January 15th, 2008
01:20 PM ET
6 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. Jose Card - Independent

    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."
    -----------------------------------
    Rep Rangel may want to ask around who is writing a book without hoping to sell as many copies as possible. Who is the stupid one?

    He also published a book in 2007. Does he not want to sell his book?
    Does honesty have to be paid financially?
    Perhaps he is looking for a position in Hillary's cabinet.
    Rep Rangel has gone too far in attacking a fellow Dem.
    This will hurt his political future.

    January 14, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  2. Dwayne, Pa

    Don't let anybody fool you! The Republicans want nothing more than for Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination. They know that if Obama wins, a lot of Republicans will be voting Democrat for President. The Clintons have far less support from Republicans than Obama has.

    January 14, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  3. Once again...

    Here is what Clinton said:
    "I would point to the fact that Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do, the president before had not even tried, but it took a president to get it done. That dream became a reality, the power of that dream became real in peoples lives because we had a president who said we are going to do it, and actually got it accomplished."
    Here is what Obama said about it:
    "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."
    Besides the fact that Obama contradicted himself because he just commented on it by calling it ill-advised, I disagree with Obama's deliberate bafflement. As many people have pointed out, it does take a politician to sign a bill into law. That is what they do. She did say the dream was powerful.

    January 14, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  4. Jim

    I am amazed that Rangel is an elected official. GET RID OF HIM NY!!! VOTE HIM OUT!

    This is a testament to his stupidity: “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."

    Where did Obama ever say this? Short answer: He didn't.

    Rangel just adds more distortions to an already ugly mess. I've lost what respect I had for this man. Liar.

    January 14, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  5. JJ, Ca

    Obama folks,
    You can't throw the olive branch facing the defeat.
    It's too little too late.
    You started it.
    Prepare to face the consquences.
    Much more to come.
    What happened to rough chicago style politics?

    January 14, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  6. Jack

    The Clintons used Black people to get into power and now they are using Blacks to attack Obama. These people will sink lower than most to retain poliical power. Both Hillary and Bill need to get jobs and stop living off taxpayer's dollars. It is also shameful that Hillary is getting Bill to do her dirty work.

    January 14, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  7. john

    I am 100% for Clinton. Obama is a great speaker and a honest person, and I believe that he believes in what he is doing, but I dont think he is ready to lead this nation. I love how these Obama supporters like to bash Clinton about her running a negative tone, but it is the Obama supporters on here that are bashing, not the other way around. Clinton wasnt playing the race card, and you dont know the facts if you believe so. Clinton doesnt need to play that issue, as what good will it do for her. But the Obama camp by playing this issue can make the Clintons look bad.
    If Obama is chosen I can 100% say I would vote for McCain even Rudy before him. Yes change is great, but if Obama thinks he really has the ability to change a system so rooted without much background, he is being foolish.

    I suggest this critics of Clinton read about her before they speak and state "stupid, or hateful, or the other 1,000 plus statements I hear." How about reading her biography, and Obama's. They are actually both great reads.

    Read the canidates history, what they support, what they dont before going all out to support someone.

    January 14, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  8. Jose

    Rangel wouldn't know what Obama said if he was face to face. And why a major Clinton supporter saying this is news, is beyound me. I'm not an obama supporter but come on news media, either report all the news or don't report anything at all.

    January 14, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  9. Mike

    Wow. The Clintons are kicking in all the machinery they have at thier exposal.

    January 14, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  10. Morrison F C

    If these are Clinton's supporter, I wonder who will her cabinet staff be if she wins. God help save America! Hopefully it doesn't become dumb and dumber. Looking on the bright side Obama's staff seems promising. Go Obama 2008!

    January 14, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  11. BABucher, NYC

    Wow, this is by far the best example of distorting the facts, in by far a series of distortions. I feel like he did the Clinton camp a disservice here.

    January 14, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  12. Nana B

    Someone please remind me....Which of the candidates has the reputation of being a divider?

