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Black Leader in House Denounces Bill Clinton’s Remarks

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/24/black-congressman-denounces-b-clintons-remarks/ April 24, 2008, 7:53 pm Black Leader in House Denounces Bill
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 25 6:44 AM
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      http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/24/black-congressman-denounces-b-clintons-remarks/

      April 24, 2008, 7:53 pm
      Black Leader in House Denounces Bill Clinton’s Remarks

      By Mark Leibovich

      The third-ranking Democrat in the House of
      Representatives and one of the country’s most
      influential African-American leaders sharply
      criticized former President Bill Clinton this
      afternoon for what he called Mr. Clinton’s “bizarre”
      conduct during the Democratic primary campaign.

      Representative James E. Clyburn, an undeclared
      superdelegate from South Carolina who is the
      Democratic whip in the House, said that “black people
      are incensed over all of this,” referring to
      statements that Mr. Clinton had made in the course of
      the heated race between his wife, Senator Hillary
      Rodham Clinton, and Senator Barack Obama.

      Mr. Clinton was widely criticized by black leaders
      after he equated the eventual victory of Mr. Obama in
      South Carolina in January to that of the Rev. Jesse
      Jackson in 1988 – a parallel that many took as an
      attempt to diminish Mr. Obama’s success in the
      campaign. In a radio interview in Philadelphia on
      Monday, Mr. Clinton defended his remarks and said the
      Obama campaign had “played the race card on me” by
      making an issue of those comments.

      In an interview with The New York Times late Thursday,
      Mr. Clyburn said Mr. Clinton’s conduct in this
      campaign had caused what might be an irreparable
      breach between Mr. Clinton and an African-American
      constituency that once revered him. “When he was going
      through his impeachment problems, it was the black
      community that bellied up to the bar,” Mr. Clyburn
      said. “I think black folks feel strongly that that
      this is a strange way for President Clinton to show
      his appreciation.”

      Mr. Clyburn added that there appeared to be an almost
      “unanimous” view among African-Americans that Mr. and
      Mrs. Clinton were “committed to doing everything they
      possibly can to damage Obama to a point that he could
      never win.”

      Mr. Clyburn was heavily courted by both campaigns
      before South Carolina’s primary in January. But he
      stayed neutral, and continues to, vowing that he would
      not say or do anything that might influence the
      outcome of the race. He said he remains officially
      uncommitted as a superdelegate and has no immediate
      plans to endorse either candidate.

      At one point before the South Carolina primary, Mr.
      Clyburn publicly urged Mr. Clinton to “chill a little
      bit.”

      Asked Thursday whether the former president heeded his
      advice, Mr. Clyburn said “Yeah, for three or four
      weeks or so. Or maybe three or four days.”

      A Clinton campaign spokesman, Jay Carson, declined to
      specifically address Mr. Clyburn’s statements.

      “Look, President Clinton has an impeccable record on
      race, civil rights and issues that matter to the
      African-American community, the strongest of any
      president in our time,” Mr. Carson said. He added that
      in making his radio remarks on Monday, the former
      president was “simply reacting to a deeply offensive
      accusation that runs counter to principles he’s held
      and worked for his entire life.”
    • Ram Lau
      I don t know about the political calculus of the Clintons, but they should ve accepted the VP nomination two months ago instead of continuing to tarnish their
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 25 8:52 AM
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        I don't know about the political calculus of the Clintons, but they
        should've accepted the VP nomination two months ago instead of
        continuing to tarnish their legacy in my opinion.
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