October 12th, 2007
10:30 AM ET
15 years ago

Rep. Lewis endorses Clinton

Lewis endorsed Clinton Friday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, a leading civil rights figure in Congress, endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination Friday.

"I have looked at all the candidates, and I believe that Hillary Clinton is the best prepared to lead this country at a time when we are in desperate need of strong leadership," Lewis said in a statement posted on the Clinton campaign's Web site. "She will restore a greater sense of community in America, and reclaim our standing in the world."

Lewis plans to appear with Clinton at an event at noon in Atlanta.

The endorsement could help Clinton, the front-runner, increase support in the African-American community. Sen. Barack Obama, her competitor who is himself African-American, has fought for the support of black voters.

Lewis appeared with both Clinton and Obama during appearances in March marking the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the famed March for voting rights in Selma, Alabama that helped lead to passage of the Voting Rights Act.

"Barack Obama has great admiration for John Lewis and understands his long relationship with Bill Clinton," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said Friday.

The Obama campaign also emphasized that it has increased its presence in Georgia in recent weeks. And Burton noted that Obama has the support of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a leading civil rights figure.

However, in a recent conversation with the Los Angeles Times editorial board, Jackson was quoted as saying, "I've said I would vote for Barack because he's my neighbor. I have very strong feelings for Hillary because we've worked together 30 years. I'm not really campaigning for anybody."

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- CNN's Steve Brusk, Lauren Kornreich, and Sasha Johnson contributed to this report

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California

    Congressman Lewis is a great man who has just made a great mistake. I assume this endorsement is because of his friendship to Mr. Clinton. When I met Congressman Lewis in Atlanta a few years ago, I came away with an abiding respect for him. Reading about his Nashville and Selma heroics is truly inspiring. Unfortunately, the "social change" model he helped bring to the civil rights movement is the antithesis of the Clintons' legacy - and the core of Obama's movement. I don't believe it will matter one way or the other, but apparently Congressman Lewis has finally forgotten.

    October 13, 2007 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  2. Anonymous

    this is another example of a black leader from the civil rights era jealous of obama... how dare obama challange the clintons.. its time to wake and get over the clinton love affair within black america they didnt do nothing for us... obama 08

    October 13, 2007 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  3. Robert, West Hollywood CA

    The whole rest of the world could call Al Gore the best man alive and the conservatives in this country would still not believe it. There is such a divide in this country, at the most basic levels of logic. I cannot, no matter how hard I try, see how conservatives can be so cold, clueless and have no insight at all. The same can probably be said about the coservatives looking at liberals in this country. Who is really the blind one? It's all relative. The ones with wealth and power yearn for the status-quo, whereas the ones without wish to change. This is not always the case, we have unpowerful people wishing to keep those in power powerful (hence where the Republican party recieves votes), and we have powerful people looking for change (where the people who want change find their leaders.) What baffles me, is how conservative Christians seem to ignore what they claim is the most powerful infulence in their lives, and disregard what is the best for the people. Let's face it, progressives do more for the average person and if you aren't one you are simply greedy.

    October 13, 2007 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  4. Paul, Pen Gap, VA

    I suspect Lewis was promised a night in the Lincoln Bedroom!

    October 13, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. Ailene Indianapolis, Indiana

    Obama has shown consistently that he is principled...willing to take a stand on issues even when majority of his party and/or race disagrees. Hillary has shown that she would do/say anything to achieve a position of power.

    October 13, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. lewis,ks,mo

    Who are those behind him? To me is like he has become white!

    October 13, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. Milly, Atlanta, GA

    Obama makes the tough decisions, consistently stands by them; opposed war, will negotiate with rogue nations to protect America, will take out bin Laden wherever he is endless

    HRC makes decision that will make HER LOOK Tough, regardless of the consequences.

    Tough choices for voters Huh!

    October 13, 2007 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  8. Paul, San Antonio, TX

    Could someone explain to me how Bill Clinton "put more blacks in jail than any other President"?

    Last time I checked, the folks who got put in prison were convicted by a jury of their peers for commiting a crime and were sentenced in accordance with the laws and statutes of their local community.

    I will concede the point that the sentences handed down are I feel, without having statistical facts to back this up, definitely leaning towards racist. More non-caucasian convicts (yes, it's more than JUST the black community who is getting shafted) seem to get heftier sentences than their white counterparts.

    That being said however, Hillary is NOT Bill. She has made that clear on a number of occasions, even punking him out during one of the debates (and getting a hearty laugh out of Chubby Chris, the mouthpiece moderator).

