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. Concerned Dem

    Wow, sorry you feel that way.....

    April 25, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. Robin

    what do you need to do to get a comment through moderation?

    April 25, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. Swati Palit Deb

    We should be careful not to encourage divisive forces to divide our strength. All of us, black and white would be equally hurt if we carry on war abroad hurting our children and our money, without paying attention to our benefit.

    Please....say "no" to people who voted for war.

    April 25, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. PA for Hillary

    I disagree with Bill Clinton's comments, too...but I don't think his comments are "bizarre".

    April 25, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. maya

    What would about your pastor bevahior.

    April 25, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |

    They just now noticed he was acting bizarre? What about his whole presidency?

    April 25, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. Smiley from Conyers, GA

    Furthermore, this great country was built on the backs, blood, sweat and tears of black people. Black people fought in wars to help build this great nation only to still be treated as less than nothing during and after serving this country. Black people earned the right to be called African-AMERICAN! How dare you act as if we don't have a reason to feel slighted? How dare you?

    You're probably one of those people who still think that we all should still be enslaved. It wouldn't surprise me one bit.

    April 25, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Brian G

    Dear Xanadude,

    It seems to me that your comment reveals your own racism. Tsk, tsk!


    April 25, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. Dean

    Stop playing the RACE CARD..... 95% of Black has voted for Obama while only 5% of them voted for Clinton... Why? Because Clinton is WOMEN.... The truth is because she is WHITE. Shut up Clyburn! Your people (BLACK) are the most racist group. We are Asian American in CALIFORNIA! We believe that OBAMA can't win in general election because he will lose in CALIFORNIA, FLORIDA, OHIO, New york, New Jersey, Pennsylvania... all big states. We are tired of OBAMA... Has he done anything for country beside making Black People hating white people.... We are democrats but we will vote for Mc Cain if Clinton does not win primary...

    April 25, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Kate

    .. end to the dynasty is coming.

    April 25, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Words of Wisdom

    As much as we the human race tries to deny it, we all are racist in some way. Some more than others. Why else would we resort to this segregationist attitude of many of us using race as the deciding factor of the presidential campaign? In some instances the human race sickens me! Carry on with your bickering people.

    April 25, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. the best

    Everyone knows Clinton is the best

    That is why the DNC had to fix the primary for Obama.

    That is why there is all the pro-Obama and anti-Hillary media bias.

    That is why they had to disenfranchise the voters of Fl and Mi to give Obama the edge.

    That is the reason for all the nasty Hillary-hating blogs- to create the opposite illusion.

    With all the disadvantages- Obama was able to get just the NARROWEST of leads.

    April 25, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. James Nelson

    "African Americans are the most racist group in America today……"

    Yeah, not like us white folk at all.

    What time's the Klan rally, Sparky?

    April 25, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. David

    It is ABSOLUTELY amazing to me how many black leaders act as if they have taken a poll and speak for 100% of their community. The Clintons have worked tirelessly for the black community and now these supposed "leaders" turn their back on them because one of their own is in the game. It's sickening to me. The Clintons have not played the race card: it is the Obama camp that has done that, and they have done it for pure political gain. And not all blacks are falling for it and are going to vote for Obama JUST because he is black. That to me is racist. I am sick of this ridiculous double standard.

    April 25, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. steve

    everyone is entitled to their own opinion. african Americans have the right to speak out about racism. It was thier race which had to endure segregation. why does color matter in america, because americans are racists! I'm totally for Obama because he is fresh, new, motivating. How mature it is to attack some one because of their personal afiliations. Our current president was in the military and went AWOL, our country is in crisis and the best you can do is call african americans racists. Who gives a hoot what color a candidate is as long as they can turn this ship around. i voted for Bill Clinton and I have no anymosity toward him at all. He is just standing up for his wife and doing what he feels is right. Bill is white and i'm black. I still admire bill clinton, but Hillary is a different story. She is priviledge, never really got her hands dirty and never did a thing for the black community and is a liar!!!! We need to Unite and not divide. African americans are very strong people with a rich history. No matter what they have tried to do to us we still stand, we are human, intelligent and spiritual. We look to our churches for strength and serenty. Our churches do not preach hate at all. we preach love and unity. Maybe you should get out of yourself and go to a Black church and see for yourself.

    April 25, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. JOHN

    YOU say to-mayto and I say to-mato! The democrats have lost already. The candidates are too weak to win. Maybe just maybe you will be albe to find a moderate governor who will run in 2012!

    April 25, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. Simon

    Finally, someone in a high level position has shown the courage to stand up to the Clintons.

    What Hillary and Bill continue to do is fan the flames of division in our country, seemingly in close coordination with the RNC and Senator McCain. In fact, it is increasingly seems there is a McCain-Clinton coalition at this point in the campaign.

    We can only hope that voters will be able to sort through all the garbage being flung by the Clintons and McCain and that they will make choices in the remaining primaries and in the general election that are in the interest of mainstream America – and do not continue to reward the special interests that establishment politicians like Clinton and McCain represent. But, then again, past history shows that many Americans will continue to vote against their own best interests. Maybe, just maybe, if a few leaders such as Representative Clyburn stand up and speak out more, voters will also develop the insight and courage to stand up for themselves against the Clintons and McCain.

    April 25, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Say No to O

    I don't see nothing wrong with what both of the Clintons said. There was nothing racist about what they said. Everyone just wants to silence critics of Obama....treat him like a baby. If he can't take criticism, he doesn't need to be running for Prez. Why are people handling him with kid gloves? I'm so sick of this. Ain't nobody treating Hillary with kid gloves. They are saying anything and everything they want about her. The Obama campaing has said some very nasty things about Hillary. Obama wants to dish it out but can't take it. Enuff with that mess.

    April 25, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Scott from NC

    RIGHT ON!!! Finally, someone admitting that the Clintons are attempting to ensure that Obama does not win–because they know they can't. The Clintons are the worse possible thing for the Democratic party–and the Republicans are laughing all the way to November!!! It is either Obama, or McCain for me.

    April 25, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. Tony

    You guys should be a little fair. It is not easy to be on the other side.

    April 25, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. everline tolbert

    Clyburn, I agree with you one hundred percent, please go ahead and endorse Obama so we can get on with the nomination of the first
    black africian american president.

    thank you

    April 25, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. Michael G Ventura, CA

    Bill Clinton has disappointed me to the extent that I have taken his and Hillary's books off my coffee table, put them in a drawer, and when he comes on tv- I TURN it because I was such a strong supporter of this man and his family.
    He has destroyed the "Clinton Legacy" at this house! Sad.

    April 25, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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