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. stryker

    I think a lot of posters here just see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear regardless of the facts. LISTEN to what the Clintons actually SAID.. not what somebody said they said. LISTEN !! objectively !!
    Charlie Rangel is also a Korean war combat vet ( which most of you probably don"t know) and the disrespect to him I read here is appalling. As far as I am concerned he hit the nail right on the head in his remarks. Do you really think th Clintons are so bloody dumb as to start a race war right before the SC primary for pete's sake where just under half of registered democrats are african americans ?
    This whole mess was obviously started by third parties (GOP ?) for their own gain whatever that is. Think for yourself about this instead of just jumping on somebody's bandwagon regardless of the facts. This whole deal cuts both ways and on both sides.

    January 15, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. Ady

    Why do we as African Americans always want to inject race into everything. It bothers me, because are so called leaders always want to use the community as a pawn. They treat us like were not smart people, like once someone is black, we should automatically vote for them. We have known the Clinton's for long and we know them for taking care of the black community and black issues, why are we letting ourselves to be used by people that always want to find a reason to tout there blackness.

    I admire Barack Obama, but what has he achieved in polititics that makes people think his going to be there savior. You know talk is cheap, Dr King at the tender age of 35 yrs old has done more for black than barack has at that same age. Have anyone even gone back to study this mans record, or because Oprah says vote for him, black people should automatically as always just not investigate, the star of the moment has said vote , as always we do what the rich say. Do you guys know what she might stand to gain, if not now in the future, or what she just doing it for her own selfish reasons, so people can say she is the most powerful person in the country.
    Black people its time to start asking questions that pertain to your life, bacause when the dust settles it is your life.

    January 15, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    To CNN and other media outlets: Stop allowing the Clinton camp to reduce this primary election to the type of politics that we have been confronted with for the last two decades. For more than half my life, there has been either a Bush or Clinton in office. During that time, our political system has been reduced to partisan bumper stickers and tacky birthday cards. Please do not deprive the American people of the opportunity to move beyond this.

    January 15, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. Tim

    The congressman's failure to use the proper word "imply" rather than "infer" suggests that he should return to grammar school and leave the political rhetoric to more qualified linguists.

    January 15, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. Annoyed

    Obama is still standing strong, he still has sensible supporters. All this twisting of words must be a political thing because more than half the stuff people are saying NEVER happen....

    January 15, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. Hillary is Just Like Bush

    Hillary is just like bush in so many ways.

    We need some one New any body but a Clinton or a bush or a look at like.
    Question for anyone

    Why would anybody vote for a Republicans after bush has Disgraced this party so bad?

    It seems to me that we would want to stop all hazing and bull _crap and stop looking at the party and just pick people.

    Another Question

    What real forgien poylics has bush before he got into office did he have?

    Very Little I Think

    January 15, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. Pedro-Koreatown

    Mrs. DEVIL Clinton can you please explain to the AMERICAN Public on how close of a relationshipy ou had with Mr. HILLRAISER Norman Y. Hsu?

    January 15, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. William Gainesville, FL

    As mentioned earlier, by another poster:

    I haven't seen any mention by the "best team in politics" about the lawsuit in Nevada concerning the "at-large" caucus sites. CNN, could you enlighten us?

    Apparently, months ago the DNC approved creation of these "at-large" caucus sites to enable shift-working members of the culinary union easier access to the caucus process. But, seems that since the union has endorsed Obama, (and it looks like trouble for Hillary) that the teacher's union has filed suit to "disenfranchise" the culinary workers. Four of the litigants bringing the suit forth were AT the proceedings where the logistics for the "at-large" sites were approved.

    Chicanery? I think so. Whether or not the good senator is directly involved or not remains to be seen, but why is it that questionable tactics always seem within her orbit?

    Have a good Tuesday!

    January 15, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. free voter

    re "race"
    Clinton and her cohorts are moving daily to a newer LOW.
    I did not like her before, but now i abhor her and her campaigning style.
    On with Obama!!

    January 15, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. Solana

    The bottom line is we need to stop focusing on such petty things (tiffs between Obama and Hilary, Britney Spears's break down, etc) and start focusing on the things that need changing (Economy, The environment, Troops, Healthcare, and the world). We are all human beings...black, white, red, tan, purple, blue...whatever. How long is this world we live in going to continue living with contention and strife? WAKE UP!!! Enough is enough!

    Give the people of America something to be proud of...a president that knows what is important and can start cleaning up the mess that Bush has made. We have had a president that has had nothing but his own agenda from jump...and we have all been suffering as a result.

    January 15, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. Virginia San Francisco voter

    Those individuals who are feeding into the media are the same ones voting???
    Hummm makes me wonder about our citizens. Folks the truth is no one is "stupid" just "ill advise" per Senator Obama's words (ill advise) yet Senator Obama feeds into it himself and yes, he did use the word "race" while Senator Hillary did not. Yes, it took a President with experience (Pres. Johnson) to sign it...folks he could have vetoed it instead knew what was right...needless to say it took several individuals including the supports of the movement as without that support none of it would have occurred. The current president continues to veto bills that would be right for our country.

    Let us get back on track and CELEBRATE Martin Luther Kings Jr. example: put away the "he said/she said" and gives us as the voters reasons with examples of what your going to do and how your going to pay for it as I have heard of alot of proposals though no one has mentioned how we are going to pay for it. Also no one has mention the issue of "higher unemployement for folks of color" vs anglos/white folks in almost all 50 states. Please do associate it to "illegal immigration" as that just a scape goat method.

