January 15th, 2008
01:20 PM ET
15 years ago

Major Clinton supporter calls Obama remark 'absolutely stupid'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/14/art.rangel.gi.jpg caption=" Rangel had some tough words for Obama Monday."](CNN) - As both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tried to lower the tension after days of charged rhetoric over race, a congressional supporter of Clinton's presidential bid called the Illinois senator's remarks attacking her over recent comments about President Lyndon Johnson and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “absolutely stupid.”

"How race got into this thing is because Obama said ‘race,’” New York Rep. Charlie Rangel, one of the highest-ranking African-Americans in Congress, said in an interview on NY1.

“But there is nothing that Hillary Clinton has said that baffles me. I would challenge anybody to belittle the contribution that Dr. King has made to the world, to our country, to civil rights, and the Voting Rights Act,” said Rangel. “But for him to suggest that Dr. King could have signed that act is absolutely stupid. It's absolutely dumb to infer that Doctor King, alone, passed the legislation and signed it into law."

Rangel’s remarks came in response to Sunday comments from Obama, who told an audience at a Nevada campaign event: "I am baffled by that statement by the Senator. She made an ill-advised statement about Dr. King, suggesting that Lyndon Johnson had more to do with the Civil Rights Act. For them to somehow suggest that we're interjecting race as a consequence of a statement she made, that we haven't commented on, is pretty hard to figure out."

The New York senator has since tried to explain the intent of her remarks was not to diminish the contribution of King, but to point out the benefit of experience in enacting positive legislation.

Rangel also implied that Obama’s admission of prior drug use in his autobiography may have had a financial motive: "I assume that the book was not written for political purposes. It was honest….It was a big mistake for him to have done it [used drugs.] For him to be honest enough to write about it, I guess he thought it might sell books."
Video: Watch Rangel on the Clinton-Obama spat

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
soundoff (1,694 Responses)
  1. Evan Tribley Columbus, OH

    This is the same Charlie Rangel who desperately wants to reintroduce the draft.

    This guy is stupid.

    January 14, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  2. S.K.M. Boston Mass

    Isn't that the same guy that wanted to reinstitute the draft? Oh where to start. ""How race got into this thing is because Obama said ‘race,’” New York Rep. Charlie Rangel, one of the highest-ranking African-Americans in Congress, said in an interview on NY1." Actually, no. Obama didn't say that. "“But for him to suggest that Dr. King could have signed that act is absolutely stupid. It's absolutely dumb to infer that Doctor King, alone, passed the legislation and signed it into law."" Yeah, it would be sort of stupid. That's why Barack Obama did NOT suggest that. I'm going to give Hillary the benefit of the doubt on this one and assume Charles didn't get the memo. Afterall, he doesn't appear very informed to begin with

    January 14, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  3. James

    This is the same toolbag who wanted to reinstate the draft. Warmongers think alike (or don't even think at all).

    January 14, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  4. June (California Voter)

    This bickering better stop about race or a Republican will win in November.
    I finally decided to vote for Hillary in the primary but just might end up voting for John Mc Cain in the General Election if this keeps up.

    January 14, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  5. mrsbeasley

    Charlie RAngel is what is wrong with american politics Quit polarizing and let the party pick the best candidate

    I have never voted for a democrat since Dukakis and I would vote for Obama never for HIllary I would vote for another republican

    cant the democrats give me someone worthwhile to vote for to truly make a change?

    I want to live in a country where a black man , a good man, a true uniter not a divider can win.

    January 14, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  6. Sean

    I am disappointed in Congressman Rangel. Obama has shown class and leadership in calling for an end to the back and forth, an argument that he himself did not start. Hillary Clinton as followed suit and agreed to a 'truce'. So why does Rangel feel he has to continue to stir up the argument calling Baack 'absolutely stupid'. I'm sure that Hillary's camp would certainly not appreciate Rangel's comments as they further show that either she is not in control of her surrogates or that she is leading a 'Rovian' campaign in having her surrogates attack her opponent while she tries to stay above the fray.

    January 14, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  7. Chris, Orlando FL

    Agreed. Stupid Obama. Can't wait to see how Barack is going to turn this last comment by one of the highest ranking African Americans in Congress into a racially-motivated attack on him. Hillary has more blacks on her side than Barack ever will.

    January 14, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  8. bajanluv,newport News, VA

    What an idiot. Honesty is a bad thing. It would be sweet if you picked the wrong side. Black people, stand up–kick him, jesse and Al into retirement and lift your communities up.

    January 14, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  9. Greg OH

    I guess that Truce didn't mean much to Hillary

    January 14, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  10. carlo

    Let this serve notice that it is Hillary's supporters that are fanning the flames. Keep this in mind people. I'm with Obama, let's call a truce and move on. The Republicans are gaining and cheering in the midst.

    January 14, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  11. Jake, ATL

    It's official. Hillary's supporters are some of the dumbest in the world...they almost rival George W Bush's.

