Paterson: Neither Candidate is Playing the Race Card

Poor David Paterson had to defend Bill Clinton today on the Clinton campaign all-star conference call.

Paterson, a Clinton superdelegate even before he was governor, made his statement of support and then fielded a question from Newsday’s Glenn Thrush.

Thrush asked what Paterson thought of Bill Clinton saying that the Obama campaign played the “race card” in the weeks after Clinton equated Obama’s win in South Carolina with Jesse Jackson’s.

“I didn’t hear the full context of what President Clinton said,” Paterson responded carefully. “But, obviously, there were some comments attributed to him after the South Carolina primary—he had actually made the statement before the primary had been decided—and his statement was that he had seen the state go one way, and the national nomination go another way.

“I don’t know if [with the comments he made recently] he was just responding to the fact that that became an issue for two or three weeks and perhaps he thought that that was taken out of context.

“But I don’t think that either of these candidates has played the race card. The fact that a woman is running and that an African American is running is an issue that I think has been a catalyst for a lot of discussion around the issue, but I don’t think that either candidate has pushed that button.”

Also on the call were John Corzine, Ed Rendell, Ted Strickland, Jennifer Granholm and Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana.

Paterson: Neither Candidate is Playing the Race Card