Dem warns Bill Clinton: Back off
December 29th, 2010
08:45 AM ET
12 years ago

Dem warns Bill Clinton: Back off

(CNN) – Rep. Danny Davis, a Democrat from Illinois and mayoral candidate in Chicago has a message for former President Bill Clinton: Butt out.

Davis, a onetime ally of Clinton's, issued a strongly worded statement Tuesday, in which the Chicago Democrat said he is "seriously concerned and disturbed" by the news Clinton plans to throw his weight behind ex-Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and make a campaign stop in the Windy City next month.

"The African American community has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Clintons, however it appears as though some of that relationship maybe fractured and perhaps even broken should former President Clinton come to town and participate overtly in efforts to thwart the legitimate political aspirations of Chicago's Black community," Davis said in the statement.

The pushback from a prominent member of the black community echoes that which greeted Clinton in 2008 as he campaigned on behalf of his wife, a presidential candidate at the time battling then-Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton - long a popular figure in the black community - saw his approval numbers sink among that demographic as he took sharp aim at Obama and questioned the freshman senator's competancy to sit in the Oval Office, sometimes in terms conceived as particularly harsh.

Clinton's office has not responded to Davis' comments.

The former president's windy city appearance, announced last week by Emanuel's campaign, would be his first campaign stop since the November midterm elections.

Emanuel served in the Clinton White House for five years before serving as an Illinois congressman and Obama's top aide, a post he left earlier this year to run for mayor.

The Chicago Board of Elections ruled Thursday that he is in fact a Chicago resident, and therefore his name may remain on the ballot for the February 22 election.

According to a recent poll, Emanuel is garnering close to 44 percent of support from likely Chicago voters while Davis is far back at 7 percent.

UPDATE: The Chicago Sun Times' Lynn Sweet reports that Carol Mosely Braun, a former ambassador to New Zealand under Clinton and now a candidate for mayor in Chicago, is also calling on the former president to back off.

Her statement:


"Bill Clinton is an outsider parachuting in to support another outsider. Rahm's residency status continues to be challenged in court. It's not yet clear that he will be on the ballot. At the same time former president Clinton risks his legacy and the great respect that he has enjoyed among African Americans by coming to Chicago to endorse Rahm Emanuel who is running for mayor against two black candidates.

"Clinton should remember New Hampshire where he called Barack Obama's opposition to the war in Iraq 'a fairy tale.' He was wrong.

"Clinton should remember South Carolina where he played the race card painting Obama as "the black candidate". Again he was wrong. Bill Clinton will be wrong again if he gets involved in the Chicago mayoral contest. He should stay home and avoid the cold."

soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Shannon

    Doesn't Mr Clinton have a right to campaign for who he wants.....

    December 29, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. Sherri W.W.

    I am not sure that I understand why this Mr.Davis thinks he has a right to tell Mr.Clinton~or anyone else,for that matter,not to come to Chicago,to campaign for whom ever!?~Rahm Emanuel was in Mr.Clintons`cabinet for several years,so it would seem a natural thing to me. Also,with this Mr.Davis holding just 7%of the likely vote,it hardly seems possible that he would win,no matter what happens!

    December 29, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. StoopidIzAzStoopidDuz

    ...or maybe former President Clinton thinks Rhom would be a better fit for the job...Why do you have to pull the race card, Danny Davis? Attempting to ride President Clinton's coat tails into office makes you look lazy and uncredible. Tell the city what you will do for them, not what Clinton is or is not doing for your campaign, and then branding it as a move against the black community. Stop making it an issue of black vs. white. None of us, white, black, hispanic, asian, whatever, will ever get the equality that we strive for if we keep pulling the race card when race has N-O-T-H-I-N-G to do with it!

    December 29, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. Michael-Angelo

    Wow, Danny Davis is being acting like a racist with his ignorant comment to Clinton, that's one of the problems in this country. It doesn't matter what race a candidate is, the only thing that matters is who will do a better job.

    December 29, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. hellzyeah

    What, Clinton can't back someone he used to work with because it would "hurt the efforts of the Black community" to get in power? What kind of clown logic is that? Davis, you are not owed a damn thing politically because you and your supporters are black.

    December 29, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. Oy Vey Az

    Shame on Representative Davis. President Clinton should show up and campaign their ears off. If for no other reason than to tweek overt racist noses. Shame shame shame Representative Davis, If you can't work and play with others you should take up something else ... like solitaire maybe ?

    December 29, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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