    I got a joke for you:

    Hillary once said that Obama can have an argument entirely by himself. But we all know why SHE can't... because after she speaks, she's already got her foot in her mouth.

    January 14, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  12. Ryan, IN

    Wow. Just wow. And people want more of this? Bush isnt the only one with cronies and he isnt the only one who will divide and destroy a party. Lies from Clinton camp again.

    January 14, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  13. merlin gili

    That's the way to say it sir...
    Obama was just playing stupid, he knew what Hillary meant when she mentioned that on a speech
    Obama was desperate, fuelling american people by misleading them...

    January 14, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  14. BD

    She sends out her attack dogs to do her dirty work. Than as always, pretends to have nothing to do with it. Very bad. Very, very bad.

    Not the kind of person to be in charge.

    I hope the people wake up and say NO to her !!!!!!!!

    January 14, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  15. Bob, Alexandria, VA

    This whole charade does not surprise me. It is what is expected when the Clintons are involved....siime and confrontation. Honestly, who the hell wants 4 years of this crapola.

    January 14, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  16. John

    Obama 08

    January 14, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  17. Apologies for our Fellow New Yorker

    Mr. Rangel,
    This is your conscience calling.

    It's not happy you sold it out for what will be a minor job in the Clinton Administration. You didn't think you'd get a Cabinet-level job, did you? That takes much more than being willing to sell your soul and sell out a fellow patriot.

    Ugly, ugly, ugly

    January 14, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  18. Vincent, Tamaqua, Pa

    I hope Hillary puts Obama in his place. Its upsurd to even question the Clinton's respect towards the Black Community- after everything the Clinton Administration has done for them.

    January 14, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  19. Ashok Bhagat

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man. President Johnson had the guts to sign Civil Rights Act into law. That is important, but that does not make President Johnson great.

    Mr. Obama is a very slick man. He knows how to twist words into statements to his advantage. He might even win. He knows how to sound convincing. he seems to be a man of promises.

    January 14, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  20. Amy

    Rangel is a Clinton supporter looking for an appointment. Shame on him for injecting Rove style tactics and supporting Hillary in her efforts to do the same. I thought he was a better man than that. The more that they say and do, the better Obama looks by comparison. They all know that the media loves this garbage and that you will give it a 6 second sound bite on a loop coverage and they get free ads.

    January 14, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  21. Gringo in peru

    there are three sides to every story your side, their side, and what really happened

    January 14, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  22. Mark Morris, Cupertino CA

    I can't believe Charlie Rangel is Clinton's attack dog after Obama magnanimously offered a truce, and defended Hillary's remarks about MLK! Why can't the Clintons leave this controversy alone?! I used to have great respect for Charlie Rangel, but I have totally lost faith in him now. Obama has shown great class today, hopefully the Clintons will denounce these ridiculous attacks.
    MLK led a movement that later was codified into law. LBJ deserves credit, but the civil rights movement was grassroots, not led by politicians.

    January 14, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  23. MamaT

    Rangle, Obama's has delivered us a truce. You'd best now take heed or them rethugicans will gain on us.

    January 14, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  24. Tom Davie

    Does anyone want to talk about EXPERIENCE NOW?

    This episode is a case of experience in washington CRUSHING an inexperienced Obama camp. This is how things are done in washington and no green horn newcomer is going to ever CHANGE IT

    Bill and Hillary clinton have very hi IQs.

    They havent lost a single election since Bill intitally lost in 1980 in arkansas.

    They put out this stuff that isnt really racist in the slighest, but leave the DOOR open for someone to get ROYALLY OFFENDED.

    Just like i predicted, the inexperience of obama and his supporters JUMPED RIGHT THRU THE HOOP and took the bait and went off the HANDLE.

    Now, there are polls suggesting Obama 60% to 15% with african americans, and the white vote has swung drastically to Clinton.

    Ever think that this is what the clintons wanted ???

    The hatred and snide that came roaring out of the Obama side (whether obama keeps quiet himself is irrelivant, voters pin his campaign to him ) did nothing but cause white voters to get sick of the reverse racism and complaining, and now vote Clinton.

    This is a first and real easy example of why Obama isnt ready to be president. If he thinks he is going to looks naive now, wait until the Republicans, and then world leaders get ahold of him.

    They will manipulate him like a yo yo.

    Obamas BIGGEST mistake was 'letting it ride' to see how it PLAYED OUT before announcing he wanted a truce all of a sudden.

    That is inexperience.

    He just isnt ready yet.

    January 14, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  25. Greg OH

    But all kidding aside, these types of comments need to stop for all supporters.

    Here to a clean race about the issues.

    GO Obama '08 from a moderate Republican tired of his party's tricks. Time for change in Washington, things need to get done. I am being truthful and not just supporting him as a ploy to sway voters.

    Here to change in Washington in '08

    January 14, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68