The NY Times reports, Robert L. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, who is campaigning today in South Carolina with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, just made a suggestion that raised the specter of Barack Obama’s past drug use. He also compared Mr. Obama to Sidney Poitier, the black actor, in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”
At a rally here for Mrs. Clinton at Columbia College, Mr. Johnson was defending recent comments that Mrs. Clinton made regarding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She did not mean to take any credit away from him, Mr. Johnson said, when she said that it took President Johnson to sign the civil rights legislation he fought for
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)Dr. King had led a “moral crusade,” Mr. Johnson said, but such crusades have to be “written into law.”
“That is the way the legislative process works in this nation and that takes political leadership,” he said. “That’s all Hillary was saying.”
He then added: “And to me, as an African-American, I am frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues since Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood – and I won’t say what he was doing, but he said it in the book – when they have been involved.”
Moments later, he added: “That kind of campaign behavior does not resonate with me, for a guy who says, ‘I want to be a reasonable, likable, Sidney Poitier ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.’ And I’m thinking, I’m thinking to myself, this ain’t a movie, Sidney. This is real life.”
A former Clinton campaign official in New Hampshire had to resign last month after he publicly suggested that Republicans would probably use Mr. Obama’s drug use in his youth, which he first wrote about in his memoirs, against him.
Update: 5 p.m. Mr. Johnson just released this statement, through the Clinton campaign:
My comments today were referring to Barack Obama’s time spent as a community organizer, and nothing else. Any other suggestion is simply irresponsible and incorrect.
“When Hillary Clinton was in her twenties she worked to provide protections for abused and battered children and helped ensure that children with disabilities could attend public school.
That results oriented leadership — even as a young person — is the reason I am supporting Hillary Clinton.”
Update: 6:30 p.m. Bill Burton, an Obama campaign spokesman said: “His tortured explanation doesn’t hold up against his original statement. And it’s troubling that neither the campaign nor Senator Clinton — who was there as the remark was made – is willing to condemn it as they did when another prominent supporter recently said a similar thing.” More HERE
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