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. JACK, NY, NY

    People who think Obama never brought up the race should have listen to what Michelle Obama was mouthnh around on balck event. it was just shameful to hear her speak. Clintons are not racists and that is fact. Obama need to win SOuth carolina so his camp felt the need to fuel it. So they did. That is exactly what Obama's wife did that evening. Why didn't media put light on that. Please give me a break. Obama is no angel he is just like everyone else.

    January 15, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. SGC

    reply to Mia;

    Not sure why your getting we are all racist from this blog....I think its great that right now we have these two top dem. candidiates, either will make good presidents, I however am strongly for Senator Obama because I think he has a better chance at getting elected and once elected I think his administration will have a better chance at getting both parties to come together for true change....I think that the is the only way to get America back on track.

    January 15, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. JACK, NY, NY

    To all those obama supporters who say that obama never brought in race into this.

    WHAT WAS OPRAH DOING IN THIS PICTURE THEN?

    YOU HAVE VERY SELECTIVE MEMORY. JUST GO BACK AND LOOK AT WHAT SHE SAID DAY ONE. IT IS PLAIN EMBRASSING.

    January 15, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. Travis Sugarland, Texas

    The debate is senseless. Black people will vote for Hillarea no matter what is said or done. Many black people are upset that Obama even has the nerve to look her in her eyes. I won't even go into the outrage of black America after she manufactured a few tears.

    Rangel and John Lewis are correct, that uppity Obama doesn't know his place. This is not the first time we have experienced these issues. For example, Booker T. Washington felt we should be patient and stay on the farm. W.E.B. Dubois felt otherwise. Black folks were split.....

    It was brave of Rangel, Johnson, and Lewis to protect their master's wife from the mean old public. They are courageous enough to keep the natives in line. Black folk will dance to the sound of Bill's sax and behave in the proper fashion. After all, Hillary has promised free healthcare, more entitlements, and to love us. What more should we want?

    January 15, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    I am neither black nor white. I am a foreigner that is an American now and I take great interest in how things are done here. I am quite surprised that it took as long as it did for race to become an issue. I have heard what Hillary said multiple times and firmly believe that is ihas been completely distorted and taken out of context. I am a democrat and want to vote for Hillary. I will never vote for a republican, not going to happen. I hate to say I may not vote at all if Hillary does not get the nomination.

    I also have to admit based on my observations after making my home in this great country that is does not take anything to make something an issue about race. There are so many people walking around with such big ( not chips) but rocks and boulders on their shoulders about black people not being treated right it would be very funny were it not so irritating. Lot of these people were not even born at that time and live vicariously via the horror stories told to them by their families.

    January 15, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. open eyes

    it is proven: use of drugs alters the brain, so does alcohol.
    I want to know the truth: he admitted to do drugs, he wrote about in book.....so why it is getting twisted? To what extent did he do drugs – and which ones?

    Do we really want a president who did drugs, who attack a woman who is running for president?

    We need to know much more about him – no words about his mother.
    Those attacks on Hillary – this is not classy, he constantly pushes her to defend herself – I can imagine how it would be if he would be a president – no white woman would be respected, no woman at all possibly...I just plain do not like this, i fear him.
    There is no democracy under fear.

    What Hillary says has solid background, what he says gets changed many times -is this the "change"?

    just need to know.

    January 15, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Erick

    What is this idiot talking about? The Clinton camp need to apologies to Obama and move on really!

    January 15, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. Ann

    At the time that MLK and Lyndon Johnson were working on getting the civil rights bill enacted, Barry Goldwater was campaigning against the desegregation bill. Guess who was supporting Barry Goldwater at that time. None other than "Goldwater Girl" Hillary Rodham-Clinton, that is who. That means that she was actually working to elect a Republican Right winger who wanted to block the civil rights bill. So, if you want someone who was on the wrong side of civil rights history, she is Your Goldwater Girl. You go Goldwater Girl. You can fool some of the people all

    January 15, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. shyem

    I am afraid that if democrate didn't selected a better presidential candidate, then republican will rule for at least another four more years. So it is high time to resolve all the problems and support a right candidate. I believe Hillary is smart, inteligent, and knows what it takes to be a President of United States and also knows how to keep the country united.

    Ladies, help Hillary to be President ....do not you think it is high time that US should have a female President?

