Good one, Bill

From the New York Times Politics Blog:

Before Mr. Obama’s win on Saturday night, Mr. Clinton was at a polling place in Columbia, S.C., and was asked by a reporter, “What does it say about Barack Obama that it takes two of you to beat him?” referring to Mr. Clinton’s full-time campaigning for his wife.

Mr. Clinton laughed and replied, “That’s bait too.” (He had just responded to a question about Senator John Kerry by saying he would not take the bait.) He then added: “Jesse Jackson won in South Carolina twice, in ’84 and ’88, and he ran a good campaign. And Senator Obama is running a good campaign.”

There is video of Mr. Clinton’s response to that one question but not of the entire exchange with reporters. But Mike Memoli, a campaign reporter for MSNBC and the National Journal, wrote the most complete account of the exchange, and it contains no other reference to Mr. Jackson. Mr. Memoli said in an e-mail that no one had mentioned Mr. Jackson until that point.

So essentially Clinton said “Look, this other black guy didn’t become the nominee, so it probably won’t happen this time either. Put your support behind a white person instead!”

I mean, how else are you supposed to interpret that? Jackson wasn’t mentioned until this point; the only reason I can think of to bring him up is because he was also a black candidate. Even if Bill wasn’t intending to imply that Obama won’t win because he’s black, he’s still being condescending: “You’re doing a good job! Just like that other black guy!”

Sheesh. Can we just get past the race thing, please, and evaluate candidates based on the issues?