    I've been backing Obama, but have always had a great amount of respect and admiration for the Clintons...until this past weekend. Should she win the nomination, I'm voting Republican...Romney/Mccain are looking much better than ANYTHING Clinton right now!

    January 14, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  13. Jessica, El Paso, TX

    Good for him! Calling it like it is. It was a very, very stupid thing to do on Obama's part. And for those of you insulting Charlie Rangel, he is one the most respected people in congress.

    January 14, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  14. Jeff

    SHUT UP RANGEL! You're absolutely stupid for falling for Hillary's slime trap...either that, or absolutely corrupt. The comment you attacked Obama for was made AFTER the Clinton campaign claimed that Obama was playing the race card!!! He was merely defending himself against an unwarranted attack by the Clintons, who were just trying to deflect cirticism for a statement that Hillary chose to make in trying to differentiate MLK from Obama. But I bet you're too stupid or too much of a Clinton lapdog to realize that.

    January 14, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  15. Jim

    I have another question: Why do people weight criticisms of Obama by African-American politicians more heavily than any other politician? Why do people weight the criticisms of Hillary by women more than any other person? I know the obvious reason: That they have a personal interest in seeing 'one of them' in the nations top spot. But does that premise hold true? Do I really care if a woman is president, or a Black man is president, as long as they do well by me and the country? How pitiful are we to pay any attention to what Rangel has to say on Obama?

    January 14, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  16. Mauri

    If he didn't know its meaning before - he surely knows it now! I'm talking about the word "EXPERIENCE" or the lack thereof. Obama has now waded into the deep and treacherous water of politics and doesn't know how to handle the rough and tumble situations that go with running for the highest office in the land. This "oldster" would like to set out some do's and don'ts for him.

    First, NEVER refer to President Lyndon Baines Johnson a "politician," especially to another Texan, who would be your constituent. This is the man who was responsible for the greatest piece of legislation ever. Second, never talk as if Dr. Martin Luther King and President Johnson could have passed this landmark legislation without one another. And without Lyndon Johnson, Obama would have no one of his race to vote for him, not to mention even having the right to do so. So whose to say who is the most important of the two? Could Dr. King get the Civil Rights bill into law? Could Dr. King achieve the law necessary to give Black Americans the right to vote? The answer is no. So Instead of warring over just mere words, we should all get our story straight.

    Lastly, as with Lyndon Johnson, it would behoove all of Obama's supporters to speak with honor the name of Charlie Rangel. Charlie Rangel served this country on the front lines in Korea during a war there that had more casualties than any other. Rangel's coming out in support of the draft was for the purpose of making
    a point to Bush and his cabinet members that if everyone was called to serve, including the administration's offspring, then perhaps the president would not be so quick to engage in a war that was not popular.

    Lastly, we have simply got too many serious and ominous problems with those of the world who would drop a nuclear bomb on us at any moment. Preventing that from happening is going to take someone with more maturity than to argue over whether Lyndon Johnson is more important than Martin Luther King. This sounds like my two small grandchildren arguing over whose turn it is to sit in grandpa's chair.

    January 14, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  17. stephanberk

    The clintons are evil people!!! I support Obama 100% and if he dosn't win over billary clinton, I will vote for Mcclain; end of story.

    January 14, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  18. Katie

    Wow! What an ugly scene. As the kitchen gets hot, the Clintonites send out their attack dogs in all colors and shapes (sounds familiar?). Shame on Rangel, for helping the Clintons fan this racial flame. Clinton and her camp are now looking more and more like the Bush camp. The Bushies used fear as the weapon and now the Clintonites use race as their weapon. The sad thing is, just as the Bushies had succeeded, the Clintons will also likely succeed. We are in for a sequel of the American horror show. Buckle your seatbelts!

    January 14, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  19. AS

    Wait....lemme get this straight....

