Top House Democrat denounces Clinton campaign tactics

April 24, 2008

WASHINGTON – “Scurrilous” and “disingenuous” were among the words a top Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives used on Thursday to describe Hillary Clinton’s campaign tactics in her bid to defeat Barack Obama for their party’s presidential nomination.

House Democratic Whip James Clyburn, of South Carolina and the highest ranking black in Congress, also said he has heard speculation that Clinton is staying in the race only to try to derail Obama and pave the way for her to make another White House run in 2012.

rtr1w3w5.jpg“I heard something, the first time yesterday (in South Carolina), and I heard it on the (House) floor today, which is telling me there are African Americans who have reached the decision that the Clintons know that she can’t win this. But they’re hell-bound to make it impossible for Obama to win” in November, Clyburn told Reuters in an interview.

Obama holds a sizable lead in delegates won in state-nominating contests which could be hard for her to overcome.

The purported theory is that an Obama defeat in November against Republican presidential candidate John McCain would let Clinton make another presidential bid in four years, Clyburn said.

Clyburn has not yet declared whether he supports Clinton or Obama. But in January, he raised his concerns about the heated exchanges between the two campaigns before the South Carolina primary.

On Thursday, Clyburn took Clinton and surrogates to task, complaining that they want the popular votes in Michigan and Florida counted, even though both states violated party rules for the early scheduling of their nominating contests.

“I think it’s so disingenuous … (adviser James) Carville and Sen. Clinton were all on TV. I’ve seen them two or three times this week, talking about counting Florida and Michigan.”

Obama did not campaign in those states because the Democratic Party said Florida and Michigan wouldn’t be included in the formal tally for the nomination. “Her name was the only one on the ticket in Michigan and still 42, 43 percent of the vote was against her,” Clyburn said.

Still, Clyburn said “I don’t think she ought to drop out.”

But he added, “There’s a difference between dropping out and raising all this extraneous scurrilous stuff about the guy (Obama). Just run your campaign … you don’t have to drop out to be respectful of other people.”

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

- Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Clyburn with presidential candidates at a debate in January)


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Obama and his supporters are making this about race, not the Clintons. Obama is on the ropes because he’s a phony and the country is opening its eyes to him finally. Hillary has proven how tough she is and Obama folds like a cheap lawn chair. He won’t even do another debate. I want a strong President who will fight! Hillary.

NObama! Hillary ’08

Posted by Melsg | Report as abusive

Matthew, PS Major, CA

Come on Matthew! Please, Hill Clinton a moderate? Since when? I know you must have researched her history. She is a socialist and marxist at best. She has disdain for this country and the foundations on which it has been built. And don’t get caught up in the numbers regarding 3 to 1 ratios in PA. Clinton has spent over a $1.10 for every dollar her campaign has raised, while Obama has spent $.75 of every dollar raised. You may want Clinton as a financial advisor, but not most of us (citizens).

Posted by De | Report as abusive

Race relations in this country will never be the same, and it will hardly matter who gets the Dumb-ocrat nomination. Congratulations Dimmies and drive-by media. You scholars set the table with two artificial candidates, i.e. Another Clinton and Hussein Obama, and now all the morons are feasting. Remember: The only thing that can destroy a democracy is democracy. We’re on our way. . . .

Posted by Doc Savage | Report as abusive

Not the first time. IMHO the Clinton’s influenced Gavin Newsom’s initiative to start marrying gays four years ago. This mobilized the republican base, tanked Kerry, and set the stage for Hillary 2008. Something pretty big must have been promised for the sleazy little man in a second Clinton administration.

Posted by fred | Report as abusive

come on all you democrats. your goal in life is to keep slavery alive. let go of the black people, set them free, tell them that the democrats tried to fight to keep slavery legal. tell them that the republicans were the ones that died to give them freedom. and by the way, the only party that has a problem counting votes is the democrat party. socialism has failed every place it has been tried. let go of oppression and live free.

Posted by virg | Report as abusive

That’s all Obama needs- more blacks ranting and raving about the unfairness of it all. In just a few short weeks, the man Americans first saw as a leader who transcended race, has now become just another Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. After this election, Barack will be lucky to hold on to his Senate seat.

Posted by jimboster | Report as abusive

I AM DISAPPOINTED IN THIS RACE. People dislike Barak at this point because of someone else’s statements. Please at least he is forth coming, and he tries to apologize for others errors. He tries to stick up for the middle class but, he is crucified for mixing up his words. He grew up poor, mother trying to live check to check trying to survive but, they are trying to label him. Do you really want a liar in office??? SHE AND HER HUSBANDS LIE TO GET WHAT THEY WANT… DO YOU REALLY WANT MORE TRICKS OR FUNNY BUSINESS IN THE WHITEHOUSE???

