April 25th, 2008
03:52 PM ET
7 years ago

Clyburn: Bill Clinton's behavior 'bizarre'

 Clyburn has been critical of both Clintons.
Clyburn has been critical of both Clintons.

(CNN) – The most powerful African-American in Congress again scolded former President Bill Clinton for comments he made over the course of the Democratic presidential race.

In an interview with the New York Times late Thursday, House Majority Whip James Clyburn called the former president's conduct "bizarre," and said several of Clinton's actions had deeply upset many African-Americans.

Clyburn told the newspaper that many African-Americans believed the Clintons were trying to damage Obama to the point where he could not be elected. He also made similar comments in an interview with Reuters Thursday.

"There are African Americans who have reached the decision that the Clintons know that she can’t win this," he told Reuters. "But they’re hell-bound to make it impossible for Obama to win.”

Speaking with the New York Times, Clyburn said such actions could lead to a longtime division between the former president and his once most reliable constituency.

“When he was going through his impeachment problems, it was the black community that bellied up to the bar,” Clyburn said. “I think black folks feel strongly that this is a strange way for President Clinton to show his appreciation.”

Speaking to reporters Friday, Obama said he does not believe in "irreparable breaches. "

"I am a big believer in reconciliation and redemption," he said. "This has been a fierce contest. I am confident, come August there are going to be a whole bunch of people standing on the stage with a lot of balloons and confetti raining down on the Democratic nominee and people are going to be excited about taking on John McCain in November."

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Filed under: Bill Clinton • James Clyburn
soundoff (347 Responses)
  1. Norisha

    hey...Xanadude of Velen... you are a simple human being!!!!

    April 25, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. Andrew

    Clinton: it was the Obama campaign that "played the race card on me."

    Clinton later told a reporter he did not say the Obama campaign had played the race card.

    Unbelievable! Looks like neither Clinton has much of a problem telling outright, blatant, the-public-record-completely-contradicts-what-I-just-said lies. Let's put these people back in the White House!

    April 25, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. Greg

    Further proof that Clinton would have absolutely zero chance of defeating McCain in a general election.

    There is absolutely no way a Democrat could win a general election without the African American vote.

    If the Superdelegates were to overturn the Pledged Delegates, we could be in for an absolute nightmare situation.

    The Democratic party could be destroyed for years to come.

    April 25, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. Roger

    I suppose John King is a racist for describing the demographics of all the states everytime we have a primary. Bill Clinton isn't a racist and I'm offended by how someone like him could be accused of being a racist.

    April 25, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. CHICANO ART, ARIZONA

    The African Americans have already turned their backs on Clinton. They will be missed but the Clintons now have the support of an even larger minority Latinos, or Chicanos like myself. The African Americans are the ones who are making this racial that is why they vote over 90% for Obama despite the fact that he is less qualified to be president than Hillary.

    April 25, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. rrgg

    I guess this guy thinks the GOP will just play nice this fall? Clinton's remarks are the least of Obama's worries.

    April 25, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Larry in TX

    Bill said Obama used the race card on him. And, he said he didn't regret saying it. But, wagging his finger at a reporter, he said he never said it. We need proof of his truthfulness. Where's that blue dress?

    April 25, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. uc

    sender ; Xanadude of Velen is the most typical idiot ever noticed on earth. have you traced your origin and noticed how you generation came to essitance?

    Please stupid Xanadude of Velen, dont missunderstand what the good point responsible people are trying to figure out. You sound pure raciest even in blood

    April 25, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Billy From Fl

    These Obama supporters are nuts, can you imagine if Obama
    looses the nomination.

    Be Ready For Riots In The Streets.

    Clinton has surely mispoke, but these people are carrying this
    alittle too far.

    I certainly don't Clyburn critizing Rev. Wright.

    April 25, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Irving Rodriguez

    Rep. Clyburn, I understand your concern and strongly believe you are not playing the race card. However, you know Bill Clinton is not playing the race card, under his tour of duty as he appointed more blacks, hispanics, and women into his staff then any other President. Bill Clinton is just standing by his wife like any other spouse will do.
    Senator Clinton needs your vote and depending on the outcome in Indiana I'm sure you will make the right decision.

