April 25th, 2008
03:52 PM ET
6 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. joseph bizumo

    i"m writting to express my saddest feeling about the former president
    Bill Clinton "s behaviour that upsets even a lot of africans including
    Nelson Madela who publicly showed support during his impeachment
    believing that he is somebody who peaple of colour can trust.
    Bill has consistently being playing a racal card right from the begining
    in order to transmogrify Obama"s candidacy in the eyes of white voters.The congressman is obsolutely right as to his behaviour,shameful

    April 25, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. hope

    Look who is talking racism!!!
    Congressman Clyburn you are lost. Pres. Clinton have done so much for African American and now such back bitting is disgusting.
    Obama and his followers including Congressman Clyburn are one racial issues and playing on race card , public is not blind nor hard of hearing.
    When Sen. Obama used expression "typical white women" I was offended along with many American.
    Just count how many African American voted for white women(Hillary)
    and how many white people voted for black man (Obama) than judge aobout racism.Tis is not firs time Congressman Clyburn talking racism and I now have enough.All you playing on the race card shuold stop and play fair game.

    April 25, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. Chris - Moreno Valley, Ca

    In Bills own words “We were talking about South Carolina political history and this was used out of context and twisted for political purposes by the Obama campaign to try to breed resentment elsewhere,"

    If Bill doesn't want his words taken out context then why do the Billary team take Obama's out of context and twist them for political purposes

    April 25, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. Joseph Johnson

    It would be nice if other democrats would stop making Bill Clinton out to be a racist. Obama's people have made this race about race. It makes me upset with I hear these types of comments and make me want to vote republican in the fall.

    April 25, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. Paul

    I am sick to death of hearing abour race from the Obama people. The only rasist cries around here is from Obama,

    Enough from the media and this race issue, drop it and get back to the issues!

    April 25, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Marilyn Bryan

    It seems that every faction, be it the media, political party, or the
    candidates themselves interpret whatever is said in the way
    they wish to to take the most advantageous spin. Everyone is
    guilty. I have never needed a media person to tell me what I
    heard, read, or thought. Hopefully, there are enough people
    who can see, hear and think for themselves to make intelligent
    decisions on their own without the input of the biased of
    whatever sort. One person's "bizarre" may make perfect sense
    to another. The continual twisting of semantics is what is truly
    bizarre.

    April 25, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  7. Barb Canada

    Neutral = strongly critical? How?

    April 25, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. Burt

    ok lets be honest here, its all about race. if not OB wuld not be getting 90% of the black vote. How else could a person with little exp be the frontrunner for the bigest job in the world.

    April 25, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. Kim

    The Clintons are out-of-touch, greedy dinosaurs. Let us make way for a new generation of ideas and leadership.

    April 25, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. sasha kando

    It is distressing, to say the least, to see the ways the Clintons have gone. Any hope of a "legacy" has gone down into the gutter with them. A staunch democrat for decades, we have been disgusted by their tactics and Hillary is doing no favors to women by reinforcing the stereotype of a vindictive woman poisoning everything around her. Clintons are every bit as trashy as the stuff they are doing, and history will show that they have destroyed themselves as well as the party, for the sake of personal ambitions. We should fear for the chances of the democrats in November. By the way, she has also diminished the chances for any other women presidential candidate in the near future. But after all, if they were all to be like her, who needs a woman president???

    April 25, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. Carl, Atlanta

    Clyburn is right; Bill Clinton is behaving bizzarely, but it has nothing to do with black vs. White. The race card issue is a Clinton campaign strategy. They are trying to appeal to racists. A part of Bill Clinton's mind truly believes that HE, not Hillary is running for president. In many refrences to Hillary, he has answered with the pronouns "I" and "we", but not with "she." He's been called down several times for this by the party leadership, but he always reverts back. This should be a matter of grave concern for all Amerians. It indicates that Bill will be attempting to run Hillary's White House, should she be elected. She has shown that she has no control over him, so we must expect that he will attempt to execute the Offce of President himself, albeit in the background.

