February 20th, 2009
05:33 PM ET
11 years ago

Clyburn defends 'slap in the face' remark

Clyburn said Thursday that stimulus opponents were insulting black Americans.

Clyburn said Thursday that stimulus opponents were insulting black Americans.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic Rep. James Clyburn on Friday defended his remark that opponents of the stimulus bill are insulting African-Americans.

The House Majority Whip argued that many of the federal funds are specifically targeted towards low-income minority communities. He also accused GOP governors who have resisted the stimulus of hypocrisy.

“Let’s take, for instance, Louisiana,” the South Carolina Democrat told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. “Gov. [Bobby] Jindal has been in my office a number of times. He has called me a number of times asking for billions of dollars in assistance to stand communities back up as a result of hurricane Katrina and Rita.”

“Yet he says there is something wrong with this money for the stimulus that comes from the same pot, that he sees nothing wrong when he’s trying to stand back up after Katrina,” he said.

Asked about opposition from South Carolina’s governor Mark Sanford, Clyburn said that in his home state, a chunk of the stimulus funds would be directed to the poorest counties along the I-95 corridor, a poverty-stricken region of the state most famous for its dilapidated schools.

He said it would be an affront to black South Carolinians in those counties if Sanford turns down the money.

“That’s why I called this an insult,” Clyburn said. “That’s why I said it's slap in the face. Because a majority of the people in these counties are African-Americans.”

Clyburn did not say that Republicans who oppose the funds are racists.

“I have never used that word in my life and I won’t use it now,” he said.

Filed under: James Clyburn • Mark Sanford
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. annie - Palin 2012

    Why do the demmie dummies keep playing the race card?

    February 20, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Willy Brown

    When you point a finger and scream racism, just remember three are pointing back at the cause. Congressman.

    February 20, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. Anthony R. Seta

    Clyburn has valid points. These various GOP governors who are showing opposition to the use of stimulus funds are the potential crop of primary contestants for the 2012 election. I respect their concerns that the stimulus will not be popular with their base voters, but as governors – their responsibilities extend to those constituents that also don't vote for them. It is therefore irresponsible on the part of these GOP governors to reject funds that could have an immediate impact on the lives of their citizens. The example alluded to in this thread about Jindal's possible rejection stimulus aid is also very clearly some blatant hypocrisy.

    February 20, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. Jadie

    Why are we focusing on this crap? All of a sudden everyone is insulted and offended with one thing or another.....it's starting to be very old. Let's move on to more important issues.

    February 20, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. sandy

    Rep Clyburn should inform the four govenors of those southern states that if they decide not to accept funds from the stimulous plan for their state, they need to "Take Note the Next Time the People Vote". This is no time to be playing political games with those of us who are hurting.

    February 20, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  6. myra

    This guy needs to get a life.

    February 20, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. MARK

    Drama King!

    February 20, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. Wal

    The only tax cut philosophy is bankrupting this great nation. All those governors are running huge deficits now.
    In the past eight years with republicans, there were only two things that mattered: Iraq and tax cut.
    We have now a president who put American first before ideology.

    February 20, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Jean2

    I admire Clyburn, he has the courage to address the issues. It is amazing how these governors from these poor states can grand stand and the media gives them a stage.

    Citizens of these states should be marching in the streets

    February 20, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. Chris

    To designate money per race is about as openly racist as possible. Since South Carolina has had that Lottery participation, there schools were supposed to get profits put into new schools. The only schools that receive money is not the ones in the worst condition, but the magnet schools, etc. SC people should pay for their schools, not the rest of the US. Quit taxing so much.

    February 20, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  11. Jac

    And, this is supposed to be a STIMULUS! Not a government handout to "spread the wealth around."


    February 20, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. Barf

    annie – Palin 2012 – you are an example of a "dummie". I love your denial of racism. So typical of a Palin supporter. You make me sick.

    February 20, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. Gabe Polson

    Let me just say this....Rep. Clyburn is the racist here. This is the second time he has injected race into the public forum. Perhaps he was asleep during the last election. He needs to go. No one with this view should be in leadership of the Democratic party.

