October 12th, 2007
10:30 AM ET
12 years ago

Rep. Lewis endorses Clinton

Lewis endorsed Clinton Friday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, a leading civil rights figure in Congress, endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination Friday.

"I have looked at all the candidates, and I believe that Hillary Clinton is the best prepared to lead this country at a time when we are in desperate need of strong leadership," Lewis said in a statement posted on the Clinton campaign's Web site. "She will restore a greater sense of community in America, and reclaim our standing in the world."

Lewis plans to appear with Clinton at an event at noon in Atlanta.

The endorsement could help Clinton, the front-runner, increase support in the African-American community. Sen. Barack Obama, her competitor who is himself African-American, has fought for the support of black voters.

Lewis appeared with both Clinton and Obama during appearances in March marking the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the famed March for voting rights in Selma, Alabama that helped lead to passage of the Voting Rights Act.

"Barack Obama has great admiration for John Lewis and understands his long relationship with Bill Clinton," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said Friday.

The Obama campaign also emphasized that it has increased its presence in Georgia in recent weeks. And Burton noted that Obama has the support of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a leading civil rights figure.

However, in a recent conversation with the Los Angeles Times editorial board, Jackson was quoted as saying, "I've said I would vote for Barack because he's my neighbor. I have very strong feelings for Hillary because we've worked together 30 years. I'm not really campaigning for anybody."

Click here to see CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com

- CNN's Steve Brusk, Lauren Kornreich, and Sasha Johnson contributed to this report


Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Ben A.

    It may be that Barack Obama is an articulate and educated African American. However, let us remember that he isn't the first and last one! He ran a campaign that failed to answer the question for many people, African Americans in particular, "Who is the best qualified to win and lead as a President?" And Hillary Clinton has done just that!

    October 12, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Robert, Cleveland, OH

    There are a lot of funny postings here. For example: "Obama is also super intelligent with exceptional leadership ability. What other candidate has 30,000 people coming out to hear and see what they have to say"
    I'd be cautious with such statements. Hitler, Stalin. Mao and another Hussein (Saddam) were getting much bigger crowds. And, well, Celen Dion or Rolling Stones keep doing that but nobody are considering them for the office. Or should we?

    October 12, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. Antonio, Atlanta, Ga

    It is unfortunate that so many black politicians are playing politics or hedging their bets at the expense of their base. For years, I have been told by black politicians to support your race by voting for them or buying from African-American owned stores. So for those same politicians to support someone who has done zero for the black community, it smacks of hypocrisy, opportunism, and political greed.

    They all talk about what messages we are sending to our young people in the black community, denounce hip-hop to show their contempt. But what is the message those young people are to glean from black politicians supporting Clinton in the primary when based on facts alone, Obama has done more for the community and better understands what the community needs collectively. Clinton will never tell the black community that it needs to right its moral ship. Obama has and will. Clinton will never really confront all the problems with education, especially the need for black parents to be more involved in their kids' education. So the message is, when you have a black person who is just as qualified as his white opponents for president, you support someone a white person who has not even step one foot in your community until to campaign (Edwards has been in the black community advancing issues relevant to the community before the campaign). This is why the black vote can be taken for granted. Whenever a politician, black or white, can show up during the campaign season and win our vote, it tells them we are a vote not to be respected or earned. I am really tired of this blind loyalty to people when they have done nothing to earn that loyalty.

    October 12, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    I said eaelier that:
    There are whites and blacks in several swing states like florida and louisiana that will vote hillary, but will not vote a black candidate (obama).

    I intended to mean there are whites and HISPANICS...

    October 12, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Claude, Mesa AZ

    This is a sad day for the black masses. This woman stands for nothing other an unquechable thirst for power.

    October 12, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. Edward, TX

    "Bill Clinton is blacker than Obama." Are you serious? What in the world makes Bill Clinton black? Is he black because he played the saxaphone on Arsenial Hall's show? Is he black because he cheated on his wife and lied, as people think most black men do? Tell me as a black man what makes Bill Clinton like me? Tell me how his life exeperience mirrors anything most black men deal with in this country. Maybe you don't know but more black men were put in prison during his eight years in office than any other time. Thank you Mr. First Black President.

    October 12, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. Robert, vivian, La

    Check your history over the past 6 presidential elections. Blacks have overwhelimingly voted for whomever their most prominent politicians and ministers have endorsed, so yes, maybe those five leaders should be allowed to vote by proxy for the 89% of African-Americans that vote democrat no questions asked.

    October 12, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. b-rocks New York, NY

    Every time Hillary Clinton gets an endorsement, her campaign releases a "quote" from the endorser saying something very scripted, like "I believe she has the strength and experience to enact change in America"

    I'd like to see the news media actually follow up on these people and get some real comments on their reasoning for the endorsement.

    For example, Mia Angelou honestly stated that she was endorsing Hillary because she admired how Hillary handled her husband's affairs. Thank you Mia.

    October 12, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. b-rocks New York, NY

    re my previous comment- I was talking about extramarrital affairs- not political or policy affairs.

    October 12, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. CALVIN, GREENVILLE SC

    Monte Brown,

    IM SORRY BUT BY YOUR REASONING I SUSPECT THE ONLY THING BLACK ABOUT YOU IS THE COLOR OF YOUR LAST NAME. HILLARY WAITED ALMOST A WEEK AFTER THE INCIDENT TO EXPRESS HER OUTRAGE AT A NAACP FUNCTION. WHILE OBAMA EXPRESSED HIMSELF ALMOST IMMEDIATELY. HILLARY IS ONLY BLACK ENOUGH IN THE RIGHT SETTINGS. I THINK THAT IF YOU REALLY LOOK AT IT BLACKS ARE IN THE SAME POSITION NOW UNDER BUSH AS THEY WERE UNDER CLINTON. TO BE HONEST I HAVE MORE MONEY IN THE BANK UNDER BUSH THAN CLINTON!(THATS ONLY BECAUSE OF A STRATEGIC MOVE BY BUSH IN HIS EARLIER TERM TO CUT TAXES TO DISTRACT FROM HIS LOW APPROVAL RATING AND THE FACT THAT HE STOLE THE ELECTION; BUT I DIGRESS!)

    October 12, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  11. ronnie - knoxville tn

    when do Senators and reps. not endorse their party candidates? And this is news because...?

    October 12, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. Monte Brown, NY

    To Calvin and all who weighed in on my comment. I think that our biggest problems as black Americans is pride and lack of unity. When last I checked 28 million of our people are dying of HIV or AIDS. What president jumped on this issue? Bill Clinton. Twenty-four percent of our people in America live in poverty. Which president got FMLA passed and made policies to end welfare? Bill Clinton. Which president has always been honest and forthright about equal opportunity in education and in the work force? Bill Clinton. Which candidate stated that if AIDS effected white women as it did black women there would be an alarm ringing? Hillary Clinton. WHO CARES MORE ABOUT THE LIFE FREEDOM AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPINESS OF BLACK AMERICANS AND ALL AMERICANS? The Clintons. Put your pride on the backburner and let's choose a leader that will help our people with things we NEED. WE CAN'T EAT HOPE. We can't get water from a rock. Are we trying to eat or put on a fashion show? Black Americans must ask themselves this question before they throw their votes away. We must support Hillary Clinton. The Clintons care about us. Don't consider race or gender when you vote. Hillary is the most qualified, the most experienced and she is READY TO LEAD.

    October 12, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. Ron, TX

    How can you lead a country, when 50% of the country DESPISES you... is absolutely DISGUSTED by you?

    If Clinton could answer THAT, I'd be amazed. If she gets elected, the Republicans are going to DIG their feet into the ground as hard as they can and not move an inch.

    October 12, 2007 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. RuthieM

    Jesse Jackson should be ashamed of himself making a statement like that, that he's not campaigning for anyone. If he has endorsed Obama, he should campaign for him. Why is it when one endorses Obama they have to make an excuse for it, like they're apologizing to the Clintons? This is pitiful, Jackson. What the heck did you publicly endorse Obama for if all you're gonna do now is stand in the shadows and knock your endorsement while winking at the Clintons?

    October 12, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Jay, Birmingham AL

    How can you lead a country, when 50% of the country DESPISES you… is absolutely DISGUSTED by you?

    If Clinton could answer THAT, I'd be amazed. If she gets elected, the Republicans are going to DIG their feet into the ground as hard as they can and not move an inch.

    Posted By Ron, TX : October 12, 2007 2:40 pm

    Ask "W". Over 60% feels the same way.

    October 12, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    See, CNN is mentioning the African American thing. They are the ones at fault.

    October 12, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. Harry D, FL

    Actually,

    She is the best candiate (on the democrat commy side). She isn't the best ALL AROUND candidate though.

    After all, commies are commies.

    October 12, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. james, buda, tx

    as a country it needs to come to a point when we start voting for whats best for AMERICA not whats best for black america or white america or hispanic american. if your black and you're only going to vote black just because, then next time you talk about racism look in the mirror. we dont need a black or woman president just to say that we had one.

    October 12, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. Don, Los Angeles CA

    If Hilary is elected prepare yourself for the invasion of America. Once she initiates her Amnesty plan for the 20+million illegal aliens, the borders will be under siege. If you think our public services are taxed now just wait.

    October 12, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. Heather, Nashville, TN

    Don't upset yourself Obama it's not their longtime relationship it's just that he sees she would make a wonderful President who would be exactly what this country needs right now. I'm sure its nothing personal.

    October 12, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. Veronica, Washington D.C.

    Good god. After reading some of these comments it's no wonder Bush was elected for a second term. You're all as educated as he is. Spell check. Figure it out.

    Also, if you were all so enamored with Lewis before his endorsement of Hillary Clinton, then why not take a second to realize that the same judgment he used to earn your respect was also used in his decision to back Clinton. And to the individual in fantasy land that said he was only backing her because of Bill, grow up. Can we please move past her husband? This woman has proven herself time and time again and will continue to do so when she’s the President.

    October 12, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. Zack, NY

    To Steve,

    I believe Ben Affleck has indicated he prefers Barack Obama over Clinton.

    October 12, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. laurinda,ny

    Well, Mr. Lewis certainly made the right choice. A very smart man, indeed.

    October 12, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. Marie

    A sad day indeed when the Black leadership continues to live in the past.

    October 12, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. Heather, Nashville, TN

    As for the illegal immigrants I wonder at Obama's quote from his book the audacity of hope, "When I see Mexican flags waved at Proimmigration demonstrations, I sometimes feel a flush of patriotic resentment. When I'm forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frusteration."

    October 12, 2007 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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