February 20th, 2009
05:33 PM ET
5 years ago

Clyburn defends 'slap in the face' remark

Clyburn said Thursday that stimulus opponents were insulting black Americans.
Clyburn said Thursday that stimulus opponents were insulting black Americans.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democratic Rep. James Clyburn on Friday defended his remark that opponents of the stimulus bill are insulting African-Americans.

The House Majority Whip argued that many of the federal funds are specifically targeted towards low-income minority communities. He also accused GOP governors who have resisted the stimulus of hypocrisy.

“Let’s take, for instance, Louisiana,” the South Carolina Democrat told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. “Gov. [Bobby] Jindal has been in my office a number of times. He has called me a number of times asking for billions of dollars in assistance to stand communities back up as a result of hurricane Katrina and Rita.”

“Yet he says there is something wrong with this money for the stimulus that comes from the same pot, that he sees nothing wrong when he’s trying to stand back up after Katrina,” he said.

Asked about opposition from South Carolina’s governor Mark Sanford, Clyburn said that in his home state, a chunk of the stimulus funds would be directed to the poorest counties along the I-95 corridor, a poverty-stricken region of the state most famous for its dilapidated schools.

He said it would be an affront to black South Carolinians in those counties if Sanford turns down the money.

“That’s why I called this an insult,” Clyburn said. “That’s why I said it's slap in the face. Because a majority of the people in these counties are African-Americans.”

Clyburn did not say that Republicans who oppose the funds are racists.

“I have never used that word in my life and I won’t use it now,” he said.


Filed under: James Clyburn • Mark Sanford
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. from Canada....looking down.

    It is fascinating to sit and watch the American political machine of corruption and greed take turns. For the first time in our life time you have a president who actually comes from the people and cares about the people. The whole world can see that except a lot of the people in US. Who by the way were the same people who turned blind, deaf and dumb when Bush Jr. was looting the vault and giving money to his rich friends (ENRON, Haliburton, Black Water….) and here we are all of a sudden the republicans are fiscally conservative and care about the people. How do these people keep getting re-elected??? Michele Bachman of Minnesota (insane), Lindsay Graham of South Caroline (hypocrite), or John Boener (idiot). Where do the GOP find characters like that and how do these clowns keep getting re-elected?

    Lindsay Graham must be in a pretty republican state since he has been around since the Bill Clinton impeachment era. I remember him riding his high and mighty horse of “we are in search of the truth and the people deserve to know the truth” yeah right! The truth was that he (Bill) had sex with an intern. Not good but not against the law. Is he going to even bring up that kind of questions about the Bush/Cheney crimes, which were real crimes that has gotten people killed? NO! because the republicans are party first and people second representatives.

    American politics……..it is sad and amusing all at the same time.

    February 20, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  2. Conservative, FL

    Gabe Polson, in an above post is right in saying that what Clyburn said is in direct contradiction to what Obama says about the poor of this country. It seems to me that Obama was stating quite often during his campaign that the poorest in this country, those on welfare, are not made up of a majority of minorities. So, which is it guys? Are the majority of the poor minorities or not? If you listen to Clyburn the stimulus package sounds a lot like it was directed just at poor minorities and no one else. Sounds a lot like what Michelle Obama wanted in her thesis, where minorities who get ahead owe it to other minorities to give back to them. Why can't it just be that all people help all other people out, irregardless of race. Everyone should be giving back in the measure that they are able. If everyone actually did that, there wouldn't be so much poverty.

    February 20, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  3. Debby

    People I talk to are so sick of the race card being played over every issue.

    February 20, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. smiff

    Where is Al Sherpton while this guy is carrying on about black folk. He better not let ol Al know he thinks black folk are only in it for the free-bees. That would.......OMG........prove what everyone already knows. OOOPS MY BAD!!!!!!

    February 20, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  5. Andrew Stocks

    May I ask CNN and BBC to stop talking about how bad the economic downtourn is. I feel all your doing is talking people into it and it's not going to get better.

    Talk some positive things in life and watch the difference in markets and business.

    Thank you

    Andrew Stocks

    February 20, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  6. Dan J

    I didn't realize that funds were only being withheld from African Americans... oh, wait. It isn't.

    And to insinuate that Jindal is being racist is... well, ignorant. Indians/Middle Eastern Americans are by far the biggest victims of racism in this country. Look at the hate crime statistics.

    Clyburn needs to realize that when he spews ignorant comments like this, he invalidates everything else that comes out of his mouth.

    February 20, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  7. A tired American

    What do the governors of LA and SC hope to gain by saying they oppose receiving stimulus money for their states?
    Maybe they hope to become president and vice-president of the US, because if they refuse stimulus money and their states suffer for it, you can be sure that they will be looking for new jobs.

    February 20, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  8. Jean

    Never fails.

    The corrupt MSM is good at it too.

