April 25th, 2008
03:52 PM ET
15 years ago

Clyburn: Bill Clinton's behavior 'bizarre'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/25/art.clyburnclinton.ap.jpg caption=" Clyburn has been critical of both Clintons."] (CNN) - The most powerful African-American in Congress again scolded former President Bill Clinton for comments he made over the course of the Democratic presidential race.

In an interview with the New York Times late Thursday, House Majority Whip James Clyburn called the former president's conduct "bizarre," and said several of Clinton's actions had deeply upset many African-Americans.

Clyburn told the newspaper that many African-Americans believed the Clintons were trying to damage Obama to the point where he could not be elected. He also made similar comments in an interview with Reuters Thursday.

"There are African Americans who have reached the decision that the Clintons know that she can’t win this," he told Reuters. "But they’re hell-bound to make it impossible for Obama to win.”

Speaking with the New York Times, Clyburn said such actions could lead to a longtime division between the former president and his once most reliable constituency.

“When he was going through his impeachment problems, it was the black community that bellied up to the bar,” Clyburn said. “I think black folks feel strongly that this is a strange way for President Clinton to show his appreciation.”

Speaking to reporters Friday, Obama said he does not believe in "irreparable breaches. "

"I am a big believer in reconciliation and redemption," he said. "This has been a fierce contest. I am confident, come August there are going to be a whole bunch of people standing on the stage with a lot of balloons and confetti raining down on the Democratic nominee and people are going to be excited about taking on John McCain in November."

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Filed under: Bill Clinton • James Clyburn
soundoff (347 Responses)
  1. bigben

    Obama's camp starting the racial bs again , I see.

    April 25, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. Lisa Gross

    I totally agree with what he just said! I am so disappointed in the Clintons. I had so much respect for them before all of this. I voted for Bill both times, now I cannot vote for Hillary out of dignity.

    April 25, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. lars

    And the frightening thing is that the Clintons will steal
    the nomination and continue their bizarre politics and behaviour
    for the next eight years.

    April 25, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. Brendan D, Niles, IL

    Bill Clinton has obliterated a stellar (and steadily improving, in the wake of George W. Bush) legacy in a little less than four months. Maybe he never really was all that great...

    April 25, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. Michael

    I hope Clyburn's wrong about Hillary intending to sabotage Obama just enough that he'll lose in 2008 and she can come back in 2012, but my gut tells me Clyburn's right.

    April 25, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. CB

    Hillary has lost it. Bill has lost it and I have two straight
    jackets on hold. All in the name of power.

    April 25, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. Sue

    I agree. I think he is acting bizarre but I've thought that since 1992.

    April 25, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  8. Tony Z- MD

    Good job! Finally someone stated how when Bill needed African-Americans he was friendly. Now he thinks he does not his true colors are showing.

    April 25, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  9. Eric-PA

    Bill Clinton was correct . Obama is a race-baiter and this is why this strong democrat will not vote for Obama if he wins the nomination.

    April 25, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. Registered Independent

    Clinton wasnt talking about South Carolina political history as he claims. He was completely dismissing Obama's win, pretty much saying any black candidate could win there for simply being black.

    April 25, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. George

    I agree that Bill Clinton is behaving irrationally, as well as unprofessionally. He can not use his wife to regain respect. He should be asheamed of his behavior. Representative Clyburn was right to call him out.

    April 25, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. Dave

    The Clintons continue to say and do things to appeal to the largest portions of their constituency - uneducated people and those scared of African Americans. As we saw in Pennsylvania, a state with a lot of uneducated people and bigots, this works.

    April 25, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. andrew s

    right on the point.

    April 25, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. Kurt

    Does Clyburn realize he is using a drinking metaphor to describe the black community's support of Clinton? I do not think it is an apt comparison nor is it appropriate in this context. He is not paying the black community a compliment.

    April 25, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. Karen in Cape Cod

    Please Mr. Clyburn, what about all the GOOD President Clinton did in office for ALL people in this country! I think ALL people should APPRECIATE our former President a little more and stop slamming him and Hillary!

    April 25, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. Marshall in Nebraska

    Speaking the truth. I think Bill has lost a little in the last 8 years. He is not as slick.

    April 25, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. KMAN

    We all know by now that NOTHING is ever Bill's fault ... well, except for the stain on the blue dress. I can almost remember when I still had some respect for the Clintons, but what little remained has faded rapidly of late.

    April 25, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. Obama will be President

    You think? The guy is sabotaging his wifes campaign...Do we really want him as our First Lady?

    April 25, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. mama4obama

    I think all Americans of every ethnicity should be outraged. Hillary and Bill have been able to slither around for years. Its time Americans see them for who they really are.

    April 25, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. Mark Cary, NC

    Funny. Rev. Wright reappears and now does the claim that the Clinton's are racist. Interesting.

    April 25, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. Mike

    Bill... all of us know that this politics as usual... the media is putting spin on everything... Obama's camp is currently blaming the media for 30 second sound bites and taking things out of context...

    Clyburn is a smart man... I do not understand why he is saying these things especially with Bill Clinton's history and all of the things he did for the black community... Clyburn should understand politics and the media!!!

    I know from reading the full transcript in regards to what Bill was responding to... Bill told the media that they had played the race card and continue to spin his words... I can not believe the media is trying to label Bill Clinton as racist...

    April 25, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. Randal NYC

    Bill and Hillary have used race but they are not racist. When Bill says "im not a racist" that is a way to pivot around the issue because we all know that he is not.
    But that is not the issue.

    This is why the Clintons are loosing respect, peole are not as dumb as they think.

    Whatever the issue is, Clayburn bringing is just opening up the wound again.

    April 25, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  23. jon

    this is just irrational. people need to stop whining.

    isn't that what you're supposed to do in a presidential campaign? make your opponent unelectable?

    April 25, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  24. Uncle Sam

    As an independent observer, it seems to me that there has been hyper-sensitivity to anything remotely racial in this election. I look forward to the day when our presidential candidates are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

    April 25, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  25. pat ny

    with 97% of all blacks voting for Obama, how can we say the Clintons are the racists here!

    April 25, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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