Obama: "I bit my tongue" on Clinton

In a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, Barack Obama says he held back in criticizing his one-time rival, and that the party must focus on defeating John McCain.

Published June 26, 2008 5:49PM (EDT)

In a meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus last week, Barack Obama said he had held back from attacking Hillary Clinton during their primary fight, the Hill's Betsy Rothstein reports. "I bit my tongue many times. Many times. I bit my tongue many times during this campaign," Obama reportedly said, in response to comments from Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., a Clinton supporter who said that it will take time for the party to come back together after the divisive Clinton/Obama battle.

Rothstein also reports that Obama "expressed some frustration with claims that it is going to take some time for the party to mend its wounds," and said that the party could not afford to take the time, that it needs to come together immediately to defeat John McCain. "Look, Diane. John McCain, if he's elected, is going to pick a Supreme Court that will roll back every gain women have made in the last 50 years," Obama reportedly said to Watson.

From the article, it seems that Rothstein's source may very well have been one of the members of Congress present for the meeting. She notes that CBC chairwoman Carolyn Kilpatrick, D-Mich., had all staff members leave the room before the meeting started, and at the end of the article writes of two members present at the meeting who declined to comment, then says, "Other black lawmakers approached by The Hill also refused to go on record about what was said at the meeting." That phrasing leaves some wiggle room; most noticeably, it doesn't rule out the possibility that some of the other lawmakers approached discussed the meeting off the record or on background.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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