Rep. Davis to Bill Clinton: your political support will suffer
January 19th, 2011
11:34 AM ET
9 years ago

Rep. Davis to Bill Clinton: your political support will suffer

Chicago (CNN) - One of the Chicago's most well-known federal lawmakers has a harsh message for Bill Clinton: the former president hurt himself politically with African-Americans after he campaigned Tuesday for Rahm Emanuel's mayoral bid.

That's what Rep. Danny Davis said on Wednesday as he boarded a plane from Chicago en route to Washington.

"People have always – especially African-Americans for a long time – have regarded former President Clinton as a friend, political ally and as one whose goals and objectives may have been similar to theirs," Davis said. "And so I think that this will take away a bit. And there are individuals who have been former Clinton supporters who no longer will."

Davis said he does not believe Emanuel, former Obama White House Chief of Staff who also worked in the Clinton administration, will win the Chicago race. But should he, Davis said: "He will be good for some people." When pressed to explain, Davis said an Emanuel administration in Chicago will benefit insiders - not African-American communities.

CNN asked Davis if he'd expressed his belief with the former president himself.

"No, I have not attempted to speak with President Clinton," Davis said. "I think he understands full well. You know my father used to tell us something about this whole business of advice.He'd always say, 'A wise man don't need it. And a fool won't heed it.'And so, I think he [Clinton] knows the consequences. And would be willing to risk the consequences in order to accomplish something else."

Davis was also a candidate in the Chicago race. But he dropped out on December 31 and urged African-Americans to coalesce around former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley Braun, who is African-American.

When asked how he'd respond to critics who might say his criticisms of Clinton and Emanuel amount to sour grapes, Davis told CNN, "Sore loser? I'd say they dont know anything about Danny Davis. And their comments are irrelevant to me."

Though Davis is critical of Clinton's backing of Emanuel, he did offer some praise.

"I think he will continue to interact. And I think that his popularity will remain high," Davis said of the former president.

Emanuel's campaign refused to comment on Davis' statement.

soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. C Smith

    I am not sure how Clinton supporting someone who worked for him previously has anything to do with the African American community. Get over it.

    January 19, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. civility is cool

    It is obvious, from Rep. Davis' remarks, that President Clinton is supporting the right person for mayor of the great city of Chicago! Danny Davis (and I'm a long-time, former Chicago resident so I know from which I speak) has many time used the "race card" in his quest for power.

    January 19, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. joe smith

    we think, someone needs to appoint this man to head up the investigation (? ), on what happened to Jack Wheeler, Vince Foster, The D.C. Madam, and the now dead head of Freddie Mac; he sounds like a man who really could go digging, and get the real answers..

    January 19, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Jay Schechter

    I think Former President Clinton was foolish in getting involved in the Chicago Mayoral Campaign. It wasn't so much a slap at Danny Davis by supporting Emmanuel, but a slap at Carol Mosely Braun, who was a former Senator from Illinois as well as Ambassador during the Clinton Administration. He should stayed out of the campaign.

    January 19, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. Indie Woman in Denver

    I think this is unfair criiticism of Bill Clinton. Unless he's out there saying disparaging things about the other candidates who happen to be black, why should the fact that he supports Rahm say anything negative about his relationship with the black community? Bill doesn't even live in the state; he's just lending his name to an old ally. Rep Davis has a right to his opinion, but I respectfully disagree.

    January 19, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. Dave

    Yeah right. Bill Clinton is an ambassador for the world. You and Carol Mosley Braun are ambassadors for your local neighborhood. Who has more influence?

    Davis and Braun need to do a reality check. Braun owes her political life to Clinton for giving her the ambassadorship to New Zealand which she in turn tried to screw up. Clinton campaigned for Davis multiple times. The simple fact is that Clinton and Emanual are closer so he decided to support Rahm. These two need to stop playing the race card every time something does not go their way.

    January 19, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. Sniffit

    I call shenanigans. Someone call this moron up and inform him that he just gave whining semi-literate teatards an example they can actually legitimately point to of someone just out-and-out playing the proverbial "race card." The point, my dear Mr. Davis, is to keep their baseless, delusional talking points from actually mirroring reality and to avoid throwing anything into the ring they can club you with. What's probably most striking about it is how similar to the Teatards his rhetorical garbage sounds in that it is entirely baseless, delusional and waxes conspiratorial. Had he bothered to support his statements with facts, evidence, historical record of Emmanuel's behavior or stated policy positions, it might have been different, but as it is, I have two words for this moron: EPIC FAIL.