• White water
• Sniper fire
• Monica


Please give the man a chance…

the ONLY response Obama should be giving to the issue of Florida and Michigan should be:

“If Hillary cannot even follow the rules laid out by her OWN party, how can she be trusted to uphold the laws of the nation.”

Posted by matt | Report as abusive

The race card has only been played by the Obama campaign and the media. And the cogressman needs to realize there are just as many excited voters on the Clinton side, more in fact than on the Obama side, before he says anyone is being devisive.

Posted by Ryan | Report as abusive

After 15 years of worshipping the Clintons blacks suddenly abandon them. Now thats Scurilous.

Posted by Dennis D | Report as abusive

DAM!!!! What in the hell is wrong with all of you!! I can not believe we are this F@#$% up. WE ARE ALL DEMOCRATES. When will stop allowing the Republicans [FOX NEWS]to divide our party. We need get away from this stupid childish BS that only serves to keep the oil cartel stankin rich.While our kids continue to fight the Republicans 100 year occupation. I guess your love for your Canidates supeceeds food rationing,recessions, supreme court appointments,illegal wire taps,$4.00′s a gallon,unafforable healthcare, 50% drop out rate, global warming,trillion dallor debt and counting, a weak dollar,a weak image, a weak infostructure, weak trade treaty, a weak and Dangerous Foreign policy, and over stressed military. Oh yea. A crumpy old man with a nasty Attitude the media darling. I.E. Rev wright= Rev Hagee.Nothing said? Bosina= “I would of landed air force one in new New Orleans”.I was too busy eatting Cake! Nothing said? Yea we love Obama or Hillary so much nothing else matters!!!!!

Posted by illstorm | Report as abusive

Ever notice when a certain groug is losing, they always fallback to “They against us”, whether true or not. Mr. Cliburn–just simply practice some honesty and admit that you have been opposed to the All American Girl HRC and stop looking foolish by pretending that you’re uncommitted. When compared to Bill Clinton, you are considered to be a midget, with zero respect and loyalty. Just shut up, go away and let the 50 States pick their nominee for President of the USA.

Posted by Cart | Report as abusive

It is interesting to see that the same gang that instigated and profited from the Class Wars of the 1900′s, America’s Urban Rebellion in the 1960′s, the Religious Wars of the 2000′s and many other conflicts and war including the Spanish-American War, is using their control of the media to instigate another Urban Rebellion in America.

It is sad that most people are hardwired to assign more validity to what they read and hear, than to correlations between causes and effects that affect their future and the future of their children.

As can be seen from many posts in this thread, the War-for-Profit Gang continues to control the minds of most Americans.

Posted by Tom Potter | Report as abusive


Frist I would like to say you made an excellent response. Let me elaborate a little further on my previous comments. Compared to Obama she is a moderate. Obama is as liberal as they get, that is why Ted Kennedy endorsed him. Of course both candidates are very liberal and true democrats, but going up against McCain, Clinton will stand a better chance to get the moderate votes along with the independent votes. That is going to be the key to this election.

I also agree, Clinton defiantly has Neo Marxist values in her policies. There is no question about that. However, so does McCain, and the past three presidential administrations, especially Bill Clinton…in fact he embraced much of those beliefs in his policies. Unfortunately the democrats had no choice but to adopt some Marxist values because Neo Liberalism alone was not enough to retain political power. If Obama get elected, he too will adopt some of those values because the global economy is dependent on it.

As for the spending, you are correct that Hillary hasnt managed her funds as well as Obama. She needs to hire better accountants :P However, when looking at the bottom line, she is getting outspent by Obama financially simply because Obama has more money and has that flexibility. It reminds me of the Yankees and Red Sox, who always overspend to put the best team on the field. Both teams are having extraordinary success and are dominating the game. These same theories applies to politics. Obama is trying to smother her campaign with cash. Personally, if it was up to me, I put spending/income stipulations on campaigns so stuff like this doesnt happen. Its one thing to buy a world series ring, but its another thing to buy the white house. :)

For me the bottom line is this. I love listening to Obama’s speeches and I have enjoyed his campaign…refreshing to say the least, but he hasn’t proved to me yet on how he is going to change politics. Politics doesn’t change, has never changed, just the tactics used to achieve political goals have changed. Obama has not layed out a solid gameplan on what he will do if elected, Clinton has. Agree or disagree with Clinton, she has been better prepared in her policies comapared to Obama. Regardless who is nominated, both candidates will bring significant change to the white house, and that is what matters most.