    A man who CONFESSES his prior drug use is dumb, and just saying that to get money.
    Ergo, a man who LIES about his prior drug use is smart, and altruistic????

    I DO NOT UNDERSTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND!!!!

    January 14, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  20. Karen

    It seems racist to me to think Charlie Rangel doesn't have a mind of his own. Why do people think Hillary can order him to do what they want? I hate what he said, but I give him credit for not taking orders from others. Come on. And the person who called him a war monger doesn't understand why he called for the draft. He felt it was the only way to get all of America, not just America with loved-one's in Iraq, to see the urgency of getting out. Not everyone has had to pay equally for this war. I have many students and their families who have. The draft would have made an unfair war, somewhat more fair, and might have caused more segments of the population to pressure Washington on this war sooner.

    And I agree. Can we just hear the plans of these people...Clinton, Edwards, Obama, and Kucinich. I believe they would all be outstanding Presidents, unlike any of the Republicans, and I want them to walk with us, and together, to the next mountain top. Come on supporters of each, remember the dream, remember the Bush years, and please don't get so into beating the one you support less that we all lose. Again!

    January 14, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  21. Jes, Bethesda, MD

    Charlie Rangel needs to get educated.....and no, that's not a racially loaded remark. Obama has class and yet Rangel is sliming him on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

    He is a disgrace and he has one foot in the grave anyways.

    January 14, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  22. Listening in CA

    Divide and conquer has worked for millennia…our chance to at least move our country in the direction of national unity is being undermined by a divide and conquer scheme by a polarizing political figure. Really, how many times can an intelligent and well rehearsed politician say oops, I did not mean to say that and the country reply “Umm, Okay.”

    Sen. Obama did not inject race into this election. Indeed, it would be ill advised for him to do so. People of African descent are only about 10% of the general population. My understanding of Sen. Obama's campaign is that he is running to be president of the United States"." And, it is the media that remind us of the visually obvious on a daily basis.

    Sen. Clinton attempted to twist a statement made by Sen. Obama to her advantage, and in that attempt stuck her foot in her mouth. The main stream media which has been chomping at the bit to have a elementary level discussion on race in America then seized on the moment to advance their ratings.

    Bob Johnson’s explanation was a stupid comment. I guess Mr. Johnson did not think that Sen. Obama should have been working as a community organizer since it is somehow negative to attempt to empower marginalized communities.

    While I enjoy listening to Sen. Rangel on the Sunday morning news shows, he is very misinformed in this situation, and unfortunately he too appears to have made a stupid comment.

    January 14, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  23. Karen, NYC

    Another shame of the black community. That jive time turkey hasn't done anything for Harlem. He's reelected because folks are comfortable with him... we'll see about THAT next term.

    Fat Boy better start looking for his next gig.

    January 14, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  24. Jeremy, Jacksonville Fl

    Thus saith the Lord "Obama will be the next preident of the United States" I ' received this prophecy back in early 2007.

    He won Iowa

    I said god you told me obama was going to win New Hampshire.

    Then god showed me how obama received more delegates because of the super delegates he recieved. He recieved more delegates from NH making him the winner

    Obama will win Nevada and SC too.
    thus saith the lord..

    Gods word never returns void..

    January 14, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  25. AER

    Hillary was headed straight for the Presidency and the Republicans knew they could not beat her. I would not be surprised to find out that Obama is backed, knowingly or unknowingly; by those same covert Republicans who manipulated the 2000 and 2004 election wins. Divide and conquer and watch McCain, a Republican most Democrats can stomach, slide into the White House. The Republicans will win only because as a National Party, the Democrats are sooooo stupid and naive.

    Sure McCain seems more like a Democrat than a Republican at times, but as far as the Republican Party is concerned...a Republican with a tint of blue is better than no Republican at all. The Republican infrastructure in this Country will remain the same and there will be no real change, just a little cosmetic surgery.

    Shame on the Democratic Party. If you cannot unite your Party, how can you expect to unite this Country?

    January 14, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
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.