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. Kurt

    Does Clyburn realize he is using a drinking metaphor to describe the black community's support of Clinton? It is not an apt comparison and and the implications are not deserved.

    April 25, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Susan MO

    So, was it ok when Obama slammed the people of Pennsylvania?

    Stop the race issue.........

    We are ALL Americans!!!!

    Clinton 08

    April 25, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Lisa GA

    This just goes to show Bill is a liar just like his wife.. . I thought highly of them until lately... I would not cast my vote for Hillary,,, they have run a ridiculously campaign.... silly would be the better word!

    April 25, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. Joseph

    It's about time someon took the Clintons to task for what they are putting the Democratic party through. Hillary can't win the pledged delegate vote, and is barely ahead in super-delegates. They are simply trying to ruin Obama's chances so that she can take another shot in four years.

    April 25, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. Don

    So what ! I guess there is not aproblem with Obama accusing the Clinton's of racism just before heading to the south!

    I think Obama is acting a little irresponsible for a honest politician.

    April 25, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. 1

    I happy someone finaly said it.

    April 25, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  7. Kel from Auburn, AL

    Hillary said that? What an ignorant comment. This family has got to go. They had their time in history and the pages are turning to the Obama section now...

    April 25, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  8. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I don't have an opinion as to whether Bill Clinton's behavior is "bizzare" or what but this democrat race has become very disgusting. The back and forth name calling, the he said she said, the crying, the delegate count, the popular vote and the superdelegate's roll and nothing about the issues. Gas prices rising, food cost, global warming, high unemployment rate, immigration, and the Mideastern crisis are some of the real issues. This messy stuff has got to end and we are all sick and tired of it.

    April 25, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. mazola

    This thing about the clintons is getting out of hand.They should be stopped now or that will be the end of the democratic party.

    April 25, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  10. Ric

    Bill and Hillary Clinton are not going to change,they can't. Both of them knowing Hillary can't win, have started throwing out life lines to see they can catch.

    April 25, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. Jim Shimmer

    I agree.. Billary think they own America!
    They think they should automatically be made president and that it should not be earned...

    How sick..


    April 25, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. Hillary supporter

    I believe they DID play the race card on Bill Clinton. He was only stating the truth. I did not hear Jesse Jackson complaining. I am sure he was proud to have won the state.

    April 25, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. Sheila in OR

    2 years ago you could've never convinced me the Clintons were anything but good. Now I've seen an entirely different side to them.

    I'm an Obama supporter, but think I'll go watch Bubba tonight when he comes to town, just for curiousity's sake. Interestingly enough, many people in our town really don't seem to want him around though. Maybe that's why they rented such an incredibly small venue (middle school gym...lol)

    April 25, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. Bitter Woman in NYC

    I think the presidential candidates need to undergo psychological evaluations before getting into the Whitehouse.

    April 25, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. Desiree

    Why doesn't he just say that he supports Sen Obama.

    April 25, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Margaret D

    President Clinton's comments are not *Bizarre* at all, he is telling the truth ,what is" Bizarre" is obama's relationship with Rev Wright for 20 years. Dont tell me he doesn't feel the same way his reverend does. Like Wright said "Obama is a politicain and = a hipocrit, talking about transparency? .......He needs a lot to learn....

    April 25, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. Young & Educated 4 Obama

    Bizarre? Thats an Understatement! Dont forget Rev Wright paid Bill and Hillary a visit in the white house when they were having marital problems!
    The clintons are Flip Flopers!!

    Stop the Drama VOTE Obama!

    April 25, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. Eli

    I dont think Clinton is acting anyway except standing up for himself. I believe there has been a certain group that has tried to twist things to cause an upset along racial lines. What they were trying to do WORKED and that is why we have this voting along racial lines.

    April 25, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  19. tejasoutlaw

    This is just getting rediculas. Clinton says something that is true and he has to worry about the black community. This is black racism on the whites here. Obama and reverend Wright can say what ever they want about whites, but when Clinton calls Obama out for playing the race card he is going to be threatened by the black community.
    Sounds to me like they want to justify their racism. Obama can get up and make a speach about typical white people, but Clinton can't call a spade a spade. Clinton has done more for blacks the Obama ever has and this is how the want to treat the man for speaking the truth.
    They should be going after Obama for playing the race card. After all they now what is like to be discriminated against the most and should not wish it on anyone else. Instead it's like some sort of redemption.
    Clyburn better watch what he says or this will turn into a race thing and that it not good for the black communities.

    April 25, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. AZM

    That's right...
    The Clintons are rascists.... anyone who questions Obama about his past or anything other than praise's for him is a rascist... if Obama doesn't win in a landslide then America is rascist.... Obama lost PA cause those white people are racist...

    Never mind the guy can't debate, answer a question, and has more than one affiliations with militant people...

    But no... it's just cause he's black! Nice crutch...

    April 25, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  21. Janice, Aberdeen, SD

    Clyburn is right. My view of both the Clintons has gone downhill fast. What is with both of them? They've proven that to win this battle with Obama they will do practically anything. This isn't fighting for "us". This is fighting for "them".

    They need to be attacking McCain like there is no tomorrow and showing how strong they would be against McCain by causing his poll numbers to drop big time – not by hurting Obama. To me, that's how they would demonstrate they deserve the super-delegate votes and the votes in the rest of the primaries.

    April 25, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  22. FPJV

    Mr Clyburn is overstating the issue. It is only rational to expect that Bill Clinton will be offended and insulted by accusing him of racism. The Clintons have always been there for African Americans. Just as Lyndon Johnson was, like it or not. The African American community should not forget that. Who played and is playing the race card? to many of us it is clear that the Obama campaign is. All people are equal African American, white, whatever please stop making race an issue. Mr Clyburn and Mr Obama and his campaign must stop crying wolf everytime criticism comes their way. This really hurts African Americans as much as Reverend Wright does.

    April 25, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. Shabazz

    It's about time Brother Clyburn step out and speak up. Obama WILL be the nominee for the Democrats IF everything is on the up and up. So the antics the Clintons have been pulling are very shameful. Another example how they (Clintons) will do anything to win even destroy their own party in the process!!

    April 25, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  24. Clinton or McCain, but NEVER obama

    You need to sit down and shut up. People can see right through what you are trying to do.

    April 25, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. Ms. Smith

    This article is no surprise, but quite predictable. Every single time that Hillary Clinton achieves a legitimate level of momentum, the Obama campaing, along with the national media, pull out an "anti-Bill" story. And, the most effect ones seem to relish in suggesting some foolish "hidden racist" commentary on the ex-President's part.

    Seriously, do a research hit and you will find this statement to be accurate. I don't care what Clyburn says: Bill Clinton is no racist, nor is he imprudent in the manner in which he approaches dealing with Obama's chances for the general election. Most of this stuff above is just old, rehashed material, with Clyburn calling President Clinton's behavior bizarre. Well, I think Congressman Clyburn is bizarre and biased - so how's that for an analysis. Want to interview me.

    Gosh - do you honestly believe fair-minded Americans believe that Bill Clinton is a racist? This is a joke!

    April 25, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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