Posted Jan. 18, 2008 – BET founder and former CEO Bob Johnson says he’s sorry for what he said about Sen. Barack Obama last Sunday.
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"I'm writing to apologize to you and your family personally for the un-called-for comments I made at a recent Clinton event," Johnson said in a letter Obama. "In my zeal to support Senator Clinton, I made some very inappropriate remarks for which I am truly sorry. I hope that you will accept this apology. Good luck on the campaign trail."
Johnson also said he would attempt to reach out to Obama by telephone.
A longtime friend of the Clintons, Johnson ignited a firestorm when he alluded to Obama’s drug use as a young man, which the Illinois senator wrote about in his 1995 memoirs, “Dreams From My Father.”
At a rally in Columbia, S.C., on Sunday, Johnson said, "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 – and I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book – when they have been involved."
Initially, when critics blasted Johnson for comments they saw as inappropriate, Johnson said he meant that the “something” Obama was doing in the neighborhood was “community organizing,” not drugs. But Clinton, which felt the brunt of angry Black voters – whose support she is banking on to win the nomination – said that Johnson’s comments were ill-advised.
On Thursday, Johnson said he issued the apology of his own volition. He also said he did not mean to be hurtful but made the remarks “in haste in an attempt to be funny." Both Clinton and Obama have agreed to bury the hatchet following a war of words between spokesmen in both camps.
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