Excellent responses….much better than the biased opinions and stories I read on CNN. At least here, the arguments are more articulated and much more evenly balanced. :D

Posted by Matthew, Political Science Major, CA | Report as abusive

The majority in America believe that the primary reason why blacks want obama to win is because they think he will be able to do more for them than past presidents. They believe because he is the same color that he embraces their culture. He doesn’t. He is working toward elitist status in American society. According to Shelby Steele he is the best “bargainer” American government programs have produced. Statistically, there are more blacks being supported with government funds/tax dollars now than at any time past. Why is this? Do they really think the American government will give them more? It’s not happening and if they keep up their demands we will have another 4 to 8 years of the GOP running the country. Politics truly is, as Bill Clinton defines is, a dirty business.

Posted by linda in cincinnati | Report as abusive

It’s always interesting to read the comments that come from some white people who are quick to label an African-American person who claims something as racist. The inherent racism in these person’s thoughts eludes them.

For instances, Manny says Congressman Clybourn is a “black fanatic.” Just how is Clybourn fanatical? Because he has drawn a conclusion that is shared by many white commentators but since he’s “black” he must be a fanatic, devoid of intellect to draw a conclusion? The basis of Manny’s statement is that if a black person views something as racist unless he, Manny, or some non-blacks, sees it as racist, it isn’t. Wow! What brilliant logic!

Lesley from Vancouver claims that African-Americans are racist for not voting for the Clintons. Amazing! First, African-Americans are not one solid, mono-thinking group of people. They are individuals who make up their minds. Lesley is quick to dehumanize African-Americans, taking away their individuality and ability to make cogent decisions. Moreover, Lesley believes that unlike others, African-Americans should vote robotically for the Clintons because of past perceived good works. African-Americans are therefore enslaved to the Clintons even if they find a candidate who is smarter, less scandal plagued, has a better vision for the country, etc.

But for Lesley and people like her, demonizing African-Americans for not possessing slave-minded views of loyalty is horrific. How dare “black people” not behave as Lesley wants them to do so! Screw democracy and free will, those “black people” need to learn their place and vote for the Clintons!

Again, the racism of commenters who insist that anyone who is “black” that doesn’t vote for the Clintons is a “black racist” is ludicrous and reveals the commenters’ very bigoted thought processes.

Got news for Lesley, Manny, and people like them: African-Americans are human beings, able to process data and determine conclusions as individuals. The continued assumption that all African-Americans must be automatons who must think and act in a determined is patently racist.

Lesley & Manny, do you question the white American Democrats who hold anti-Clinton feelings to the same standard? Do you call white Democrats, like John Aravois, Arianna Huffington, Steven Weber, and others, as “white fanatics” for believing the Clinton campaign has engaged in race-baiting to win votes? Do you condemn white women for not voting for Clinton?

In the last debate, Hillary Clinton admitted that she knowingly lied about dodging sniper fire in Bosnia. Do you think that maybe some African-Americans don’t want to vote for an admitted liar?

On the one hand, people like Manny and Lesley are willing to view the Clintons as victims and provide them with unflappable sympathy and support. On the other hand, when African-Americans explain that they are being subjected to racism, the Mannys and Lesleys decry the embracing of victim-hood. This kind of double standard, applying rules differently to whites and blacks, has been the basis of racism in America for generations.

Only someone who has not dealt with racism can so flippantly use the term “race card,” deliberately disparaging the victims of racism and making them into the victimizers! It’s sort of like condemning victims of rape for saying they have been raped. Their accusation automatically makes them deserving of rape and somehow cynical. The rapist becomes the hero merely by being accused while the victim becomes a cynical, slut.

Mannys and Lesleys, the fact is that purely by the numbers, in terms of popular vote and delegates, Obama has beaten Clinton. There is no way for her to win unless she steals the nomination. Pretending that the Clintons have not relied on race-baiting to win mirrors the Clintons’ cynicism.

Posted by Ferdinand | Report as abusive

Well, it’s coming up a contest in a state with a high African American population so time for the black politicians to make up some phoney race thing about Hillary Clinton. Trying to make Obama unelectable so she can run in 2012? Oh, yeah, go through this campaign hell just to keep Obama from winning so she can run in four years and then go through this hell again? If the African American community is dumb enough to swallow that whole, then I have no sympathy for them at all whatsoever! Fortunately, there have already been AA’s saying that Clyburn is not authorized to speak for them. Clyburn, you can fool some of the people some of the time….but you can’t fool the whole AA community all of the time.