    April 25, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  12. get real

    Funny that the Clintons talk about the "fairy tales" of others when they themselves seem to prefer sci-fi, trying to use Jedi mind tricks on the voters by trying to convince them that they never said the things they did, and if they did, they were misquoted, they misspoke, or someone took it out of context. Or, as in Chelsea's case, it's not our business (what happened to that thick skin y'all said you needed?). I'm an older white female – supposedly Hil's key demographic – but as much as I'd love to see a woman in the White House, I would prefer to see ANY woman in the White House who isn't a sociopathic Clinton. Superdelegates, put this strident, lying harpie out of America's misery. Go Obama!

    April 25, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. LeeRoy, Nottingham (UK)

    In difficulties the Obama camp uses the racial card to obtain the vote of the blacks and later they say that it's the Clinton camp which uses this strategy. They are hypocritical in the camp Obama and I hope that Clinton will win in Indiana.

    April 25, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. Ohio Citizen

    I don't see how Clinton would be viable in 2012. If Obama doesn't win this year I would hope he would run again in 2012. The Clintons are yesterday's power couple. There time has past.

    April 25, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. Wynter (NH)

    Clyburn is the one acting bizarre! The comments about the Obama win in SC were correct, but not poltically correct. They pertained simply to demographics. Clyburn is the one getting his facts wrong and distorting the statements to give his buddy Obama some help.

    These Obama Surrogates need to stop making attacks "for" Obama and let him make these statements himself. But of course, if Obama didn't keep "asking" his surrogates to take the bullet for him he wouldn't be able to stay clean in this campaign.

    Simply saying,
    Wynter

    April 25, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. obsp

    I know Obama has had bad press the last couple of days for the first time in this campaign. So what happens, here comes the undeclared super delegate (yea right) to turn the attention away from him. I hope the media does not let him get away with this as he did in SC. He went the the NYT's then as he is doing now.

    April 25, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. Reid

    Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Florida were all won by Hillary because they have used the brown/black race card to win those states. They also used it to woo the poor uneducated white vote in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. you know they will use it AGAIN, to try and win Indiana. They are absolutely shameless!

    April 25, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. Kenneth M

    I like the use of the word Bizzar. Its not racist, but it is dismissive of Obamas (not the community) efforts. Hard to tell what Clinton is trying to do with these statements. They dont help the Dems, Hillary, or the voters.

    April 25, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  19. Rosa

    Both Clintons are proving they will do anything to get THAT WOMAN in office. I once backed them, but now I am appalled by the tactics they use. Hillary comes off as a shrill harpy and he is basically a handler. As far as Chelsea goes I wonder if she has any backbone. The Bosnia Story a misspeak? NO a LIE.

    April 25, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  20. Jose'

    Funny how the rest of the country is beginning to see the Clintons for what many of us have seen for 15 years.

    They will lie, cheat and steal to get into power.

    Sad part is, Obama is just as bad.

    April 25, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  21. @americans

    bizarre is an understatement!

    bill clinton is a clown!

    April 25, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. Bobbi

    While I agree with Clyburn, I am glad that the Clintons showed their true colors sooner than later. It's not about unifying the country and healing old wounds that warrant treatment; rather, for them, it's more important for them to regain control. I was one of the many African-Americans who supported them during the Clinton Administration and seriously debated my stance on this election regarding Hillary. It wasn't necessary for me that they pander to the Black community; I just wanted them to be fair and honest. Ethically-sound was too much to ask, I suppose. I am an unwavering supporter of Barack Obama.

    April 25, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  23. Don

    I wish I had the time to conduct a study of what these Democraps said about Bill during his Presidency. I recall it was the GOP that questioned his behavior at the time and even led an effort to impeach President Bizzaro . . . my, my, my how times have changed . . . NOT ! ! !

    April 25, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. unfinished1

    Clyburn is right on – The Clintons are users – when the masks come off they are very, very ugly and mean-spirited people.

    April 25, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. TOM W. in South Korea

    BILL AND BILLLARY ARE BOTH NOTHING BUT BOLD FACED LIARS. NEITHER ONE OF THEM NOW HOW TO TELL THE TRUTH. THEY BOTH SAY WHAT THEY THINK YOU WANT TO HEAR. MAYBE BILL IS TAKING SOME OF HIS BROTHER'S DRUGS TO MAKE HIM BIZARRE. BILLARY IS PROBABLY DOIN SOME ALSO, TO MAKE HERSELF THINK SHE IS GOING TO WIN. GET A LIFE, AND WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFE, IF THE COKE HASN'T EATEN AWAY ALL OF YOUR SENSES.

    April 25, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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