January 15th, 2008
01:20 PM ET
7 years ago

Major Clinton supporter calls Obama remark 'absolutely stupid'

 Rangel had some tough words for Obama Monday.
Rangel had some tough words for Obama Monday.

(CNN) - As both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tried to lower the tension after days of charged rhetoric over race, a congressional supporter of Clinton's presidential bid called the Illinois senator's remarks attacking her over recent comments about President Lyndon Johnson and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “absolutely stupid.”

"How race got into this thing is because Obama said ‘race,’” New York Rep. Charlie Rangel, one of the highest-ranking African-Americans in Congress, said in an interview on NY1.

“But there is nothing that Hillary Clinton has said that baffles me. I would challenge anybody to belittle the contribution that Dr. King has made to the world, to our country, to civil rights, and the Voting Rights Act,” said Rangel. “But for him to suggest that Dr. King could have signed that act is absolutely stupid. It's absolutely dumb to infer that Doctor King, alone, passed the legislation and signed it into law."

Rangel’s remarks came in response to Sunday comments from Obama, who told an audience at a Nevada campaign event: "I am baffled by that statement by the Senator. She made an ill-advised statement about Dr. King, suggesting that Lyndon Johnson had more to do with the Civil Rights Act. For them to somehow suggest that we're interjecting race as a consequence of a statement she made, that we haven't commented on, is pretty hard to figure out."

The New York senator has since tried to explain the intent of her remarks was not to diminish the contribution of King, but to point out the benefit of experience in enacting positive legislation.

Rangel also implied that Obama’s admission of prior drug use in his autobiography may have had a financial motive: "I assume that the book was not written for political purposes. It was honest….It was a big mistake for him to have done it [used drugs.] For him to be honest enough to write about it, I guess he thought it might sell books."
 
Video: Watch Rangel on the Clinton-Obama spat

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
soundoff (1,694 Responses)
  1. MC

    Congress creates laws, not presidents. And to be fair, if Johnson gets the credit for getting civil rights legislation passed, then I guess Nixon, that great Republican pacifist, gets credit for ending the Vietnam war and Bush Jr gets credit for the latest minimum wage increase.

    Hillary's initial LBJ-MLK comment (which she did try to backpedal from) is eerily similar to the not uncommon notion that "blacks make better athletes" / "whites make better coaches". We can argue about whether such an association was intended (in depends on the meaning of "was," I guess), but to me it's a reasonable association given the overall context in which the comment took place.

    January 15, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  2. Jay - Long Island, NY

    I'm generally not a Charlie Rangel supporter but I don't understand all the posters calling him a warmonger.

    Yes, he was calling for the reinstatement of the draft but perhaps some of you should read more than the first paragraph of your newspapers. He called for the draft specifically as a means of ending the war in Iraq. The idea was if the children of wealth, privilege, and political connection were drafted, politicians would be working day and night to pull the troops out.

    January 15, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  3. Dawn

    I use to like the Clinton's. I voted for Bill twice. But I will never support them again, using underhanded tactics like this. Charlie Rangel is an idiot. He sounds stupid and apparently never got the memo about the truce. Go Obama 2008!

    January 15, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  4. Cliff Vegas, Los Angeles CA

    Obama baffles me often. His campaign stratagem of late recalls memories of herr Karl Rove's obfuscation axiom: "if you can't be substantive, confuse them with rhetoric."

    January 15, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  5. Howard

    Why does the media continue to characterize the intoruduction of race into the democratic presidential race as rift between the Clinton & Obama when in fact the Clinton campaign has repreatedly made personal attacks against Obama even firing one major campaign aide (and shortly after having another aide repeat the same charges on MSNBC) Hillary appears on meet the press and states that the Obama raised the issue of race after her remarks about LBJ...it was not Obama it was many African-Americans who were shocked at her statement and the Clinton spin machine went into effect. Ask Congressman Clyburn and many other black political and media figures why they were upset about those remarks. The character of a person really shows in moments like these...it is easy to advocate for blacks on your own terms Ms Clinton...but when a Black man runs for President a office you cherish more than anything that viciousambition that attacks and stops at nothing really comes through

    January 15, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. north

    Divide us, get us to hate each other. Get us to fight and separate. Get us to point fingers. This country is now the joke of the world. We can't get along for 5 minutes. America is going to lead lol they can't even follow. We are doomed

    January 15, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. CW, SC.

    Charlie Rangel,
    You have absolutley no class. Clinton and Obama are trying o let this pass, but you want to fan the flames with your childish stattements. Let it go! There are certainly more serious issues to adress these days.