    The only thing crime and racism have in common is they are both completely retarded.

    October 13, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Maria, Houston

    Do your research: John Lewis thinks very highly of Obama. Obama's campaign was counting on him. Rep. Lewis agreed to endorse Hillary only AFTER Bill Clinton made a phone call to him.

    Yep. So much for the "Independent woman candidate" exploiting her husband's connections...

    October 13, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. Thomas NY

    James-Minn,Mn. I agree. Lewis endorsing Clinton will actually work in Obama's favor. Obama can stand on his own two-feet, he does not need John Lewis, Al Sharpton, Mfume or any other Clinton allies or flunkies for support, these politicians not leaders, do not speak for the entire Black community. Hillary is a robot who needs Democratic insiders and hacks to legitimize her candidacy. I wish Obama and Edwards the best.

    October 13, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. Jerry, Denver, CO

    I'm sure this guy was extraordinary back in the day, but he is a mis-informed idiot now. Anyone who thinks Hillary would be a better President than Obama is not doing their friggin' homework. So this guy is buddies with good ole Billy Clint? So what? Open up your eyes people, she's wishy-washy, and she'll say whatever she thinks will get her elected. If Clinton becomes President than you all better kiss your young sons goodbye, because war with Iran will be inevitable(which would undoubtedly require a military draft). Obama is our only hope for real change, WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!

    October 13, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    It's a complement to Obama Campaign that the Media/opponents has to try Sooooo Hardddd.. to find anything or goes as far as to event some scenario to be able to say anything bad about Obama. They basically have to knowingly setup a loaded debate question. That Hillary has been briefed on or uses a US Senator to jockey bill-voting times around. Obama will have to either except the VP position and do it quietly or they will pick Edwards (as I suspect they either have or will offer to Obama before the Primary) or Obama will have to reject their offer and continue to go for the Presidency 2008. If he chooses the latter, He must do it like it is Chicago and Kick a.. and take names.. Obama would be effectively be running against Bill Clinton. So Obama you are NOW running against Bill Clinton. Formulate how to beat Bill Clinton and you win. P.S. Some of this seems to be already happening.

    October 13, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Phyllis, Dallas, TX

    Monte.....give me a break.

    Please tell how HRC understands the needs of poor blacks? That statement is totally ridiculous. The only think HRC understands is that as along as black folks blindly believe that Bill Clinton was the first black president and she pulls him along on the compaign trail with her....oh and use her so-called black voice, she will get a large amount of the black vote. Black people ought to be shamed by statements like yours.

    Obama.....who looks black to me.....does not understand the needs of poor blacks is your belief. Where does that belief come from? Trust me, although he may have done well for himself and his family, when he gets up in the morning and look in the mirror, he's BLACK. He does not have to qualify that with anything or anyone. Your statement sounds more like most of us (yes, I said US, I am and Black woman.) We have a problem when one of us get a nickle more than the other. I live in the south and don't need anyone to tell me to look at HRC and listen to her pandering or none answers to question that she will save the black folk.

    Obama is smart, gifted and has lived a life that has brought him before many different cultures. He has a real plan for America and has great ideas. He understands that CHANGE is needed badly due to the idiots we've had governing this country.

    HRC thinks that change is bringing the same thing back to th white house....and some fools fall for that. She will continue Bush's policies and give us the same old thing.

    Oh, and hold her state of the union address in her very best "black accent" she can muster.

    October 13, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  14. anon, new york, NY

    Even the black leaders don’t like Borat Hussein Obama
    Jessee Jackson said Obama acted like a white guy.
    In addition the Rev. Al Sharpton launched a "big-time" effort to tear down Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as a candidate for president. He's saying that Obama never did anything for the community, never worked with anybody from the community, that nobody knows the people around him, that he's a candidate driven by white leadership.

    October 15, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  15. Edward, TX

    The fact that Jesse Jackson said Sen. Obama acts like a white makes him lose the little bit of credibility he had in my eyes. I grew being asked why do I talk white, and had my blackness questioned. That is an ignorant comment by Jackson, and anyone else who agrees with it is just as ignorant.

    These old-school leaders need to step it up. Being intelligent and not giving a pat on the back to much of the ignorance affecting the black community is not acting white.

    October 15, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  16. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Excellent posting, Edward from Texas.

    Acting intelligent, mature and in complete sentences isn't acting white, it is acting like an educated person who paid attention in school, no matter ones color.

    October 15, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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