NBA's Charles Barkley: McCain Can Only Win By Using Racism

Are you getting tired of being told that you're a racist if you vote for John McCain?

Well, former NBA star Charles Barkley basically told Campbell Brown that on CNN Monday, and went so far as saying: "The only way they can win this election is make it about race. That's the only way they can win it."

Barkley also told Brown that "the polls are flat-out useless" because "most people who are racists, they're not going to answer the question correctly" (video embedded right, transcript provided by

CAMPBELL BROWN, HOST: They call him Sir Charles, a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court, and now an increasingly outspoken voice in the political arena. I'm talking, of course, about Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley. He is a big Barack Obama supporter and he sat down with me earlier today to talk about the campaign.

I asked him if he believes in the so-called Bradley effect, the idea that people will tell pollsters that they'll vote for a black candidate and then do the opposite in the privacy of the voting booth. Here's the interview.


CHARLES BARKLEY, BASKETBALL HALL OF FAMER: Of course that's real. I think if you asked -- first of all, racism is the greatest cancer of my lifetime. I think anybody who is racist, they're just an idiot, whether they're black or white. Anybody who's a racist, I just think they're an idiot.

But if you ask any white person on television, they're not going to say I'm not going -- actually, some people have said they would never vote for a black guy. But quiet as its kept, there are some people who say, if you ask them on television they would vote for a black guy, who are not going to vote, they're going to vote for John McCain and that's sad.

Wait a minute. Stop the tape. Isn't it also possible that people on television, because of how liberal everybody around them is, are afraid to admit they're voting for McCain? Isn't it also possible, Charles, that people are afraid to tell YOU THAT in person?

As such, it might not be racism that's preventing them from being truthful. It could just be either a desire to conform OR to live to see another day!

But I digress:

BROWN: So do you not believe the polls right now?

BARKLEY: I think the polls are absolutely useless. I do. I think seriously, most people who are racists, they're not going to answer the question correctly, either on a phone call or on camera. So 100 percent believe the polls are flat-out useless.

I think this race is going to be neck and neck, down to the wire. I also think there is a reverse thing. I think there are some white people who say are going to vote for Barack because he's going to be better for their financial situation. So I think the Bradley factor is a bigger factor, but I do think there are some white people who say they are not going to vote for a black person around their friends, but when they get in the booth, they're going to vote for him, because it's going to be better for their economic situation.

Stop the tape. Wouldn't this have been a great time for a REAL INTERVIEWER to ask her guest WHY Obama would be better for folks' economic situation? Or would that be too much like journalism for a shill like Brown?

Also, mightn't it have been interesting to ask Barkley whether he thinks there are any black people who are saying they're going to vote for Obama out of pure peer pressure, but will actually vote for McCain because they think he'll be a better president?

I guess not:

BROWN: If he does pull this off, and Barack Obama who you're supporting does pull this off, tell me what it will mean for African- Americans?

BARKLEY: It'd just be great that white America elected a black president. Because the truth of the matter, unless you get a certain percentage of the white believes he's not going to be elected. So that would be cool that white people have enough confidence in him.

But, Campbell, unless we, we, as black people, stop killing each other, not getting our education, we have to do better. Racism does exist. It's always going to exist. But until we, as a people, stop killing each other and stop not getting our education, we're never going to be successful.

BROWN: What about the counter to that? If he doesn't win this election, ultimately, how much of a disappointment is that for African-Americans in this country, in your view?

BARKLEY: Well, I think it would be a great -- because first of all, I never thought in my lifetime I would see a black president.

BROWN: You didn't?

BARKLEY: I did not. And I'm surprised -- happily surprised he got this far. It'd be very disappointing.

BROWN: Do you think that John McCain, do you think the Republican Party has used race as an issue in this election?

BARKLEY: Oh, no question. And they used code words, like welfare and things like that. And they just used code words. They're using the terrorist thing now.

You know, they're trying to use the Muslim thing. Those are racial innuendos. The only way they can win this election is make it about race. That's the only way they can win it.

Words like welfare, terrorist, and Muslim are racial innuendos? Really?

Wow. I guess when I refer to Osama bin Laden as a Muslim-extremist and a terrorist, I'm really being a racist.

Thanks for telling me, Charles.

Of course, did you notice that Campbell never asked Charles if it's racist for a black person to vote for Obama just because he's black? Why doesn't that ever come up in any of these interviews about race and the campaign?


Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.