    January 15, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. Brian,california

    As a life-long democrat, I'm so disappointed in the Clintons and their tactics against Obama. But then who else is bringing Obama down? His own black people like Bob Johnson – who I've lost all respect and Charles Rangel – who I never had any respect for in the first place. Rangel calling Obama's comment stupid is like – a dog barking at it's own shadow. Whatever the case is, the Black Leadership will change and Rangel, Dinkins, Sharpton and all the sellouts will be shafted for a new Black leadership with some vision. For the first time, I'll vote Republican if Obama doesn't win the nomination. The black man is always brought down by his own people and here's a typical example of it.

    January 15, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. Ben JI

    What if this guy is making it look like he is against Obama, but in fact he wants voters (whites) to believe that Obama is not welcome among African-Americans. How you think whites voters will vote if the believe him? Now, who is really stupid? Rangel, Obama, the Clintons?

    Toronto, Canada

    January 15, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. in TX

    I thought I would never say this, but after this incident I am now beginning to believe every bad thing my friends have told me about the DNC over the past 30 years is absolutely true. Thanks HRC machine for making me embarrased of my party's campaign tactics for the first time ever.

    January 15, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. dave

    Down on the Clinton plantation, Rangel works in the house. We need new leaders with better vision!

    January 15, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Dan, NJ

    Are people taking notice of how many Dems are saying they will look outside the party if Hill is nominated? Where is the reporting on that? Where is the polling on that?

    If the most important thing to Dems is taking back the White House, the significant number of Dems declaring their potential opposition to HRC as the nominee is a very significant turn of events.

    January 15, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. frank5057

    when will this be over

    January 15, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. southern boy

    All this political bickering and spin in the democratic party lately, derives from Obama's ability to unite the masses from all political affiliations and show the nation that he has the ability to become the first black nominee of the democratic party, and also the ability to be elected President.
    I am a fan of Hillary, but lately both Bill and their cronies make me sick to the stomach with the rethric and spin and attack on Obama. Unless this nonsense is put to rest once and for all we will see the nominee for the Republican party as the next president of the great USA. For the sake of the Nation discuss the topics that is of importance to the nation, like healthcare ,the economy, rising fuel cost ,jobs, security,lets see some beef in this campaign. Give us the American people something to look forward to when we cast our votes. Please stop the slandering of one another and pay attention to the message of each candidate, vote your conscience.

    January 15, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. Ken, Suitland MD

    Looks like the CNN censor is trying to play politically correct again for the under-intelligent. So let me try again.

    Boy there are forests of rubbish being dumped on this thread, mostly by the supporters of the democratic candidates. But you repub-bots who posted here really do stick out like baboon rears in the canopy.

    For all you democrats and so-called independents who hate Hillary or Bill for what ever irrational reasons you have, or for those who have shrilly belittled Obama for no factual or logical reason, and especially for those who have indicated they are prepared not to vote, or vote republican if your candidate doesn't win the primary: please take your ignorance, stupidity, and dogmatic views over to the party that embraces these characteristics, and there you can have fun debating who is the better christian to sacrifice your children in the next quasi-religious crusade for nation-building; who is the better purposefully ignorant anti-science wingnut that will see to it that the oceans rise the most while leaving your progeny little natural legacy; who can cut taxes the most for the wealthiest and sell the most national debt to our foreign competitors; who can most quickly drive our economic system backwards to the late 1800s so that your children's work has the greatest benefit for the wealthiest few; who can game the illegal alien issue the most to simultaneously benefit employers with low wage workers while stoking racist fires amongst the ignorant; who can sacrifice more of your civil rights all in the name of keeping you "FREE"; who can grow the Federal gov't the most while telling you they are for small gov't; who can take the least amount of responsibility for the negative outcomes of their own policies by blaming Bill Clinton's presidency; ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Campaigns are tough, candidate vie for the vote, but those of you who cannot see the major differences between the parties, after all that has gone on over the last 7 years, deserve what you get ….. Bush III. Just stunningly STUPID!

    January 15, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. Bruce Taylor

    The saddest thing of all in this campaign is the level to which the Clintons will stoop,or crawl rather, to attain the African-Amerian vote and also the White House. The pandering by them and their minions is truly revelatory. Why is the public embracing this? They make George Bush and Karl Rove look like choirboys. The current Democratic Party is certainly not the party Robert Kennedy stood for or anyone else who had a dream,including Martin Luther King,Jr.