    February 20, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  9. Jean

    Barf, you make me sick

    February 20, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  10. Slider

    Don't worry, Clyburn.

    By the time Obama's done with us, we'll all be in the "black belt" by then.

    We're all ghetto now...

    February 20, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  11. sherry

    Clyburn a true man of character.

    February 20, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  12. Bipartisan

    I agree wih Clyburn that the Republican governors need to make up their minds. But as for this being racially motivated, that's just crazy. He needs to learn how to get his point across without using race.
    And before the idiots cry out that the governors should not be able to get the money, that would hurt the poor minorities in their states also. So I guess you are slapping African-Americans too.

    February 20, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  13. Matt

    So denying funding is a slap in the face to Blacks but not Whites or any other ethnic group? Did I miss something? Is this bill only for the benifit of Blacks? Since that is not the case then Clyburn is just another Black Racist this week trying to get some attention.

    February 20, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  14. dave

    I believe he's right. Why not take the money their people paid taxes too. I don't understand the GOP it seem to me that they want this government to fail. What was the election battle cry Country First why don't they live up to it.

    February 20, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  15. DJW

    @annie-palin 2012

    name calling that's great I see palin has not left t he building

    February 20, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  16. Cynthia

    Thank you Clyburn for calling out these so call governors, it is absolutely ridiculous for them to turn down money when it is so desperately needed in their states. HOPEFULLY THE VOTERS WILL REMEMBER THESE IDIOTS AT THE NEXT ELECTION!

    February 20, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  17. Aksarben

    Clyburn is the racist in this conversation. I don't understand how the democrats can continue to play the race card over and over and then act innocent. With Obama as President, they are clinging to anything they can, becase most Americans are not racist. African Americans who want to achieve more ... can ... they just have to work hard. Period. Get over it ... there are no more excuses.

    February 20, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. Proud NeoCon

    Somethings never change....

    They were all on Welfare and now they call it Stimulus

    Tell Barry to stop paying for abortions for Mexican prostitutes and give THAT money to the brothas and sistas

    February 20, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  19. independent

    He won't use that word, but it is there. The only time the GOP raises the government spending issue is when it is going to those who are not well off.

    February 20, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  20. janelle

    Yet again it's alot of people not knowing what they are talking about. Gov. Jindal isn't being hypocritical, he has been openly critical of the provisions and stipulations of accepting the stimulus money. Try reading the stimulus bill. There are many provisions requiring states to come up with matching funds. That is what Jindal is objecting too. He is correct when he says his state would be better off trying to hold tight and get through these times than to accept the money and spend many more years in even worse shape than they are now trying to pay off the states share of the burden.

    February 20, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  21. ree

    Only Africian Americans are hurting? What about white people, spanish people, all Americans. Everyone is hurting.

    I for one am tired of this race thing. They keep up with race and they will be out of office next time around. Ever since Obama was running and then elected, it seems everything is about race. Lets stop this with black and white, Democrat and Republicans. I thought we were all Americans. We have to stand together to get through the hard times ahead.

    February 20, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  22. Anna, ATL

    I still think Clyburn's comment is way out of line, and casts a negative light on the purpose of the stimulus bill; hence offering opponents of the package fuel for their criticism.

    No one is promised anything in this package, or promised it will work.
    It is simply designed to create some opportunities (albeit temporary}to get people working and active again...earning and spending the way we should be.

    I wonder if the good Congressman even read the bill.

    February 20, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  23. stillsupportspresident

    White people....if you want to stop being accused of being racist, stop using the phrase "race card." Prejudice is not a game and is not analogous to a game. You want us to get over race yet you support the NY Post cartoon. The easiest way to end Black thought on racism is to stop being racist. When we don't have to see that mess in the paper, deal with prejudice from banks, HR departments, policemen, co-workers and the media then their will be no "cards." to play.

    February 20, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  24. edgar

    I live in Texas an have called my state Representative and told them
    I do not want them to expand government programs with Federal
    funds (there are strings attached ). These programs will NEVER go away, so I as a tax payer will have my taxes raised to support them for now until the end of TIME.
    I m tried of the Federal government mandating programs to the states
    that are NOT FUNDED. Before you jump on the band wagon and make statements you have NO CLUE about get informed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I do not want the state of Texas to become another bankrupt state
    like California.
    Clyburn is a racists, he uses the color of his skin to make statements
    about people he does not even know. Sir you make me sick.

    February 20, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. Penn Voter

    Oh yes Clyburn, you are absolutely right, we that object to the wasteful spending that we see happening in congress are simply objecting to slap you in the face. That's right, it has nothing to do with the fact that we believe that our nation and it's government should manage its debt and not move down a path that will result in a huge unmanageable deficit, a nationalized banking system and the basis of a socialist welfare state.

    Clyburn, you are full of crap and it is you and your actions that are a slap in the face of African Americans and all Americans.

    February 20, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
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