    Irving

    April 25, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. Hillary Clinton

    A vote for me is a vote for McCain!!!!!

    April 25, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. joy

    On the other hand, aren't African Americans grateful for the economic properity they had during the Bill Clinton years? Can't they show gratitude for that instead of twisting his words and actions to support Obama? It's not as if Hillary lags behind Obama in credentials to be President !

    April 25, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  13. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    "African Americans are the most racist group in America today" – wow, what rock have you been living under for the past few decades!

    That ignorant comment aside, Bill and Hillary clinton have only themselves to blame for the loss of the African American support that they have enjoyed for the past 20-30 years. While bill can attempt to claim that Barack played the race card, it was Bill and hillary's own uniformed comments that led to so many people, Black and White, being turned off and offended.

    April 25, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. JM

    In desparation people would do out-of-character things!

    April 25, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. MD

    Serves the Black community right for "going up to the bar" for a sleeze bucket called Bill Clinton.

    The Clintons only have alligiance to themselves. When are Americans going to learn this?

    April 25, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. Obama Supporter in Florissant, MO.

    Billary and her husband are portraying themself as desperate
    politicans. Their true colors are showing.

    April 25, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. CJ

    Clyburn's bizarre-look at him! ewwh!! scary looking!

    April 25, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. Garry

    It's obvious the Clinton's are losing & their starting to play the game to hurt the others campaign. Same ole' Bill...nothing ever changes....
    So be smart & vote Obama.

    April 25, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. milopat - Boston

    We all know that is what the Clintons are trying to do. They are trying every dirty tricks in the book to discredit OBAMA. I am so ashame of the behavior of the Clintons.

    April 25, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. Maggie

    I support Sen. Clinton, but I f I didn't know better I would swear Bill Clinton was on the Obama payroll. Bill really needs to have a "Honey Do, and A Honey Don't" List.

    April 25, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. Kat

    Many Americans of all hues think the former president is acting bizarre. I can't believe the lies and 'mispeaks' when there is always tape to prove the lie.

    April 25, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. JacknJill

    Clinton's will divide until they conquer the White House for the History books.
    Mark my word on it!
    You're watching it from the front row, people!

    April 25, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. Patrick Oliver

    Why is it racist for Bill Clinton to say "Well, Jesse Jackson won South Carolina", but not for John McCain to say, "Well, Pat Robertson won Iowa" (which is DID say when Huckabee won Iowan)? They were just pointing out that that particular state did not have a good track record of picking the nominee (which was true in both cases). And how is it NOT racist for 90+ percent African Americans to back Obama instead of Clinton because he's black, but it IS racist for people to back Clinton because she's white?? I'm a life-long Democrat and have voted for every Dem since McGovern, but I'm SO sick of the Obama campaign accusing every person who criticizes him (even if it's about his experience or lack of a record) as 'racist' that I will vote for McCain if Obama is the nominee.

    April 25, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. ITS NOT 3AM EVERYONE PLS WAKE UP!!!!

    THE CLINTONS ARE TRYING TO DAMAGE OBAMA'S IMAGE JUST BECAUSE THEY WANT TO WIN. THAT DOES NOT SHOW ANYTHING BUT DISTRUST.

    BILL, A WORD FOR YOU, WHEN YOU WENT THROUGH YOUR BAGGAGE, AMERICA MADE IT EASY FOR YOU. OBAMA HAS NOT BEEN NEAR ANYTHING YOU HAVE DONE. YOU CAN'T DAMAGE HIM

    RUN A RESPECTABLE CAMPAIGN IF YOU BELIEVE IN HONESTY!

    April 25, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. Rich

    There the Obamabots go again, playing the race card. They did this in South Carolina. President Clinton says that Obama's Iraq story is a fairytale and somehow that's a rascist comment. So, what do you do now that you get thumped in PA and need to win NC? Play that card again. Obama and his supporters should be ashamed of themselves.

    April 25, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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