Bill Clinton has regrets on campaign for wife

August 3, 2008 5:00:30 PM PDT
In his first broadcast interview since his wife dropped out of the Democratic presidential race, former President Bill Clinton said he still has regrets, and insisted he's "not a racist," despite controversies surrounding his comments about Sen. Barack Obama's win in the South Carolina Democratic primary.Clinton reflected on his wife's campaign and other subjects to ABC News in Monrovia, Liberia, as he toured Africa to support the work of his charitable foundation.

At times, he appeared to grow testy as he discussed his wife's failed bid for the nomination, and was asked if he deserves at least some of the blame for his wife's losses.

When asked, "Do you personally have any regrets about what you did, campaigning for your wife?" Clinton, at first, answered, "Yes, but not the ones you think. And it would be counterproductive for me to talk about."

But then he added, "There are things that I wish I'd urged her to do. Things I wish I'd said. Things I wish I hadn't said.

"But I am not a racist," he continued. "I've never made a racist comment and I never attacked him [Obama] personally."

Clinton was referring to an uproar surrounding some of his comments in the South Carolina Democratic primary that prompted anger among some in the African-American community. After Obama, D-Ill., defeated his wife there, Clinton seemed to downplay the significance of the victory by noting Jesse Jackson had won South Carolina in 1984 and 1988, which some observers found offensive.

The controversy later brought an apology from Hillary Clinton, who told reporters, "You know, I am sorry if anyone was offended. It was certainly not meant in any way to be offensive."

ABC News' Tahman Bradley contributed to this report.