    January 15, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. joy

    VREY GOOD COMMENTS. OBAMA WANT TO PLAY GOOD COP BAD COP. HE WANT TO BE BLACK WHEN IT SUIT HIM AND PLAY WHITE WHEN HE WANT TO. OBAMA NEEDS TO TAKE A FIRM STAND ABOUT HIS RACE AND NOT PLAY THE FIELD TO WIN. I STILL DONT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HIM AND HOW CAN L VOTE FOR A PRESIDENT THAT I DONT EVEN KNOW? TALK IS CHEAP AND SORRY I WONT WASTE MY VOTE, OBAMA HAS TO EARN IT AND IN MY BOOKS, ALL THE LONG TALK HE IS GIVING BORES ME AND IT IS MAKING ME LOOSE MORE AND MORE RESPECT FOR HIM.
    I DONT CARE FOR HILARY EITHER, BUT SHE IS NOT PLAYING GOOD COP, BAD COP. I KNEW THE RACE THING WAS GOING TO COME INTO THIS AFTER OBAMA LOST IN NH. INSTEAD OF HIM TO RESPOND THEN WHEN HE THOUGHT HE WAS WINNING, HE WAS BUSY SAYING WHEN THE DUMP TRUCK COMES, IT SAY BEEP, BEEP, UNTIL THE CLINTONS UNLEASHED ON HIM AND WON NH. NOW HE WANT TO PLAY THE RACE CARD. GUESS THE JOKE IS NOW ON HIM AND YES THE DUMP TRUCK CAME AND DID A BEEP BEEP ON HIM.

    January 15, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. what is happening to people

    what is happening to people in this country?
    All this stirred up racism and reverse racism. This is not good a tall.
    People are equal, should be equal. These comments about African Americans are getting too old, and scary. In this country are all the races, religions. Not only africans, not only asian, not only american indians, not only indians, not only hispanics, not only europeans.......... why people cannot live in harmony, tolerance? We are inhabitants of this planet. It is the diversity which is nice. Why to hate someone because she/he is white, yellow, or black or...?

    What I do not like is lack of tolerance, lack of respect, lack of intelligence, but still I do understand that some people are different. Everyone has something good, and something not that great, it depends how much of each is in one person.

    If there is supposed to be change these issues should not even come up. This country suffers – war, economy, unemployment, health insurance, education, etc etc. The race should not be issue now.
    We need strong leader = strong means smart, fair, intelligent, kind and tough when needed, not using races and masses to get what he selfishly wants. Who cares if the president is black, mixed, white? I do not, I want someone with wisdom, experience, tolerance.

    yes Hillary!

    January 15, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  21. Sasha

    Obama's not the racist. No one has played the race card more than the 43 White men elected president by mostly White people ... supported by people of color who have always had to vote for the lesser of the two White evils. .

    This started with Hilary stating that LBJ was more important to the Civil Rights Movement than MLK. Then, Hillary back tracked and tried to reinvent the truth in her original misrepresentation.

    January 15, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  22. Concerned American

    To: David, Gilbert Arizona

    Thank you. Someone else who knows his history. I wish other people had paid attention to their history lessons in High School.

    January 15, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. John Q. Public

    The highest ranking Black person under Bill Clinton was his secretary. Bush put 2 on his cabinet.

    January 15, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. Gina Gregory

    This country is NOT ready for a black OR female president, BOTH of whom are racist: Obama attends an exclusively BLACK church and Hillary is too emotional for her own good. Neither are capable of leading this country and are too padded with financial backing from very wrong sources! We are doomed if either of these incapable candidates are to become Commander in Chief. If there's to be a Democratic candidate let Edwards be the ONE. He doesn't accept "funny money" as these others do and he holds to his promises. GO EDWARDS!

    January 15, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. Charlene in VA

    To
    Travis Sugarland, Texas

    Don’t be so condescending… Just say what you really think!!!

    That what is why racism is not going anywhere with people who still think like that . Obama might be the anti Christ don’t forgot that one…I don’t trust him at all. Yes some of us black people think for them self

    January 15, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
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