions that we’ve seen in the past,” Obama said.
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