WASHINGTON (AFP) — Ex-president Bill Clinton said in an interview Monday that he was not a racist, but refused to revisit his primary campaign spats with Barack Obama’s campaign until after November’s election.
Clinton, who became embroiled in a string of controversies while backing his wife Hillary Clinton in her unsuccessful Democratic primary bid, denied ever attacking the presumptive Democratic nominee personally.
“It would be counterproductive for me to talk about it,” Clinton said in an interview with ABC television.
“There are things that I wished I urged her to do. Things I wished I had said, things I wished I hadn’t said.
“But I am not a racist. I never made a racist comment and I did not attack him personally.
Clinton accused the Obama campaign of “playing the race card” against him during the primary campaign, which appeared to strain his previously close ties with the African American community.
Some Obama backers bristled when Clinton in January likened Obama’s candidacy to the campaign of African-American civil rights icon Jesse Jackson in 1988.
Others also accused Clinton of trying to diminish Obama, the first African American candidate with a realistic chance of winning the presidency.