    CW

    January 15, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  8. Jay

    What I find kind of stupid is that this fella seems to be missing the point entirely. First up, the only reason why Obama mentioned race in that particularly comment was because the Obama Campaign was being accused of making it a race issue, yet the people who spoke out included Hillary supporters and those who had not made an affiliation. To suggest that Obama could have engineered that reaction is the thing that is silly and actually – insulting. There seems to be a presumption that American people can't think and react for themselves without it having been dictated to them by either Clinton or Obama. Seems to me that the people making comments were accomplished people themselves, so why would they need Obama to tell them what to think?

    It's never been in Obama's interests to be divisive over the issue of race – so far as I can see he has been careful to always be inclusive. Clinton was redirecting her case of foot in mouth to claim it was Obama's foot in her mouth. The Clinton's have been on the attack – that is patently clear. It backfired on them – trying to blame Obama for that just makes it worse.

    And maybe this chap can't get what Obama meant when he said he found it baffling that she made the comment about LBJ turning it into law. What Obama found baffling was that without the movement there would have been no bill before congress in the first place. But what actually makes it most baffling is why is she saying 'it took LBJ to make it law'. If Obama gained the Presidency, would he not be both a person who led a movement, skilled at grassroots organization, but also a law maker? So why is it relevant to say it took LBJ to make it into law, it almost suggests a message that 'Obama will always be a grassroots kid leading a movement, not a lawmaker'. However, that's baffling if for no other reason that he is already a Senator and therefore a lawmaker. So what was Hillary thinking when she made that comment, what presumptions drove that comment? Not about MLK, but about Obama?

    January 15, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. grant

    I'm staying home or voting for mccain if Hillary is the nominee. Rangle is from the old school, victim mentality, which does more harm than good for today's african americans, and americans in general. And CNN? they're the one network who has fanned the racial flame more than any other. Their effort to Africanize Obama right before the newhampshire primary by running a 3 day kenyan expose' was blatant. looks like Carville is still pulling some strings over there.

    January 15, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  10. Charles in Salt Lake City, UT

    Vincent of Tamaqua, Pa wrote: "I hope Hillary puts Obama in his place. Its upsurd [sic] to even question the Clinton's respect towards the Black Community— after everything the Clinton Administration has done for them."

    Vincent, you are an ass. The Clintons didn't do a THING for the Black Community that the Black Community didn't already do better for themselves! The Black Community does not need "good white masters" (who expect to be praised and rewarded) to "do" for them anymore. That's what Obama's message of hope and pride is all about — not just for Blacks, but for everyone. Get a clue, or go back to the 1850s where you belong.

    January 15, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  11. Jennifer

    As a life long Democrat I was inspired by the early days of this campaign as I thought all of the leading candidates shared this notion of change by unification. This "debate", and I use that term loosely about race and/or gender is offensive to me on a human level.

    The fact that it is being exacerbated by the Democrats in general and one candidate (and her supporters) in particular is depressing and I believe it creates a clear picture of who can (and given the chance will) unify the party and the nation if elected.

    Get back to the issues. Leave the divisive use of hate and fear to the Republicans.

    January 15, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  12. RDW

    Being an African American myself, anything that Charlie Rangel says really baffles me! He's as big an idiot as Hilary! She's no Bill Clinton.

    January 15, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  13. Lasha

    It simply baffles me that these black men keep standing up and bashing Obama in an effort to further along their own self interests of being appointed to whatever position their grovelling bestows them. Everyone rants and raves that the Clintons have done so much for black people. OK...playing the saxophone at a couple of black events does not constitute a single thing. Hillary is a self-interested contrived image that oozes FAKENESS through every word released from her pretentious lips. She just "found her voice"...blah blah blah. Guess she did since she never had it when Bill was out philandering all those years. Obama is genuine and he is the voice that needs to be heard instead of her repititious rants about her history of experience. Get a new tune Hillary! And let me add that Rob Johnson is the last person I want to hear speak on her behalf considering all the detriment he has done to the black community with BET by ensuring their programming would be exploitive and digressing of the image of African Americans, reinventing the Sambo without the makeup!

    January 15, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. Christine Atlanta, Ga.

    You know why you don't see more Clinton supporters on these 'blogs'?
    Because Hillary supporters are out going door to door and phone banking to support their candidate. 'Working', not sitting all day long on these too numerous blogs,
    'talking' about how wonderful Obama is. And how all these 'mean' people don't understand.
    And of course the best one of all; "If Clinton gets the nomination, I'm voting for the
    Republicans".
    Grow up.

    January 15, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  15. Bob, Guam

    Rangel is a warmonger? That's a twist.

    January 15, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  16. Jay

    Tony: "now we know who the stupid is."

    yes, we now know who the stupid is!

