February 19th, 2009
05:56 PM ET
9 years ago

Clyburn: Stimulus opponents are insulting African-Americans

Clyburn is the highest-ranking African-American in congress.

Clyburn is the highest-ranking African-American in congress.

(CNN) - Democratic Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina said Thursday that GOP governors who oppose the stimulus bill are giving African-Americans “a slap in the face.”

Clyburn has been sparring with his state’s governor, Republican Mark Sanford, who has been a leading voice of opposition to the stimulus package. But the highest-ranking African-American in Congress said his frustration with the bill’s opponents isn’t limited to Sanford.

“The governor of Louisiana expressed opposition,” Clyburn said of the bill at a roundtable in Columbia, according to WIS TV. “Has the highest African-American population in the country. Governor of Mississippi expressed opposition. The governor of Texas, and the governor of South Carolina.

“These four governors represent states that are in the black belt. I was insulted by that,” he said. “All of this was a slap in the face of African-Americans. It had nothing to do with Governor Sanford.”

A spokesman for Sanford, Joel Sawyer, accused Clyburn of playing the race card.

“Representative Clyburn is no stranger to playing the race card, because he has no defense for the runaway spending and the deficits contained in this so-called stimulus bill that will hurt our economy,” he said. “Spending money at the federal level that we do not have represents a future tax increase on all South Carolinians, regardless of their color - and in the process of doing so, he's ripping off everyone he claims to represent.”

Sanford indicated Thursday he was leaning towards taking the federal money despite his opposition to the bill.

Filed under: James Clyburn • Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Robert

    You know, I am far left liberal. I voted for Obama enthusiatically (but only supported him after Kucinich dropped out). I fully support the stimulus package the President sought and signed into law.

    BUT, I cringe when I read of a black congressman accusing these Republican governors of racism because of their political posturing on the stimulus money.

    I agree with them it has nothing whatsoever to do with racism, and I would hope black leaders would distance themselves from this unsupportable accusation.

    Their opposition to it is rooted in a political philosophy that has failed and harmed this country. Their opposition to it is political posturing so they can say, 'see, told you so..' because they are convinced the stimulus package will fail. They want to be able to stand up and say they stood against it and got it right. Problem is, they are getting it wrong, and if they reject the money based on their ideology, it will only hurt the businesses and people of their states, both white and black.

    Since it will hurt white people too, would that make it racist?

    I agree with other posters.... stop playing the race card on every issue that comes up. There are other, far more legitimate and truthful ways to fight these guys...

    February 19, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  2. TjayeInLA

    I am a proud Black woman and I have to stand up and say RACE CARD.

    Seriously....I don't even get how the heck he is connecting that dot. Just the one...only one dot there.

    February 19, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  3. Rob

    "Taking the money in spite of his opposition"


    Even though you don't support a government policy, you can take the benefits from it. Why? Because you are still liable to PAY for it.

    I think Social Security is bad public policy for the nation as a whole. But as long as I am forced to pay into it, I want my checks when I retire.

    February 19, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  4. P. Mathew

    The only people insulting African-Americans are the people that use the race card for every single situation that they disagree with.

    February 19, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  5. peggyledbetter

    These Governors mentioned are straight up idiots....Republicans at there best!!! And you want to know why our economy is going down the tube???? Again, Vote no more Republicans!!!!!

    February 19, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  6. Change Has Come

    I don't know that this is outright racism, but it definatley feels like place-ism. Keep money out of the hands of the have nots and the GOP is happy. The devil is in the details here because the less you help the have nots the more minorites you affect- – without being outright blaitanly racist

    February 19, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  7. Joe - Chicago

    As much as I love to slam republicans, I'm not getting much of a race vibe here.

    February 19, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  8. Jayson

    I think he forgets the race card has expired

    February 19, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  9. Brian

    Cowards!!! Shame on them for opposing the ridiculous stimulous bill, and yes in case it has not been mentioned already they maybe posturing for a run at the White House.

    February 19, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  10. Sheila

    No Blacks dont wont a handout. We want to work like everyone else in America and yeah if Blacks wasnt the last one hired and the first one fired and if we were not oppressed for all these year then maybe would have less crime

    February 19, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  11. SEL

    I'm a dem. I support the stimulus plan. And I think this man is OUT of control.

