The highest-ranking African-American in Congress became the latest black leader to scold former president Bill Clinton over his comments and conduct during the campaign.
James Clyburn, a congressman from South Carolina, said in today's New York Times that "black people are incensed" over Clinton's behavior, which he called "bizarre." He said while blacks stood by the former president during his impeachment, Clinton's conduct might have caused an irreparable estrangement.
Clinton was pilloried for comparing Barack Obama's sweeping victory in the South Carolina primary to Jesse Jackson's win there in 1988 -- a comparison that many black leaders saw as a dismissal of Obama's historic candidacy. On Monday, Clinton told a Philadelphia radio station that the Obama campaign had played the "race card" against him, then later seemed to deny he had said it though it was on tape.
Asked about Clyburn's comments, Obama said today that he does not believe in "irreparable breaches. "I am a big believer in reconciliation and redemption," he told reporters while campaigning in Indiana.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.