    January 15, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  17. Lasha

    It simply baffles me that these black men keep standing up and bashing Obama in an effort to further along their own self interests of being appointed to whatever position their grovelling bestows them. Everyone rants and raves that the Clintons have done so much for black people. OK...playing the saxophone at a couple of black events does not constitute a single thing. Hillary is a self-interested contrived image that oozes FAKENESS through every word released from her pretentious lips. She just "found her voice"...blah blah blah. Guess she did since she never had it when Bill was out philandering all those years. Obama is genuine and he is the voice that needs to be heard instead of her repititious rants about her history of experience. Get a new tune Hillary! And let me add that Bob Johnson is the last person I want to hear speak on her behalf considering all the detriment he has done to the black community with BET by ensuring their programming would be exploitive and digressing of the image of African Americans, reinventing the Sambo without the makeup!

    January 15, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  18. Daniel

    Exactly! it's "WE" The People...that means its a collective experience and effort for things of this nature. MLK and LBJ both had a part to play, and thousands of others who made it happen who don't get the historical pat on the back.

    January 15, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  19. Joanna

    Ever since Hilary's chance for presidency has been diminishing, the dirtier her and her supporter's politics have gotten. I am surprised to see how low they are able to go to smear a person's name. As of now the one of the two major candidates, fell into a stereotype-gossip upper crust queen-showing the world that maybe women do not belong in politics !?! Therefore ruining the possibility for others...

    January 15, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  20. Soldier, Chicago, Illinois

    I still haven't seen any clip of Obama even talking about the comment other than to say 'I have nothing to do with this arguement'.

    Rangel is a loser. The Clintons are trash. Obama will be fine- Rangel and the Clintons are about as indicative of everyday Americans as George W. Bush and his best friend, Silver Spoon.

    Do we REALLY want 8 more years of the constant bickering, backbiting, and sniveling blame-sessions of the Clintons? You have got to be kiding me.

    January 15, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  21. Joshua M

    Hilliary has no experience. Senator Biden has a hell of a lot more experience then she does. Being First Lady for 8 years and getting nothing accomplished except standing by her husband after he lied about getting head is not experience. Yes she has been in the Senate longer then Obama, but Joe Biden has been in the political arena way longer then Hilliary . So if you really want to talk about EXPERIENCE, she is just as INEXPERIENCE as Obama.

    EXPERIENCE IS Sen Biden, or Gov. Richardson not Hilliary Clinton

    January 15, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  22. Gus, Virginia

    There they go again! Distort, distort, distort! How dare Obama compare himself to doctor King. He talks about having organised the black community. What exactly is that?! Did he create jobs or help reduce poverty, or reduce drug use and teenage delinquncy? What exactly is the obama record? I know exactly what his record is. He speaks quite well. That's it! When am in the mood, I can give him a run for his money, yes sir.

    I remember the attacks on hillary when she tried to get healthcare for all, she stood her ground and in the process she got chip passed; insurance for millions of children across the country. I will take that over a sweet talking handsome man any day!

    When the good generals reported that Iran was meddling in our efforts in Iraq and it became necessary to initiate a way to deal with the problem, the floor of the senate was opened to all senators to debate the bill declaring the Qud forces as a terrorist group. Whatever once position was, they had the floor to express it and vote accordingly, but once again Mr. Orator stayed away and now he tries to speak from both sides of his mouth.

    Hillary stood up and was counted with a vote; She stood with America and as a consequnce the Iranian influence has subsided dramatically leading to fewer American casualties.

    Issue after issue, obama voted present in the State legislature. Not yes or no but present. What kinda foolish position is that!

    January 15, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. DD, New York

    Obama interjected the race card way back in February 2007 when he said on 60 Minutes that he had a hard time hailing a cab in NYC , alluding to his race. He never said what race the cabbies were when they passed him up. As a New Yorker, not of color, I find it difficult to hail a cab during lunch hours, and around 4:30 p.m., if I have to leave work early. Get it folks, he started this race thing in February 2007.

    January 15, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  24. Darryl

    Shame on Mr. Rangle SHAME!!! You should know better..When I see dinosaurs/pimps like Rangle, Johnson, Quincy Jones and Andrew Young throw their support to Clintion I get depressed and wonder when will black Americans get over self hatred

    January 15, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  25. Dilligaf

    a. muhammad Atlanta,Ga January 15, 2008 6:34 am ET

    "WHAT? I read on here where the Clintons have done soo much for the Black community ........WHAT have they done? "

    A. Muhammed -> Facts and truths are not important to the Clintonistas. "Someone" called Slick the first black president, therefore he is, and can be repeated as often as they want. It's like Hillary repeating her 35 years of experience. Experience on what? If she says it enough though, it must be true. That's the Clintonistas at work.

    The fact is, Bush has appointed more African-Americans in his admin(s) than Slick ever did.

    January 15, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.