(CNN) – The first leading black presidential candidate got a tough question last night about one of his biggest campaign trail foes: the ‘first black president.’
CNN’s Joe Johns asked Barack Obama whether he thought former President Bill Clinton was the nation’s ‘first black president,’ an observation famously coined by black Nobel laureate Toni Morrison.
“Bill Clinton did have an enormous affinity with the African-American community, and still does, and I think that’s well-earned,” said Obama, who has spent the past few days locked in a high-profile war of words with the former president, who has been stumping on behalf of his wife Hillary Clinton.
But he wasn’t quite ready to grant Clinton Morrison’s honorary title just yet. “I would have to investigate more Bill’s dancing abilities, you know, some of this other stuff before I accurately judged whether he was in fact a ‘brother,’” joked the Illinois senator.
Monday’s Democratic presidential debate was sponsored by CNN and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Roughly half the Democratic primary voters in this Southern state are black.
The Democratic presidential primary will be held this Saturday, January 26.