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. Margarita, Los Angeles


    January 15, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  2. GKahlon

    Charlie Rangel and Bob Johnson etc. are out to stab Obama in the back. These guys need to get the facts right, feel the pulse of people and stop dreaming of favors and appointments from future Clinton administartion as at this rate she is not going to win the party nomination even. She is using her attack dogs to do her dirty work for her and play Mrs Nice on TV shows( that human side of hers is a BS). And Hillary Clinton who calls herself the champion of human rights , civil rights and women rights is trying to use GOP tactics by suppressing the Democrat vote in Nevada primaries. Shame on Clinton Campaign!!! Her position on on Iraq and Immigration changed multiple times whereas Obama's has been consistent.Public needs to know her true colors.

    The choice in 2008 election is between:

    Another dynastic rule after the Bushies vs a clean politician who can unite the country ( Jeb Bush figured this out and decided to lie low but Hillary did not)

    Better future vs bitter future full of partisan wars

    Merit versus married ( to an ex Prez and claiming his achievements as your own)

    Enough is enough The American people cannot be fooled

    January 15, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  3. favor

    AA are divided very much -you know other races need to understand that the sorrry legacy of the black folk -both Africans and AA-they are brought up to think dat other people other than their race are better than them and will save them-this is a big fact that is hidden-barack is a bargainer including oprah and to note obama is black and white-shelby steele quoted-Al sharpton-challenger-all this so called self-proclaimed black leaders are jealous-obama will not be so stupid to make this into a race mess-leave him out of the fray-hillary should be more careful-sensitive like clyburn stated. have you people noticed- how many major black leaders have endorsed obama-none-it seems to me his mother's people are rescuing him more-i am not surprised-at work blacks will always gang up with a white person against another black person-whites/hispanics/asians are somewhat or very loyal to their own. sounds to me like this black race is ridden by low self-worth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 15, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  4. Bernie Moore-Knowles

    Whomever "Hillary 08" is? You are about as scarey as Rangel is. When are you going to give up on the Muslim slams? The more I see your posts – the more I shake my head that in the year 2008, we still have narrow minded folks like you living and breathing in the UNITED States of America.

    Bernie Moore-Knowles
    Papa'aloa, Hawai'i

    January 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  5. Lisa, Texas

    Bob Johnson has changed his story. What he was talking about was the good community work Obama did in his youth. I am very disappointed in Mr. Johnson. You can read the full article on http://www.michellemalkin.com. She is very good political writer.

    January 15, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  6. Power

    I am disappointed in Charlie Rangel’s statements, he has proven to me that he is nothing but the Clinton's man dingo, in this day in time where the Blackman has been associated with nothing but negativity in every form of media in America, he has the ordacity to say that Sen. Obama is stupid! Nothing could be further from the truth. However, he has never said that George W. Bush was stupid, Even after katrina and what he did to the people of New Orleans. What's stupid America is being led by someone who has no respect for the American people or the Presidency of the United States. Its amazing that America would hold Bill Clinton as bearer of morality, (The same man who ejaculated in the orifice of his 20 year old intern repeatedly according to her testimony "in the oval office") The same man who swore it was a lie until his dna turned up on the dress, the same man that during his term sent more black men to the penitentiary than any other president. He is the same man that signed into legislation the 3 strikes rule. The same man that ordered rocket attacks on African cities. He has done nothing for black people that did not benefit him first. Think about this white America. With Barack Obama as our president we won’t have to worry about one group of people being left out, not even you. He is exactly what we need. He is man with a black heritage and a white heritage. Hillary Clinton didn't shed a tear when she found out that her husband had betrayed her in the worst way, when he had done the unspeakable. However, a woman from New Hampshire can make her cry with a question, please, you are all so gullible, this is why the world looks down there noses at us. Most of us will fall for anything and stand for nothing. The Clintons have a secret agenda, $, Sen. Obama has an agenda too, however, his agenda is “You” America. This country will become what it is suppose to become when he is President. “The Bearers of Peace”

    January 16, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  7. TX Democrat

    Holly, maybe YOU should pay more attention to my comments. I never once said anything negative about HRC in my post. In fact, I stated that I respect what she donand Bill Clinton have done. But that my choice will be Obama. And my choosing Obama does not negate anything that Hillary or Bill Clinton have done in the past. Do I not have that right? Interesting how my words have been twisted.

    And no, I am not a pretender...or new to politics. Should I infer that anyone who chooses to vote for anyone other than HRC, must be "a pretender", or new to politics?" Wow! I thought this was America. Has my right to vote been revoked and no one told me?

    In my post, I asked, please show me where the Obama introduced race? To that specific question you offered no answer. Just as blanket statement that "of course you dont see that". Well I have no problems finding multiple examples of HRC making race an issue. But to make one thing clear....I dont think that HRC is racist...I agree that her comments were "ill advised".

    I really dont understand your argument with me. Much in the same way that I dont understand the Hillary camp arguing that Obama has played the race card, when (by everything that I have seen...by my own research, and not just what the blogs are saying) they are the ones who introduced it.

    If you can show me SPECIFIC cased that prove the opposite, then please share them with me. I like to make informed decisions....not just blindly attack anyone who disagrees with me.

    January 16, 2008 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  8. Judy Loraine

    I am baffled by the fact that so many people who have commented about this article have repeated the spin that it was Senator Obama who first injected race into this presidential campaign. The facts clearly show otherwise. The Clinton Campaign first injected race. And I believe it did so as a subtle reminder to White voters of Senator Obama's race. I am futher baffled by the fact that the Clintons were able to invent a lie and almost "make it truth" simply by repeating it over and over again.

