From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli and NBC's Mark Murray
At the Jewish Community Center in Pittsburgh this morning, Bill Clinton took questions from local press after shaking a lot of hands. NBC/NJ asked him about the WHYY radio interview in which he said the Obama camp was playing the race card.
Below is full transcript of the back-and-forth:
NBC/NJ: "Sir, what did you mean yesterday when you said that the Obama campaign was playing the race card on you?"
CLINTON: "When did I say that, and to whom did I say that?"
NBC/NJ: "On WHYY radio yesterday"
CLINTON: "No, no, no. That's not what I said. You always follow me around and play these little games, and I'm not going to play your games today. This is a day about election day. Go back and see what the question was, and what my answer was. You have mischaracterized it to get another cheap story to divert the American people from the real urgent issues before us, and I choose not to play your game today. Have a nice day."
NBC/NJ: "Respectfully sir, though, you did say …"
CLINTON: "Have a nice day." [continues shaking hands with supporters]. I said what I said, you can go and look at the interview. And if you'll be real honest, you'll also report what the question was and what the answer was."
NBC/NJ: "They asked you if you regretted your comparing Jesse Jackson to Barack Obama on the day after the South Carolina primary."
CLINTON: "And I pointed out that I did not do that, and that I complimented them both. And that Jesse Jackson took no offense. And I called him myself, I said, 'Did you find that offensive?' And he said no.
Again, here is what Clinton told WHYY.
INTERVIEWER (RE: Jackson comment): "Do you think that was a mistake, and would you do that again?"
CLINTON: "No. I think that they played the race card on me. And we now know, from memos from the campaign and everything, that they planned to do it along.