In case you missed this weekend’s fireworks, Hillary Clinton went on “Meet the Press” and accused the Obama campaign of, among other things, distorting her Martin Luther King Jr. comments and agitating racial tension. Barack Obama dismissed the accusation as “ludicrous,” because, he said, he hadn’t even commented on Clinton’s remarks.
In another dust-up, Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson, while stumping for Clinton, made a thinly veiled reference to Obama’s admitted drug use: “As an African-American, I’m frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Bill and Hillary Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood that I won’t say what he was doing, but he said it in his book.”
He later insisted that his comment referred to “Obama’s time spent as a community organizer, and nothing else. Any other suggestion is simply irresponsible and incorrect.”
Are we to take it, then, that community organizing is an act so distasteful that it can’t be spoken of in public?
Needless to say, Obama wasn’t pleased.
It will be interesting to see how the Clinton camp handles the situation, given that during the same “Meet the Press” interview she said she had a zero-tolerance policy for offensive supporters.
Clinton on her MLK controversy and more:
Obama responds during a conference call:
The Clinton and Obama camps are locked in an increasingly heated battle for black voters in South Carolina, whose primary choices include the African-American senator and the wife of a man once nicknamed “the first black president.”
Former South Carolina state Rep. “I.S.” Leevy Johnson, an Obama supporter, called on Clinton to disavow Johnson’s remarks.
“It’s offensive that Senator Clinton literally stood by and said nothing as another one of her campaign’s top supporters launched a personal, divisive attack on Barack Obama,” he said in a statement released by Obama’s campaign. “For someone who decries the politics of personal destruction, she should’ve immediately denounced these attacks on the spot.”
Sunday’s flare-up capped a weekend of sparring between the two camps that began with Clinton’s comments last week that while Martin Luther King Jr. led the civil rights movement, “Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took a president to get it done.”