    I am afraid for our country because I do not think that we have forever to bridge our racial divide. We have some very immediate and complex issues to deal with–the war in Iraq, terrorism, health care reform, the growing divide between rich and poor, global warming, the current economic downturn, the continued explosiveness of the Middle East, etc. I had hoped that Senator Obama's candidacy had signaled that America was finally going to be "America" –that we would resolve our differences, heal historical wounds and start trusting and working with one another; that we would actually start judging one another on the basis of character rather than skin color, nationality, religious affiliation, gender or sexual preference; that it was possible to hope. Senator Obama gave me hope. He made me enthusiastic again about the political process–a significant feat considering I am nearing 60. He was restoring my faith in the system.

    The Clintons shattered that. The Clinton Campaign showed me just how foolish I was being. Senator Clinton sneers at the very idea of hope. She made my dream a nightmare. For her own personal gain, she knowingly engaged in very divisive tactics and character assasination against her fellow Democrats Senators Obama and Edwards.

    I am praying for Senator Obama. I hope his optimism has not been shattered by the Clintons' tactics and the public's failure to read, think and analyze for themselves.

    January 16, 2008 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  9. Washington

    'Like craps in a barrel."

    January 16, 2008 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  10. Monstergirl

    Obama is just another puppet! But everyone is to blind to see it.

    January 16, 2008 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  11. Dana

    Let's not forget that Rangel was the person who strongly suggested to Hillary that she run for president. When Obama asked Rangel whether Rangel thought he (Obama) should run, Rangel said that he was supporting Hillary but that Obama should run anyway because it would be the experience of a lifetime, or something to that effect.

    January 16, 2008 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  12. Lisa, Texas

    Monstergirl....Obama is no puppet. However, Rangel, Jackson, Sharpton and Robert Johnson are the true puppets.

    I suggest you take some time to read up on these guys.

    January 16, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  13. Idahosa

    Lisa, Texas... good word, good word!!!

    From his looks, New York Rep. Charlie Rangel is the kind of person that will sell his soul for a piece of the national cake. Even CNN's "best political" team have said it that Obama never started the race issue and for a senator who should be better informed, working to unite the part to come forth and make such statement is pathetic.

    Least I forget, can any of Hillary's supporter tell me categorically what Hillary has ever done for civil right?

    January 16, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  14. C.R

    I've been reading most of these statements. I am offended by the posters that are implying that if you're supporting HRC, then you are somehow disloyal to your race.I will not stomp with Obama simply because he happens to be black. I have to look past color & vote for the person that's more experienced. I prefer a candidate that can get the job done. There are alot of tough issues facing the next Prez.. Speaking as a black man I am not voting for Obama because of lack of experience, come back after you've served about 8 or 9 yrs as Senator. I am sure most of his supporters didn't even know who he was before this election started to approach.

    January 16, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. penny

    He is just one of those black leaders who cannot stand the fact that Barack Obama is taking over as one the most intelligent and greatest black leader. Sorry for them, they have to get used to it.

    January 16, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. Lisa, Texas

    C.R. ......8 or 9 years as Senator means nothing. While I applaud you for your selection process on voting not being based on race.....I do find that hard to believe. Well, if one is honest with themselves.

    Lack of experience does not mean one will fail at a job. But, having the right people in positions does mean the job can be done effectively.

    Obama supporters are the same as Hillary's, African American, Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic, etc. (no intended order) Not all blacks are voting for Obama, not all whites are voting for Hillary. Not all women are voting for Hillary. So your comment is a bit juvenile and lacks intelligence.

    Hillary lacks consistency. Hillary lacks honor. Hillary lacks the ability to be responsible. Her past record shows that. Look at some of the people that worked for them when Bill was in office. Where are they now? Look at some of the worse people he pardoned and gave commutations to. Hillary "lost" important documents that were under investigation. Hillary flopped on a hedge and got away with it. Could you have done that? Could anyone else have done that?

    Get educated about the process of Political elections. Determine for yourself who you want as your President. Research past presidents and similarities they share with current candidiates. Some platforms have not changed. There is a wealth of information out there that will assist you in making an intelligent comment about such an important race.

    Professional Hustlers: Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Robert Johnson and Charlie Rangel.

    January 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  17. Susan

    Judy Lorraine, thank you for your excellent post!
    I was going to add something but you have already shed the light of truth on this all.

    January 17, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  18. tedwall

    Charlie Rangel proved tothe world that he is the one that is stupid. The Republicans were telling us about this man now we believe.

    January 17, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  19. Wally, NY


    Keep in mind that Fmr Pres. Bill Clinton had no National political experience. He was the Gov. of Arkansas. That's state level. If you believe simply simmering in Congress or the Senate for 8 years gives you experience then you are ignorant of the fact the their are tons of career Senators/Congressmen that routinely make inaccurate and downwrite incorrect statements regarding national and world affairs.

    The president is a manager. Short and sweet. Or current one has never been a good manager in any venture and it shows. If you believe HRC's abilities as a person that can "manage" this country, then fine. But so far, I've inadequacies from all the candidates. HRC and Obama need to show me they can reign in the comments of their own staffs before I'd feel comfortable with them choosing a staff that would begin steering us out of the mess in which we currently reside.

    January 24, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
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