Tags: clyburn | chill | clinton

Black Leader Warns Clinton: Back Off Obama

Monday, 21 Jan 2008 11:33 PM

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn has a message for former President Clinton: "Chill a little bit" when it comes to Sen. Barack Obama.

The remark by Clyburn, one of the most powerful African-Americans in Congress, is the latest installment of an ongoing feud between the Clinton and Obama camps. The former president has accused Obama of overstating his opposition to the war in Iraq -- calling his version of events a "fairy tale" He also has suggested that union leaders in Nevada intimidated members into caucusing for Obama, and slammed the Illinois senator for praising former President Reagan in a newspaper interview.

Obama hit back on Monday, saying that Clinton "continues to make statements that aren't supported by the facts."

Clyburn joined the fray on Monday, telling CNN that Clinton's broadsides were unfair because a former president's viewpoint "carries with it extra weight."

"I think they would say in 'Gullah Geechee' country he needs to chill a little bit. I hope he understands what that means," Clyburn told CNN. "I can understand him wanting to defend his wife's honor and his own record, and that is to be expected. But you can't do that in a way that won't engender the kind of feelings that seem to be bubbling up as a result of this. He is revered in many sections of the African-American community, and I think he can afford to tone it down."

"Gullah Geechee" refers to African-Americans who live in South Carolina's Low Country region near the Atlantic coast.

Clinton's wife, Hillary, and Obama are locked in a tight battle for Saturday's key primary in South Carolina, where black voters make up roughly half the Democratic electorate in the state.

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