Posted by judyr | Report as abusive

I find is amazing, that it that’s HRC, her mother, daughter, Bill the Rep. Party, their candidate and the media to try to stop this man…. The only problem I see here is that all these groups see that those non-groups of color are all wrong? But he is still there isn’t he? In PA he closed a 33-point lead down to 9, and he did this without paying the $550,000 they were trying to distort from Obama to get out the vote… You can spin it anyway you want, but that a win! He not a prefect man, but he is a child of God! And I believe it’s his time and all those young people who support him… They are living the 21st century and not the 19th or 20th like most of the people who want to maintain the status quo! Being a great nation is much more then having the biggest bombs, guns and being the biggest bully on the block! But that sounds too much like right! I want the nation to be one; I want the war to end and the boyz to come home now (and yes, I was a big supporter of the war) I want too proud of my country and all it’s people! I want my country to be proud of me as a black man and not fear me just based on the color of my skin? And the only way this will happen is when we as a nation turn away from race bate politics HRC is running. A nation that judges a person for who they are not who they know or have known! Anyone who will say doing or sale his or her soul to win like this is a blood sport. Don’t really understand the price we are all going to have to pay… Do you really want to revert back to 50 60 ears ago? Are we really willing to scarify our children’s future to refight old battles? Because they make good sound bits that sales and puts more money in that 1% who run the country while we fight over thing that not going to pay our bills? Put food or roof over our heads? Pay the college bills? Keep our jobs from being shipped over seas, keeping out streets safe? Have you seen the news: NYPD shots a man 50 times with no gun! Nearly 40 people gun down is the street of Chicago in 10 days! 21 people on death row in IL Should have not been there. And this is the one that get’s me, Bill and wife been on the hill for 16 years! And you still don’t have a health care bill??? What make’s you think by you becoming President we are going to get? NATFA, that put millions of workers out of work as well as busted the union and Bill and HRC; CAFTA, that will put what’s left out of work! Columbia, did not give Mark Penn $300,000 and Bill $800,000 just because they like them? This is the first time we have a chance to have a say, we can take it or keep looking back at the past for answer, which has not and will not come in our life time or a our kids! We as a nation need to brake with the past so that our kid can have a future!!! Just my option, and like every one else…

Posted by Moses56 | Report as abusive

How can anyone from the so-called “working class” not see through the artifice of the Clinton myth? I am not a wealthy, Birkenstock-wearing elitist yet I am an Obama supporter ALL THE WAY. It both amuses and irks me when I hear that the majority of Obamians are latte’ drinkers and erudite intellectuals. When Hillary Clinton was in my New Hampshire neighborhood where do you suppose I encountered her? An upscale coffee shop which caters to latte’ lovers. The attacks against Obama are so blatant, over the top, and media-supported (I could name a certain cable news outlet which boasts of its trust factor). Do the majority of U.S. citizens no longer have the ability to think critically (instead of simply BEING critical)or sort out truth from LIES? In the recently televised Compassion Forum Obama actually ANSWERED the questions, responding thoughtfully and eloquently while the content of the OTHER participant’s verbiage seemed to this viewer to be hollow. I, I, I, me, me, me….and supposedly 35 years of I, I, I, me, me, me…who needs it?!?

Posted by Stephen Parker | Report as abusive

I’ve read more than 50% of the above comments made by many americans and I say enough of the BS about race. This country appears to be moving backwards with this bickering back and fourth. Martin Luther King gave his life to bring blacks and whites together for a formidable cause, and I’m proud to say I have many white friends today that I love and care for dearly. I’m a black 60 year old women who is/was crazy about the former president and his wife Hillary, especially after she became a NYS senator, as is/was many blacks in mind & other communities Dirty campaign tactics have never been my forte and it turns off many people, both black and white. When are we all going to come together for a just cause? Lets get down to the real issues affecting this country.

Regarding 911, no one could have been more upset than I was, having previously worked in the WTC in NYC. The thought of the many mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, children, brothers and sisters losing loved ones on 911 was so heart wreching for me especially since I had the opportunity to meet a lot of them having been a Workers comp Hearing Representative. Secretly It was difficult to hold back the tears. I met this one white woman who had six children, I think she said all girls, and after hearing her story, I escorted her out the building (Workers Comp Board) – it was lunch time – hugged her and cried with her over her losing her husband, & her children losing their father. I could’nt begin to imagine what she and her family was going through. She also showed me many pictures of her children who had losed their dad, which made it even more difficult for me to hold back the tears. I also lost a friend that I grew up with who was a firefighter. I know the pain his wife and family went through. It is my hope that we all come together & go to the polls and vote for the person that we think will bring this country together, and deal with the economy and the ills that are affecting our lives and the lives of people all over the whole world.

We have all lost our civil liberties after 911. There are cameras everywhere. It is not that I oppose the surveillance, there are many places that need it, terroism is real. However, our foreign policies needs change for all of us, and our soldiers need to come home. The jobs that have been farmed out to many other countries leaving so many americans without jobs needs to be returned to the US. So come on america, lets stop the bickering over race and what others have to say about our candidates and get down to business.

Posted by Carol | Report as abusive

Obama is going to win and mccain supporters are getting scared. They’ve been scared of him from the beginning. America doesnt want or need a 3rd term of bush, and mccain is bush’s little brother,

Posted by Burn | Report as abusive