February 14, 2007

Black Politician Says Black Nominee Would Drag Down Democrats

Two prominent black politicians from South Carolina endorsed Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama yesterday, but one of them Bidenized himself by declaring the Democrats losers if they nominated a black man for President. Robert Ford told the Associated Press that he wouldn't "kill himself" by endorsing Obama:

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 came up with this formulation after getting phone calls from both Hillary and Bill Clinton, trying to talk Ford into endorsing Hillary. While Ford never mentioned either of the Clintons as the author of this interesting prediction, one has to wonder exactly how Hillary managed to convince him to back her -- and exactly when he concluded that a black nominee would torpedo the entire Democratic ballot in November 2008. The juxtaposition seems a little suspicious, and Hillary has seemed rattled lately by Obama's entrance into the campaign.

Ford later apologized for his remarks, but the Obama campaign was not amused. Jesse Jackson, Jr, a Congressman from Obama's home state of Illinois, called Ford's comments "reprehensible" -- which, of course, they were.

Lost in the melee was John Edwards, who just watched two of his previous endorsements go away. His campaign insisted that they would still win South Carolina, but then again, they insisted last week that they would keep their two controversial bloggers, too. Darrell Jackson, asked about his previous support for Edwards, replied: "I feel as if he's had his opportunity."

That's gonna leave a mark.


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