US News, Feb 2014 - South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn stayed publicly neutral during most of the epic 2008 presidential primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
But former President Bill Clinton believed Clyburn was personally responsible for his wife’s 29-point drubbing in the pivotal Palmetto State -- and he let him know it in no uncertain terms.
In a new memoir -- “Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black” -- Clyburn recounts how an irate Bill Clinton called him the early morning after the January primary at 2:15 a.m. to take him to task.
“If you bastards want a fight, you damn well will get one,” Clinton thundered.
As Clyburn tells it, the former president phoned to pin blame on the congressman, vent his frustration and seek an explanation on how his wife got whipped so badly.
Clyburn reminded Clinton he had pledged neutrality to the Democratic National Committee as a condition of them authorizing the South Carolina primary.
“I had kept that promise. I asked him to tell me why he felt otherwise. He exploded, used the word ‘bastard’ again, and accused me of causing her defeat and injecting race into the contest,” Clyburn writes.
At the time though, it was the Clintons who were accused of playing racial politics.
Earlier that month, Hillary Clinton seemed to suggest in an interview that President Lyndon Johnson had a more important role in passing the Civil Rights Act than Martin Luther King Jr. -- the implication being that while the civil rights icon’s voice was important, it took a president to pass the landmark legislation.
In a brushback to Clinton, Clyburn told the New York Times it was “disingenuous to suggest which was more important.”
“That episode bothered me a great deal,” he writes.