    February 19, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  12. TjayeInLA

    Matthew, Detroit....honey, please get real. He is playing the race card here, but racism wasn't invented by Black folks. Think of how stupid you sound to suggest that the people being discriminated against created the game to be against them. Racism may be polarized by some elders who are still hypersensitive because of all they were put through by people like you (let's be honest...you are clearly one of the few racists left ;))...but, that doesn't mean it's imaginary anymore than most whites NOT being racist means that it's over and done.

    The simple fact that you try to deny it shows you are guilty. Just like how Ike would beat Tina and say he didn't beat her, she just acted out because she wanted people to feel sorry for her.

    February 19, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  13. Tom. Texas

    Why everything has to be based on race?Does an African American in the white house means that everything has to be accepted without question? Does it mean that if anyone oppose the idea of present administration means opposing african american race? Its sad.

    February 19, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  14. Texas Teacher




    February 19, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. Scott, Tucson

    The BLACK BELT?? That's a new one, of course leave it to a democrat to bring up race when all he really wants is a slice of that stimulus pie for himself.

    February 19, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  16. Obama 2.0

    Stimulus opponents don't know jack about economics.

    February 19, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  17. Candia

    I think the governors are wrong-headed should they refuse the stimulus which is so sorely needed. BUT: Clyburn is WRONG. PERIOD. And he does himself and the black community NO service to infer – with no evidence whatsoever – that the governors' refusal was racially motivated. It's bad enough that there still exists REAL racial discrimination. You just make it worse if you accuse someone of being racist just because he opposes you. It is silly, and may do real harm (remember the boy who cried "wolf!" once too often?) – the peril is that people just become so "desensitised" that they can't see it when it really happens (which is difficult enough because so much of it is covered/buried/subtle/unconscious these days).

    February 19, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  18. Ernie in LA

    You old man, You should be used to insults by now. Deal with it. It is not a perfect world. I am insulted everytime someone tries to push their race down my throat. If I don't like you, for whatever reason, that is my business and priviledge.

    February 19, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  19. Philip

    I think that what the congressman is saying is that many of these Southern States have large numbers of African Americans who alos are suffering 18-20% unemployment rates. To appose theStimulus Bill is insulting. Also, this is sending a very strong political message to to the political center to get ready to change the SOUTH!

    We are tired of the politicsof devision.

    February 19, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  20. Jamerson

    As an African American, it sickens me to hear him speak. I have never used my race as any gain–hell, I went to college on my merit. And I don't like seeing career politicians use race to make political statements. I am so sick of these cheap shots.

    I am so glad I live just far enough outside his district, because I would never vote for him. Clyburn: Get a back bone and stop blaming social ills on the public and the opposition. It makes bad, poor execution of politics.

    People, not limited to ethnic groups, have to seriously take responsibility for their own issues and problems. People do more for themselves by handling their problems than depending on someone else. Politicians–get with it. Please stop the blame game because it's extremely old and we, the people, want something new and sensible.

    February 19, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  21. 2young2vote-OR

    I don't really think opposing the bill is racist, but accepting money that you fought against spending is just wrong

    February 19, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  22. Louis

    ***Our leaders of all different races are incompetent***

    February 19, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  23. VJM

    But they're are going to take the money anyway. If they oppose the stimulus so much, why are they going to take the money??? They're just mad because this round of monies will be monitored and they won't be able to steal some it. That's the truth behind all this opposition.

    February 19, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  24. A tired American

    'Spending money at the federal level that we do not have represents a future tax increase........'
    I know it has been said before, and time after time, but what are Republicans thinking? What do they call what happened under the Bush administration with approval of a Republican-controlled Congress, to the tune $6 trillion dollars!!!
    I suspect that what Rep. Clyburn is saying is that most of the people of SC who will benefit from the stimulus package are poor and/or minorities. This is probably a true statement.

    February 19, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  25. Tate

    Hey blacks how about fixing the 85% single familys and the criminals it produces. This guy should be out of office. What a racist.

    February 19, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
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