    January 19, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Son of CSM.Wiggins

    As a black man and a democrat . Shut up you old fool . Let Sarah P have the negative spot light . It's sad to say but race relations won't get better until some of these old folks die off sad but true

    January 19, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  9. Sherri W.W.#1~ILLinois

    I happen to adore our President,but it has nothing to do with him being black~or white.Just because Davis and CMB,are black,does not give them the best judgement to lead the A~American community~or anyone else,for that matter.Mr.Davis IS a sore loser,and R.E.has much more to bring to the job than does he,or Ms B.

    January 19, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Oh please! It's not like he is campaigning for a Republican or against the President.

    January 19, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Former President Clinton wouldn't be there supporting Rham if he didn't know the political risk of a Democrat losing to a Republican, Braum would lose. For blacks to support Carol Moseley Braum just because she's black isn't going to happen, we know more about politics than we are given credit and Davis needs to understand that.

    January 19, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. JonC

    Danny Davis has no possible way of winning the Mayoral election. That is why Clinton endorsed Emanuel. And to expect him to back Davis just because of skin color is absurd. That is the main problem with Davis, its always black and white with that guy. He lacks the ability to take a strong stance on real political issues.

    January 19, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  13. vic nashville tn

    President Obama will endorse Rahm Emanuel. Will he say same thing to Obama ?

    January 19, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. betterdays

    Well, at least he's being honest. As far as African-Americans are concerned, if there's an African-American candidate, that's all you need to know to make your decision. And if you vote or campaign for the other candidate, you're blacklisted (so to speak). End of story.

    January 19, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. Beverly - NYC

    Former Presient Clinton is free to campaign for anyone , just like the people of Chicago can give their one vote to the person of their choice. Mr. Davis' threats have no weight, Pres. Clinton isn't runnning for anything so he doesn't have to worry about the "black" vote. It's not his fault, Mr. Davis that you hitched your wagon to Braun, probably for some quid pro quo that you see slipping away when she looses.

    January 19, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. ladybug

    Davis, just stop it. Don't stoop to this type of low and embarass us as a people. You are wrong. We are not all thinking "just like you". We have minds of our own.

    January 19, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. GOP = Greed Over People

    Sorry, chum, but it does appear that "sour grapes" were not planted just on the right side of the aisle.

    January 19, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Bill Clinton will be fine. His support will drop a bit for a time, but it will return after the election in Chicago.

    January 19, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. Kevin

    Representative Davis has no problem with supporting a group of insiders, he just wants it to be those insiders with whom he has a closer working relationship. And frankly Carole Moseley Braun isn't the person you want to portray as the face of "Black Chicago." She's been taking from her campaign coffers for a long long time.

    January 19, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. w.buchanan

    I'm african american and l'm actually insulted by this article. I admire Clinton and so he decided to give his support to someone who in his mind may be a good choice. I honestly cannot stand how other african americans make this into a race issue where in this situation it is not. That was just a really cheap shot.

    January 19, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  21. Dave, Central Illinois

    Democrat meltdown! The chickens have come home to roost!!!!

    January 19, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Bill

    Davis is just mad that Clinton threw his support behind Rahm, which essentially ended any slim chance Davis had of winning the nomination. As far as Clinton turning his back on the black community, give me a break. If you look at the polling, you'd see that Rahm only trailed Davis by one point in terms of support of the black community. As well, Davis' support of Moseley-Braun could be considered turning his back on the black community. The woman has horrible tax issues, and much like her previous run for the Democratic nomination for president, isn't a viable candidate. Davis' throwing of his support behind her does a disservice to not only the black community, but also all Chicagoans.

    January 19, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. Former Republican - Now Independent

    No. 1 – Who cares if Bill Clinton's support drops? HE ISN"T RUNNING FOR OFFICE ANYMORE.
    No. 2 – Carol Mosely Braun is INCOMPETENT! She was a lousy senator, a mediocre ambassador, and her record as a business woman is laughable.

    That doesn't mean that I would back Emmanuel, he is just as much of a chump as Richie Daley.

    I want the GOP to run a viable alternative to these yo-yos.

    January 19, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. ErikS

    Like Clinton EVER cared anyway. It's so funny, blacks never mattered to Clinton or the Democrats until election time, wake up already and quit crying.

    January 19, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. marty

    Secretary Clinton lost a lot of support to President Obama when they were presidential candidates. And, after she was defeated, she graciously put country first by accepting a position in Obama's administration. Like her husband Bill, she is a team player , putting the concerns of regular Americans first and foremost. Hopefully, Chicagoans will do the same.

    January 19, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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