Clyburn: I never said the word “racism”!

posted at 9:22 am on May 27, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

James Clyburn wants a correction to the McClatchy report that quoted him as suggesting that a large component of opposition to Barack Obama’s re-election related to racism.  That’s not what the longtime member of House Democratic caucus leadership said at all, he asserted after Wednesday’s report.  In fact, he never uses the word “racism” because he abhors it.  Really.  No, really:

In a letter to the editor of The State newspaper in Clyburn’s hometown of Columbia, S.C., the No. 3 House Democrat said an article published Thursday had sensationalized his perspectives on the ties between Obama’s race and his work as president.

“I have always abhorred the word ‘racism,’ ” Clyburn said in the letter. “I never use it. I believe it is a lethal term, and I am offended that my honest responses to a reporter’s clearly designed agenda would be distorted in such a manner.”

Duly noted.  So what did Clyburn say to this agenda-driven reporter that got twisted into allegations of racism?  Well, McClatchy helpfully provides a transcript of the conversation in its follow-up report:

QUESTION: What do you think of Obama’s election prospects?

CLYBURN: I think they’re improving every day. I think the president has been a good president, a great commander in chief. I think when people allow themselves to — you know, I’m 70 years old. And I can tell you; people don’t like to deal with it, but the fact of the matter is, the president’s problems are in large measure because of his skin color. All you got to do is look at all the signs they’re carrying out there and look at the mail that I get. As I said, I’m 70 years old, I been going through this kind of stuff all my life. I know what kind of mail I get, I know what kind of phone calls I get, I know what people are saying who call the office.

QUESTION: How does that relate to the president?

CLYBURN: We have the same skin color; that’s how it relates to him.

How silly of this reporter!  Of course Clyburn meant from this musing on palettes and tone that economic malaise was Barack Obama’s biggest electoral problem.  Or perhaps these answers were meant as an allegory on the effects of shoving an unpopular health-care power grab down the throats of voters who clearly didn’t want it. It could also be a subtle hint of the anger created from Obama’s regulatory adventurism, his foreign-affairs gaffes and stumbles, or any number of other weaknesses Obama will carry into the election.

Or Clyburn could be lying through his teeth now, too, but let’s not jump to conclusions.  Let’s take a really close look at how this agenda-driven reporter framed the first question asked about Obama in the discussion, which started off with a conversation about deficit reform.  “What do you think of Obama’s election prospects?”  Obviously, this was some sort of leading question that forced Clyburn to jump immediately into a lengthy discourse on pigmentation!

What’s even more amusing is the rest of Clyburn’s complaint:

In his letter, Clyburn correctly noted that his interview hadn’t been arranged to discuss the influence of Obama’s race as the first black president.

True … and they didn’t ask Clyburn about that, either.  He couldn’t wait to volunteer racism — excuse me, skin color — as an excuse for Obama’s unpopularity.  Now Clyburn wants to pretend that the reporter played the race card, and that he was just a victim of manipulation, which is about as clear a case of projection as one can see.

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Maybe he meant “People with skin color like mine don’t make good presidents”?

Nah, that can’t be it either.

JamesS on May 27, 2011 at 2:39 PM

CLYBURN: We have the same skin color

No you don’t.

Ronnie on May 27, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Only a damn fool would be unable to see a direct positive correlation between skin color and race. Give it up Clyburn, you’ve already dug yourself into a hole that extends above your head.

rplat on May 27, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Clyburn: I never said the word “racism”!

And plenty of good people who never came close to saying anything racist have been destroyed because bast*rds like you look for a way to twist what they said, and label them ‘racists’.

You sir a-hole… are an a-hole.

RalphyBoy on May 27, 2011 at 3:41 PM

James Clyburn is an irrelevant douche bag.

Key West Reader on May 27, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Haha. I was just on a HuffPo thread (about Palin’s new house) where one of the compassionate lefties said he hoped the house would be a death trap for the kids, because we don’t need any new Palins.

I called him out for wishing death on a baby, and he said he never said that! And his original comment was right there above mine! What is with these leftoids! Do they think no one can read?

juliesa on May 27, 2011 at 4:37 PM

I recently had the dubious privilege of hearing John Lewis speak at Unitversity of Mary Washington’s commencement. As one of the Freedom Riders (billed as one of the top 6 figures, with MLK) he was the perfect ending to UMW’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides.

How many of those students know that he made up charges of being spit upon and called the “n” word as he walked to vote for that horrible health care law? Not many.

These people have no meaning in their lives without racism, and they will do everything possible to keep it alive.

disa on May 27, 2011 at 5:27 PM

These democrats are truly pathetic.

Zorro on May 27, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Greek Fire on May 27, 2011 at 10:22 AM

You made me homesick!

Bambi on May 27, 2011 at 6:42 PM

How many times do we have to hear this?

Keep accusing innocent people of something and before you know it…

IlikedAUH2O on May 27, 2011 at 6:53 PM

If not for ‘skin-colorism’ this fool would never have been elected. His intellect qualifies him for no more than a McDonald’s shift-manager, Table wiper if that.

slickwillie2001 on May 27, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Fixed it.

Slowburn on May 27, 2011 at 11:09 PM

It’s Clyburn and other mobsters that intimidate the rest of the black community to keep him in office. You can character assassinate him (with the truth), at great expense, and he’ll simply be replace by another mobster.

The good thing about Clyburn is he reminds us of how neurotic and unprincipled our opponents are. If we play by the “rules”, and they don’t, we will lose, and we will be stupid.

Warning: Don’t show up to a knife fight armed with a great argument.

KyserS on May 28, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Racists don’t generally use the term “racism” either.

unclesmrgol on May 30, 2011 at 12:46 AM

Clyburn is my congressman and he makes me cringe. But even the local Charleston SC paper (which endorsed this idiot and encouraged every voter in the circulation to vote for him) called him out on this weasel worded “skin color” not “racism” ploy. Here is a man without a portfolio as the minority party and in a “make work” job as “assistant” to whatever. Times have passed Clyburn by. I wish the voters here in SC would do the same. But wait . . . Clyburn is in a gerrymandered and protected district.

kens on May 30, 2011 at 9:08 PM