Clyburn hits Clintons on tactics

In interviews Thursday, the House Democratic whip, publicly neutral in the nomination race, delivered harsh criticisms of both Clintons.

By Alex Koppelman

Published April 25, 2008 2:23PM (EDT)

South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, the House Democratic whip, may be remaining neutral in the race for the Democratic nomination, but that doesn't mean he can't deliver some harsh criticism against both Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

In interviews Thursday, Clyburn castigated the Clintons on two fronts. He went after Bill Clinton for some of the remarks the former president has made during the race, calling his conduct "bizarre" and saying, "When he was going through his impeachment problems, it was the black community that bellied up to the bar. I think black folks feel strongly that that this is a strange way for President Clinton to show his appreciation."

He also criticized Hillary Clinton and her campaign, saying it seems as if she's trying to make Barack Obama unelectable. At the same time, he rejected suggestions Clinton should drop out of the race, saying, "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." Clyburn also discussed a theory he says he's hearing more -- he mentioned he'd heard discussion of it in South Carolina and on the floor of the House -- that Clinton is trying to ensure an Obama loss in November so she can run against John McCain in 2012.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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