Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn thinks that President Obama’s prospects for re-election next year look good and are improving daily. But the South Carolina lawmaker also believes that race continues to be an obstacle for the nation’s first African-American president.
“People don’t like to deal with it,” he told McClatchy Newspapers, “but the fact of the matter is, the president’s problems are in large measure because of the color of his skin.”
Clyburn, 70, knows a thing or two about racism. As a young man he played an active role in the civil rights movement, and spent a night in jail after participating in a protest in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He cited the email depicting Obama and his parents as chimpanzees sent by Orange County Republican Central Committee member Marilyn Davenport as an example. She said that she did it for a laugh, but probably didn’t find the reactions to it funny.
Clyburn also pointed to the birther movement and questioned why nobody ever asked Sen. John McCain, the GOP’s 2008 presidential candidate, to produce his certificate.
“He wasn’t even born in this country,” Clyburn said of the Arizona lawmaker, who was born at a naval air station in the Panama Canal.
(Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESSAP)