U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said he would not respond to critical commentary from state Sen. Robert Ford other than to note that Ford's comments on President-elect Barack Obama's election were "kind of strange to me."
Ford recently wrote a one-page commentary about how black voters in South Carolina should be proud of the support they lent to Obama, even though Obama lost this state Nov. 4, but he said elected officials now were using the philosophy of the Civil Rights Movement to benefit themselves and their families.
"I am speaking of Congressman James Clyburn, who during the primary remained neutral and didn't support Obama," Ford wrote. "Now he has everyone thinking he played a major role in Obama's primary win in South Carolina. Now Clyburn is trying to get his daughter another position in government. According to Common Cause, Clyburn has given out perks to friends and relatives.
"This is not the reason why I risked my life and went to jail with Dr. King to help one family dominate politics."
Clyburn's daughter Mignon, currently a S.C. Public Service Commissioner, is under consideration for a post at the Federal Communications Commission, but Clyburn said he has stayed out of that discussion. He noted that his daughter is the same age as Obama and was considered for an FCC post five years ago.
"I would love to see someone from South Carolina get considered, but there's maybe some people who would rather see it go from someone from New York," Clyburn said.
As for his not endorsing Obama during the primary, Clyburn noted that he predicted Obama would win South Carolina if he finished in the top three in Iowa, but he also noted the entire House Democratic leadership agreed to remain silent during the presidential primary races — even Obama's Illinois colleague, U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who Obama eventually chose as his chief of staff.
"What's this silliness about someone who doesn't endorse? It is part of what keeps South Carolina where it is — very narrow myopic views," Clyburn said.
Ford, who backed U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton during the South Carolina primary, made news early in the campaign by predicting — and then quickly retracting the prediction — that Obama's winning the Democratic nomination would doom other Democrats seeking office in November.
The opposite took place, as Democrats increased their majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and posted other gains.
Clyburn said he found it interesting that someone who previously questioned the wisdom of voting for Obama is now evaluating the election. "That's kind of strange to me," he said.