Two Black S.C. legislators back Hillary

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By JIM DAVENPORT

The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 13, 2007; 4:23 PM

(AP) Two key black political leaders in South Carolina who backed John Edwards in 2004 said Tuesday they are supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

State Sens. Robert Ford and Darrell Jackson told The Associated Press they believe Clinton is the only Democrat who can win the presidency. Both said they had been courted by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama; Ford said Obama winning the primary would drag down the rest of the party.

“It’s a slim possibility for him to get the nomination, but then everybody else is doomed,” Ford said. “Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose — because he’s black and he’s top of the ticket. We’d lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything.”

“I’m a gambling man. I love Obama,” Ford said. “But I’m not going to kill myself.”

Ford said he was swayed by calls from former President Clinton and Hillary Clinton. The Charleston lawmaker said she has solid support in his district, one of the key regions in the state with a major black Democratic voting population.

Clinton’s campaign said it welcomed the lawmakers’ support, but disagreed with Ford’s contention that Obama could harm a Democratic ticket. “I think it’s just flat-out wrong,” said spokesman Mo Elleithee.

One Obama ally rejected Ford’s assessment.

“I think that Senator Ford’s comments were reprehensible,” said Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. “I believe Democratic prospects would soar, not slump.”

Later in the day, Ford said he had been besieged by criticism and apologized for his characterization of Obama’s chances. If Clinton doesn’t win the nomination, any of the other candidates are well suited to take the White House, Ford said.

“If I caused anybody — including myself — any pain about the comments I made earlier, then I want to apologize to myself and to Senator Obama and any of his supporters,” Ford said.

Darrell Jackson, who also is the minister of a large church in the state’s capital city, said Edwards — a South Carolina native who won the state’s Democratic primary three years ago — had his chance.

“I feel as if he’s had his opportunity,” he said.

Darrell Jackson said Edwards was a wonderful individual and he considers Obama a friend, but Clinton “is our best shot.”

John Moylan, campaign director for Edwards in South Carolina, shrugged off the defections and predicted Edwards would win the state.

The endorsements come just days before Obama and Clinton campaign in the state for the first time in the 2008 race.

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7 thoughts on “Two Black S.C. legislators back Hillary

  1. rikyrah

    AS IF Hillary Clinton is going to win South Carolina in the general election..

    or ANY Southern State outside of the possibility of Virginia.

    Spare me.

    I want people to prove to me that Hillary will win any state that they say Barack can’t.

    I want them to show me HOW she wins, as Chris Matthews calls em, ‘ the Midwestern blue collar, gun toting White male’ PA, OH, MI) that Hillary just upsets by her very existence.

    Riddle me that, SB.

  2. dblhelix

    rikyrah:

    VA: very tough. GOP in prez elections since ’64. Only a white conservative male Dem can take it, I think.

    Any Southern state? How about Arkansas? Perhaps Florida (see below).

    The Midwestern states — unfortunately, the pollsters aren’t doing all possible match-ups (like Obama vs Giuliani, for example) consistently — just top Dem contenders vs McCain. Note — state poll results pre-date Obama’s announcement (polling range below results).

    PA: McCain 46 HRC 45
    McCain 47 Edwards 42
    McCain 46 Obama 39
    (2/1 – 2/5)

    MI: McCain 43 HRC 46
    McCain 40 Edwards 45
    McCain 39 Obama 44
    (1/28 – 1/31)

    OH: McCain 42 HRC 46
    McCain 41 Edwards 44
    McCain 41 Obama 38
    (1/23 – 1/28)

    FL: McCain 43 HRC 47
    McCain 43 Edwards 42
    McCain 42 Obama 40
    (1/29 – 2/4)

    Obviously this is going to bounce around like crazy over the next year.

    Of course, I don’t think the SC legislators based their endorsements on any data out there …

  3. These two are a reflection of the sad state of black elected officials on any level: local/city/county, state or federal. They are part of that old method of crowing for the white liberal who promises them the most crumbs and photo-ops. That said, Obama sort of pulled that with Daley. But you know, he’s likely telling the black folks in Chicago, you two-faced colored folks love me now, but when I was running against Bobby Rush I was some sort of Harvard elitist with light skin and who used proper diction; Daley was there for me when y’all dumb spooks abandoned me, now I’m there for him. It all balances out, though I feel what these two bammas did in SC was a bit more puzzling…

  4. dblhelix

    these two bammas did in SC was a bit more puzzling …

    I didn’t find it puzzling, one way or the other.

    I admit that I’m a bit uncomfortable with “Obamamania”. Still processing, but I didn’t see these glassy-eyed folks rushing to support Mfume this summer despite his politics on every issue — the war, single-payer health insurance, social etc were almost a perfect fit for the “progressives”. No slouch as a speaker, either.

    One difference between the two: Mfume’s campaign slogan was “It’s Our Turn to Lead,” on every piece of lit, web site etc — b/c in MD, despite almost 40 yrs of Dem supermajorities and despite 40% of the Dem primary vote being Black, we’ve never elected a Black senator, only congressmen in VRA districts.

    After the primary, it was clear that all the top positions would go to white males, so the PGC delegation made moves to promote a former delegate to state treasurer (would require majority vote in the legislature.) Here is what was published in the paper:

    Political consultant Wayne Clarke said the legislature is not prepared to elevate a black man to the position of treasurer.

    ‘‘I don’t think they’ll do it,” he said. ‘‘I think we’re all interested in world peace, but it’s not gonna happen right now.”

    No different from what those SC pols said. So one possibility is that these two decided they’d get more out of the deal by going with the Clintons. I can believe that. On the other hand, I can also believe that they’re reminding folks that racism in America is still a problem for most — and not so fast with the new “colorblind” society where we can now sweep race under the rug due to Obamamania. There are many people out there who would like to declare race as a non-issue and roll back on affirmative action, etc.

  5. Ogre Mage

    Ford is totally wrong. It would not be doomsday for the Dems if Obama was the Presidential nominee. Having said that, neither he NOR Hillary is gonna win S.C. in the general. And while Hillary looks strong in national polls, her status in the S.C. primary is far shakier, with both Edwards and Obama giving her a run for the money. Is she running scared in S.C.?

    Still, the story illustrates SB’s point — resistance is futile. Two more have been assimilated into the collective.

    The most interesting quote in the story was this one from Camp Clinton:

    “Clinton’s campaign said it welcomed the lawmakers’ support, but disagreed with Ford’s contention that Obama could harm a Democratic ticket. ‘I think it’s just flat-out wrong,’ said spokesman Mo Elleithee.”

    Further evidence that Sen. Clinton is at least considering Obama as a possible running mate.

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