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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

South Central Los Angeles Not Feelin' Billary Clinton

No Mea Culpa From Bill Clinton
The Washington Post
Sleuth Reports:

It looks like former president Bill Clinton will not have to make an apology to the congregations of black churches in South Central Los Angeles after all. At least not in writing.

Our posting on Bill Clinton's "mea culpa" tour (as we worded it) to African Americans in L.A. this weekend (ahead of Tuesday's hotly contested California primary) apparently caused much consternation inside the Clinton campaign. Campaign officials scrambled Saturday to dispel the notion that the former president will be making any form of an apology.

The Clinton camp asked Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.) to clarify remarks she made in an interview with The Sleuth on Friday evening in which she said Clinton needed to "renew his relationship with the South Central community" after turning off voters in her district with his racially tinged comments during the South Carolina primary campaign.

To achieve that, Watson said she had asked the former president to write a letter "explaining his commitment to civil rights and equal rights."

"He knows what needs to be in it: He needs to renew his relationship with the South Central community," Watson said Friday evening.

But on Saturday, things changed after the Clinton campaign called Watson who then told The Sleuth there will be no letter after all. She had mistakenly thought, she said, that Clinton would not be able to speak inside the churches on Sunday and, therefore, had asked him to put his thoughts in writing.

"I just learned he will be able to speak," Watson said. "So there will be no need for any kind of letter."

But what about mending fences with voters who felt Clinton had unfairly injected race into the campaign? "He can do that now in person in true Bill Clinton fashion -- personally and verbally," Watson said. more HERE

AAPP: Well, well, that's not what Mayhill Fowler reports. According to her the church events were a bust for Bill Clinton. She feels Barack Obama will win California. In her article she talks about how she "watched Bill Clinton's face as he speaks Sunday at Brookins AME Church in Los Angeles. He's looking out at the congregation, but he's staring at defeat. He's an old pol; he knows what's happening. I see this knowledge in his eyes, in the hint of elegy to his recitation of his wife's resume, in his slightly wry reserve, in the way he summons inner strength and discipline to carry him through. Bill Clinton has spoken at many black churches over the years; he's been friends with many black pastors; he's campaigned from the pulpit and he's given eulogies. His welcome has been warm, wide and celebratory. But not this day at Brookins. The sanctuary does not ring with shout-outs and amens. The response is tepid--polite, of course, because after all these are Christian folk--but tepid. Clinton smiles, posing for photos with the minister and the mayor; but he knows."

She goes on to say, "At this point, it's not possible to overstate the damage Bill Clinton has done to his wife's campaign. I would like to say that everything coming Barack Obama's way, because he has worked hard and nobly, is all his own doing; but it is not. Former President Clinton has made a contribution. Sunday afternoon at UCLA, Oprah Winfrey, speaking to the throng of Obama supporters, replies rhetorically to those who say she is backing Barack because he is black, "Don't play me small." She's voting for the person she thinks is best for the job. What Bill Clinton has done is to play black voters small. In South Carolina, Hillary Clinton long enjoyed such a huge lead precisely because African-Americans, seeing themselves as Americans first, were proud to be in a position to consider seriously and to weigh the merits of two worthy contenders for the Democratic nomination. When Bill Clinton brought the issue of race into the debate and against Obama, however, African-American South Carolinians were forced back to the narrower position of having to defend one of their own. African-Americans everywhere in this country will not quickly forgive." More HERE

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