"In fact, he never uses the word “racism” because he abhors it. Really. No, really:
In a letter to the editor of The State newspaper in Clyburn’s hometown of Columbia, S.C., the No. 3 House Democrat said an article published Thursday had sensationalized his perspectives on the ties between Obama’s race and his work as president.
“I have always abhorred the word ‘racism,’ ” Clyburn said in the letter. “I never use it. I believe it is a lethal term, and I am offended that my honest responses to a reporter’s clearly designed agenda would be distorted in such a manner.”
Duly noted. So what did Clyburn say to this agenda-driven reporter that got twisted into allegations of racism? Well, McClatchy helpfully provides a transcript of the conversation in its follow-up report:
QUESTION: What do you think of Obama’s election prospects?
CLYBURN: I think they’re improving every day. I think the president has been a good president, a great commander in chief. I think when people allow themselves to — you know, I’m 70 years old. And I can tell you; people don’t like to deal with it, but the fact of the matter is, the president’s problems are in large measure because of his skin color. All you got to do is look at all the signs they’re carrying out there and look at the mail that I get. As I said, I’m 70 years old, I been going through this kind of stuff all my life. I know what kind of mail I get, I know what kind of phone calls I get, I know what people are saying who call the office.
QUESTION: How does that relate to the president?
CLYBURN: We have the same skin color; that’s how it relates to him.
How silly of this reporter! Of course Clyburn meant from this musing on palettes and tone that economic malaise was Barack Obama’s biggest electoral problem."