Clinton acknowledges there are some things ''I wish I
hadn't said'' during the Democratic presidential nomination
fight but denies he made racist statements about
Clinton, who is
in Rwanda attending to work he does with a private
foundation to fight AIDS, charged that news organizations
applied ''a different standard'' to his wife, Sen.
Hillary Rodham Clinton. But when asked about it an
interview broadcast Monday on ABC's Good Morning
America, the former president said that spending
time on such recriminations ''interferes with the issue,
which is who should be elected in November.''
''I bragged on
Senator Obama hundreds of times,'' he said. ''Now, I will
be glad, as soon as this election is over in January, to
have this conversation with you and everybody else. I
have very strong feelings about it.''
Clinton cut a
controversial profile throughout the Democratic
delegate-selection process, championing his wife's cause and
vehemently defending her on the campaign trail. But he
also at times seemed an angry surrogate and he was
harshly criticized for apparently disparaging Obama's
early-season victory over his wife in the South Carolina
primary. Clinton noted at the time that Jesse Jackson
had won there 20 years earlier.
Asked in the
interview whether he blames himself for his wife's loss,
Clinton replied, ''I've heard it from the press and I will
not comment on it. ... There are things I wished I
said. Things I wished I hadn't said, but I am not a
racist. I never made a racist comment and I didn't attack
Clinton did say he thought news organizations covered his
wife more harshly than Obama. ''A different standard was
applied to the finest candidate I ever supported,'' he
said. Clinton declined to comment on whether he
thought Obama should put his wife on the ticket and he said
he admires how she handled the loss. ''She went right back
to work,'' he said.
For example, he
charged that news organizations were more likely to
accuse Hillary than Obama of going negative.
''He hit her hard
a couple times. And they hit us a few weeks before she
ever responded in kind,'' he said. ''The only thing I ever
got mad about, people in your line of work pretending
that she had started negative stuff. It's contact
conceded to Obama in early June after the primary season
concluded and he'd locked up sufficient Democratic National
Convention delegates to become the party's
standard-bearer against presumed Republican nominee
Sen. John McCain this fall.
''I never was mad
at Sen. Obama,'' the former president said. ''I think
everybody's got a right to run for president who qualifies
under the Constitution. And I'd be the last person to
begrudge anybody their ambition.'' (AP)