    Why doesn't he look at the facts before he opens is mouth .He never has anything useful to say about anything. He is trying to widen the racial divide. His message is clearly the opposite of President Obama.

    Get real. African Americans are not the only ones who will suffer if the money does not get dispersed properly by the states. Stop putting labels on everything.

    We here you...you marched on Washington with Dr. King. Bravo. So did many others. Guess what....Millions of people from all races and all walks of life showed their courage and happily elected PResident Obama.

    Get off your power trip. Your words are very damaging.

    Time for you to go....take Pelosi with you. Now that is CHANGE!!!!!!!!!

    February 20, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  14. J.P.

    Producers, UNITE!

    Go all John Galt on the looters.

    Leave the moochers and looters wondering why we no longer choose to work for free, only to be financially sodomized for our efforts.

    February 20, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  15. tee


    February 20, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  16. mike

    So using your logic, proponents of the stimulus bill are insulting White-Americans.

    February 20, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  17. kristen

    He's not "playing the race card." He makes a statistically correct point. The people most likely to receive aid from the stimulus money in the 4 Deep South states that are pondering declining the stimulus money are the poor. Because of several centuries of horrendous racial inequity in the South, the poorest are typically black. He pointed this out. Anyone who says he's playing the race card is actually playing the race card. They're just trying to whip up pent-up white anger against blacks the same way they claim the basis of the mortgage crisis is because black people bought homes they couldn't afford. Conservatives are nasty, nasty citizens. They can have the Deep South.

    February 20, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  18. Vic

    First it was Attorney General Holder. Now it's Clyburn. Don't they know that as long as they keep these racist remarks before the public, the longer it will take for the races to come together? Here we are in the midst of a great beginning with President Barack Obama, and instead of these two building on this momentum, they come out and stoke the fires' embers. Please, you two, get on a positive track and let's see how we, black and white, can better work together for the good of all Americans.

    February 20, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  19. Jeff

    More proof that Clyburn's career has capitalized on sowing the seeds of division, and yes even hatred in between white and black America

    February 20, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. Pat CA

    OF COURSE we know that the so-called "stimulus" package is geared towards African Americans. Come on, get a clue, folks! Oh-oh, Holder will now call me a "racist." Too bad! It is what it is!

    February 20, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  21. Jeff

    What a bigoted raciest pig James Clyburn is by these statements! I'm sick and tired of blacks thinking they can be raciest and no one should object.

    February 20, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  22. Dave

    LOL – Holder calls people cowards fo not discussing race, but discussing a stimulus bill and opposing it, makes you a racist or insulting to black people?

    What a joke...

    Barf, until you can actually comprehend what you read you might not want to make comments that make you look ignorant, nowhere did "annie" deny racism, she questioned the playing of the race card.

    February 20, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  23. Amy

    Considering that most of the people criticizing Obama and his plan are career politicians in both parties and that the conservatives are really against him and his policies after only 30 days – Obama is doing something right. It's about time that lobbyists for both sides and politicians for both sides find out that it's not the same as always – they can whine and threaten all they want but this time no one is going to listen. It's what's best for the country and the average citizen, not people who make a living off the misery of others.

    Is the stimulus package the greatest? No. But it's better than anything else that has been offered and has to be done, especially considering the "non-spend" Republicans are the ones who put us in the biggest debt in history by... oh, wait... spending – but on their rich friends and an illegal war.

    February 20, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  24. MAD

    You know, if the Governors of the States with the highest populations of African Americans think that considering refusing to take Stimulus money for their states isn't an insult to black folks, they are delusional.

    I'm an African American woman who happens to have a decent job (right now) and will likely not see any of the stimulus money myself but I know scores of people who are in need of help and should get it.

    I live in the south and for anyone of those Governors to turn down a dime (where ever it comes from) would be a discrace and YES the people who would be harmed the most happen to be BLACK.

    Thank you Congressman Clyburn for calling them out.

    February 20, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  25. TOM

    The only slab in the face is the one Mr Clyburn should get. why is it that everything is about race? there are plenty of poor white people also. the point is, Sure some poor may benefit from this package now but everyone is going to have to pay it back sometime.

    February 20, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
1 2 3 4