    MLK spoke lets us listen to those wise words again. I pray one day that we will have a holiday for Pres. JFK as he was another great individual killed because he supported those less fortunate.

    January 15, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. Jen

    I guess Rangel didn't get Hillary's memo about the truce.

    It bothers me that it's the Hillary supporters who think Obama is the one playing the race card here. To me it's a sign of leadership that Obama's surrogates aren't stirring this pot.

    All of the "stupid" comments have come from Hillary's people: cocaine, cocaine, shuck and jive, LBJ =civil rights, fairy tale, not to mention the knowing distortions of Obama's words and record.

    Aren't you tired of this? Don't we deserve better? Don't fall for the person who can give you the better one-liners. Vote for the smartest, most honest person in this race.

    Obama 08!

    January 15, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. William

    Does it matter to anyone that LBJ was pressured in to signing?

    January 15, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. Benhan Tafla

    I dont understand you people,

    when has race EVER become an issue until NOW? and its kinda funny that Hillary would bring it up right before the primaries. Kinda funny huh how she won over New Hampshire when everyone was distracted by her "crocodile tears" (which was completely fake because not one tear dropped out of her eye) and now she is desperate and wants to win the BLACK vote...sends guys like this on top of her statements that Obama twisted her words? put 2 n 2 together people... shes just one powerhungry woman who wants to slide to the white house..... WAKE UP EVERYONE WHAT WE NEED IS CHANGE NOT POLITICS.... which she is stirring up as usual.... and it makes OBAMA look even better. He has my vote!

    January 15, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. geoff

    This is the kind of crap I am tired of.

    The latest dust up involving the Clintons reminds me of the 90's; the division and absurd petty beltway politics that had nothing to do with serving Americans and everything to do with saving pride. I am frankly tired of this behavior. The worst offenders of this type of 'surrogate issued, campaign approved' attack politics are the Clintons. Based on their behavior, on Rangel's comments as a Clinton surrogate, and Bill's absurd 'insult and apology pony show' have convinced me that I can't take another Clinton in the White House. This country deserves better. I am ready to write these dynastic families into the pages of American history.

    I am voting for Obama or Edwards when the primary comes to my state. I am ready for a big change.

    January 15, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. julianbook

    You have to bear in mind that Rangel is just as senile as Hillary.

    January 15, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. carol

    Thank you. Also, Dan Abrams told the truth about the entire situation. He showed how the media put snippets out that were totally out of context. His own station people – Chuck Todd, Joe Scarbourgh, Chris Matthews, Andrea Mitchell started it on NH primary night. "The only way Hillary could have won was because once a person was behind the curtain they still couldn't vote for a black man." That was absurd and racist and the rest of the media have run with it. They should all be fired.

    Go Hillary! Your heart was and always in the right place.

    January 15, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. kj227

    Why hasn't my email been posted yet, while others who posted after me, have???
    What's going on CNN???

    January 15, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. john

    I'm an independent with conservative libertarian tendencies.

    Charlie Rangel wanted to reinstate the draft because he thinks the current method we use to maintain troop levels unfairly targets minorities and the poor. People with power and money don't have to put their health at risk defending the positions our elected officials place us in. Instead they stay home and whine or wave the flag while others spill their blood.

    If congress and the white house risk placing family members into a war they may choose to make different decisions.

    January 15, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  20. Obama Supporter!

    I dont understand you people,

    when has race EVER become an issue until NOW? and its kinda funny that Hillary would bring it up right before the primaries. Kinda funny huh how she won over New Hampshire when everyone was distracted by her "crocodile tears" (which was completely fake because not one tear dropped out of her eye) and now she is desperate and wants to win the BLACK vote...sends guys like this on top of her statements that Obama twisted her words? put 2 n 2 together people... shes just one powerhungry woman who wants to slide to the white house..... WAKE UP EVERYONE WHAT WE NEED IS CHANGE NOT POLITICS.... which she is stirring up as usual.... and it makes OBAMA look even better. He has my vote!

    The American people have lost faith in experience it hasn't worked and screwed us up even more. Obama hold hope and promise for America. Everyone vote Obama!

    January 15, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. Justice

    "A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand" – I wonder who the countless thousands of African slaves, who endured untold cruelty, would vote for if they could speak from their graves.

    Shame on those who forget.

    January 15, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  22. Shander

    Just wondering, when exactly did Obama say anything "attacking" Sen Clinton about this? What exactly did he say?

    January 15, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. Inquiring Mind

    it is the Clintons and there supporters that keep bringing up this race issue. Obama has answered the press' questions when asked what he thought about Clintons remarks and left it at that. The people that say her remarks were uncalled for were Black civil leaders in general no one that has campaign ties to Obama (from what i know) but supporters of Clinton have out right pointed there finger at Obama, blaming the remarks directly on him, calling him stupid, Wow that’s real diplomatic.

    January 15, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. Southern Gal

    Since I was only a couple of years old during the days of MLK and President Johnson, can someone please tell me if President Johnson was as vocal during civil rights movement as MLK, or if he was just the neccesary final step to get the work done?

    January 15, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. carol

    God have mercy. I thought it was over. Here comes Rangle with an attack?. Please this needs to stop.

    January 15, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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