I visited Jack and Jill Politics where I found a post titled, Hillary: You Negroes Better Thank The White Man For Your Rights. It links to a post at Politico where we find this quote:
Hillary was asked about Obama’s rejoinder that there’s something vaguely un-American about dismissing hopes as false, and that it doesn’t jibe with the careers of figures like like John F. Kennedy and King.
“Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act,” Clinton said. “It took a president to get it done.”
(video is here and the question starts around 4:10)
I thought the quote was way over the top so I had to watch the video and it’s there. In all it’s shame and glory, it’s there. At Jack and Jill Politics, dnA writes:
Johnson didn’t change America. Johnson reacted to the changes in America. For that he deserves some credit, but never mistake the man in the suit for the soldiers on the street. The difference is obvious: Johnson isn’t the one whose life was ended by a sniper’s bullet.
This is the kind of revisionist history I expect from the most extreme white supremacist kooks.
I’m inclined to agree. I don’t know exactly what Clinton’s purpose was for such a statement, but the only way to look at it is that she’s framing herself as Johnson. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but at the expense of Dr. King? A couple of weeks before Martin Luther King Day? Sen. Clinton just told us that, “Hey, it’s great that Dr. King ‘Had a Dream’, but Johnson enacted the legislation.” Which is true, because last I checked Dr. King wasn’t an elected official. Still, it’s not like Johnson was working in a vacuum either.
The commenters at Politico are stunned, to put it mildly:
Posted By: Dead Horse | January 07, 2008 at 03:54 PM
Posted By: Kelley | January 07, 2008 at 03:56 PM
Posted By: former Clinton supporter | January 07, 2008 at 04:06 PM
Posted By: NYC4Obama | January 07, 2008 at 04:17 PM
I don’t have a damn thing to add, but I’m not in complete agreement with the last line of NYC4Obama’s post:
Until recently, I wanted her candidacy to be over for ME, but now it’s as if I want it to be over for HER.
UPDATE: Since no one is really going to watch the video, I decided to transcribe her entire quote, because what Politico gives us is only part of it. I got halfway done before I learned that Josh Marshall at TPM did it for me:
“I would, and I would point to the fact that that Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do, the President before had not even tried, but it took a president to get it done. That dream became a reality, the power of that dream became a real in peoples lives because we had a president who said we are going to do it, and actually got it accomplished.”
Doesn’t really change much, but there are several commenters on forums, blogs and message boards who are using the lack of a full quote as an excuse to not address was she said. I’ve watched that entire interview 3 times now. The more and more I look at it, rewinding bits here and there, the more I think this comment was meant exactly as she said it. I can excuse it by saying that she’s tired or that she was reaching into her bag of Political Buzzwords and made a mistake.
I find the people who say it’s unclear that she’s referring to Obama a bit disingenious. After all, the reporter just quoted her some of Obama’s speech and asked if she’d like to respond. There’s no coyness here. She knew exactly what and who she was referring to.