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. No More Clintons

    CNN: Why have you not posted any headlines of all the former John Edwards supporters that are now backing Obama???

    Is it because you dont want to hurt the feelings of all the Clintonistas?

    OBAMA: THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!!!!!!!

    April 25, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. proud army and navy mom

    give it up congressman, bill and hill have wrote the black community off since S. carolina. they are after the redneck, good ole boys now. u didn't know?

    April 25, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. judi in NJ

    I think this will be a desaster for Hillary if she wins the primary.
    She will never, and I mean never, win in a national election because
    the Clintons have abused the black comunity. The Clintons have a very big job of bridge building when this is over and it may be too little too late.

    April 25, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. E. L.

    Funny how the Clintons yell foul when their words are taken out of context then when Obama made the same mistake i.e. the bitter comments, they take it and try to damage obama calling him an elitist. It's a stretch to take you words out of context and call you a racist Bill? Just like Hillary taking Obama's words and running around calling him Elitist trying to gain political points. Don't feel so good when they doing it to you huh? Hypocrites to the third power.

    April 25, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. Florida Girl

    It is unfortunate that Bill Clinton had to stir up in a negative way the worst thing that Americans have had to face, racism. Someone ran an old ad from way back where the white woman did not get the job and the black women stole the job. Now that is the type of rhetoric that Bill Clinton is sprewing from state to state and it is unneccessary. When I look at the national polls that CNN posts, I see that Obama is beating McCain and Hillary is not. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the Republicans are waiting on that old steal meat so that they can ravish it for dinner. In Obama they can only say what someone else has said about him. Wise up Dems! If you do not wise up then you will put McBush right back in the White House for 4 more years OBAMA 08

    April 25, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. DemDude

    Or is he acting bizarre like a fox......?

    Bill Clinton would walk around nude, covered in confectionary sugar if he thought it would get votes (sorry for the image.) And while he's played 'bad cop' to test out a few strategies for Hill, don't underestimate him.

    April 25, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Jean

    Did you not see Clinton's lip move...Of course he is lying

    April 25, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Sylvia

    It's about time somebody spoke up about this whole insanity. Bill Clinton was never for the black people and now we know he has taken them for a ride. There should be protest going on about him all over. If it was someone other than Bill Clinton, people would be jumping all over him.

    April 25, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. C. Hankins LV,NV

    Another Superdelegate!

    April 25, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. maya

    WHAT? You Mr Clyburn are the one who is bizarre (and inappropriate).

    How about sticking with facts (Clintons have done much for AA) instead of spreading ridiculous scandalous rumors (Hillary trying to make Obama unelectable so she can run in 2012). Something you supposedly "heard on the House Floor"

    Disgusting.

    Obama is such a whiner and has made himself unelectable all on his own.

    April 25, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. Jamie

    We all know that both Hillary and Bill are doing whatever possible to hurt Obama's chances for selfish reasons. Hillary claims the ONLY thing that matters is that the democrats win the general election, which is false. If that were true, she'd realize there is a much greater chance that Obama will be our delegate and she would stop tearing the party down. Her intentions are for her and Bill to get back into the white house at the expense of anything.

    Would the top democrats please intervene so we can make sure we win come November?

    April 25, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. J. McCaskill, MS

    I'm so sick of this. Clyburn needs to really get a life. Anybody who thinks Former President Clinton or Hillary Clinton are racists, are out in left field. He did more to lift the Black community than any President in the last 40 years. He is not called the first black President for nothing. This is a black citizen who supports Hillary Clinton and does not think Bill Clinton has been acting bizarre. Speak for yourself Clyburn.

    April 25, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. Fed up!

    I agree with Mr Clyburn. Bill made a comment that should not have been made. I feel it was to distract voters. I was a big fan of the Clintons until finding out the true Clintons through this campaign.
    I would'nt give Hillary a penny (donation). She is a very negative woman and can't balance a budget. I hate when people attack people and not discuss issues that people are concern with – apparently she love distraction also. Maybe Vice President, but not the President. That's Obama job!!! I do believe in change. Tell Bill to stop taking things so personally. Stop putting his foot in his mouth.
    ***
    By the way she did not win PA in double digits. Get it right folks – elementary math.

    April 25, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  14. Barbara in NC

    Even when caught on tape, Bill denies denies denies. He and his wife are a couple of liars that disgrace American's image all over the world. Other countries are watching. Don't let that man and his wife back in D.C. even as tourists !!!!!

    April 25, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. Kelvin Marshall

    I think it is so sad the way our former President has responded to the African American community. I get the feeling that he never really cared about the African American community. From here on, he will be seen in a different light by those who supported him so aggressively over the years.
    Same Same!!!!

    April 25, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. CHANGE

    The Clintons are ruthless. They are doing all possible to destroy Obama. No lie is beneath them. If Hillary can't have the Democratic nomination, nobody can.

    April 25, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  17. Robert Wooller

    Bill Clinton should keep out of this. He has had his chance to be president and now it is someone else's turn.

    Obama 08!!!

    April 25, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  18. Marcia

    I do not understand how people can ignore the fact that Bill Clinton disgraced his Presidency and the country with his affairs while President.
    Hillary seems to have turned a blind eye to the fact, which makes me wonder how far will she go to maintain the power she has as his wife.
    She and Bill continue to fabricate stories and degrade Obama and McCain, while touting the "holier-then-thou" attitude.
    Surely to put them back in the White House is a dishonor!!

    April 25, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  19. Jeff

    Well......it's true!! The Clintons will do anything, use anybody, any race, to further their own prosperity. People are used like "throw away" towels by the clintons. The real "them" is and has been out there, it's just taken a while for some people to realize it as they have been promised many things by the clintons.

    April 25, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  20. DaveNC

    Rep. Clyburn, please go ahead and endorse Senator Obama so we can put this behind us. Please!

    April 25, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  21. Mark

    Whoop de do!! You got your feelings hurt. Get over it. This is a race issue and everyone knows it. Face the facts

    April 25, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  22. Jeff Radun

    ANOTHER AFRICAN AMERICAN PLAYING THE RACE CARD. SUPPORT OBAMA LIKE 95% OF AFRICAN AMERICAN DO OR SHOW SOME BALLS AND SUPPRT HILLAY

    April 25, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  23. Rachel

    I feel bad for the Clintons. To paint someone as a racist is a horrible thing – no one deserves that, especially not Bill.

    April 25, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  24. sharrell, dc

    Thanks Mr. Clyburn, that needed to be said

    April 25, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  25. Jeff

    Its only Bizzare if you take the attacks on Obama personally. Too many people are trying to live vicariously through Obama's campaign, and as such are taking attacks against Obama as attacks against themselves.

    Thats what is emerging as the real problem with Obama. It is becoming/has become a cult of personality, Obama is seen as some sort of sacred prophet and deified being. His followers protect him as such, never questioning his policies or beliefs because to do so is heresay against the scripture of 'change'.

    And that frankly scares me.

    April 25, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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