John Lewis dropped his support for Hillary Rodham Clinton

Civil rights leader John Lewis dropped his support for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid Wednesday in favor of Barack Obama. Lewis, a Democratic congressman from Atlanta, is the most prominent black leader to defect from Clinton’s campaign in the face of near-unanimous black support for Obama in recent voting.

He also is a superdelegate who gets a vote at this summer’s national convention in Denver.

In a written statement, Lewis said Obama’s campaign “represents the beginning of a new movement in American political history” and that he wants “to be on the side of the people.”

“After taking some time for serious reflection on this issue, I have decided that when I cast my vote as a superdelegate at the Democratic convention, it is my duty … to express the will of the people,” the statement said.

Lewis’ endorsement had been a coveted prize among the Democratic candidates thanks to his standing as one of the most prominent civil rights leaders of the 1960s.

“John Lewis is an American hero and a giant of the civil rights movement, and I am deeply honored to have his support,” Obama said in a statement.

Clinton, questioned about Lewis during a satellite interview with Houston television station KTRK, said: “I understand he’s been under tremendous pressure. He’s been my friend. He will always be my friend. At the end of the day it’s not about who is supporting us, it’s about what we’re presenting, what our positions are, what our experiences and qualifications are and I think that voters are going to decide.”

Lewis first announced his Clinton endorsement in October and has appeared on her behalf on television and at events across the country, at one point accusing Obama supporters of trying to fan the flames of race against her. Clinton has frequently cited his support in trying to establish her credentials among minority voters, saying she saw her campaign as a continuation of his work.

But Lewis came under intense pressure to get behind Obama after his constituents supported the Illinois senator roughly 3-to-1 in Georgia’s Feb. 5 primary, and about 90 percent of black voters statewide voted for Obama, according to exit polls. The support among black voters nationwide to Obama’s candidacy mirrors Lewis’ Georgia district.

His change of heart follows a similar move by Rep. David Scott, a black Democrat who represents a neighboring district. It also comes a week after the Rev. Markel Hutchins, a young Atlanta minister, announced he would challenge Lewis in the Democratic congressional primary this summer.

Hutchins, 30, has seized on Lewis’ waffling in the presidential contest as evidence that the 68-year-old congressman is out of touch.

“Today’s announcement by Representative Lewis was clearly prompted by political expediency,” Hutchins said Wednesday. “It is time for a change. It is time to send somebody to Congress who is actually willing to represent the district.”

Earlier this month, Lewis’ office disputed media reports that he said he would switch candidates, or was at least reconsidering. But until Wednesday. Lewis refused to answer questions clarifying his position.

He said Wednesday afternoon he had called former President Clinton and Sen. Clinton but had not reached them.

Lewis’ announcement comes on the same day as another superdelegate, Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, endorsed Obama, citing the presidential hopeful’s record on trade.

The Obama campaign also said more than 1 million people have contributed to the campaign – a threshold crossed on Wednesday. Many donors have given $25 or $50, he said. The average donation is a little more than $100.

“We have funded this campaign at the grass-roots level,” campaign manager David Plouffe told reporters on a conference call. “It’s really built on the backs of the American people who are getting involved in this campaign. Most of the people giving us money are also volunteering.”

Dorgan said Obama has supported key trade issues. “He and I feel the same way. We both believe in trade and plenty of it. We just insist it that it be fair to our country – the rules be fair.”

NAFTA, the free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, is unpopular with blue-collar workers whose votes are critical in the Democratic primary Tuesday in Ohio.

Obama has won 11 straight primaries and caucuses since Super Tuesday, increased his advantage in the all-important delegate count and has attracted the support of his congressional colleagues. On Tuesday, he secured the endorsement of one-time presidential candidate Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut.

Clinton has been endorsed by 13 of her Senate colleagues, Obama 10.

16 Responses to “John Lewis dropped his support for Hillary Rodham Clinton”

  1. ele says:

    Well we knew this would happen,if Obamaaa wasnt black Lewis would not have done this ,he only switched so he can hold onto his job he has.What a shame,whats going to happen if Hillary wins,and all the blcak people as well as some of the hispa ,white etc, I am sure they will still want the help she has given all thru her career,and why dont you let people know she shows up in Washington for all her meeting as well as showing up for the Black revial in New Orleans where Obamaaa was to busy?this is a joke and the voters are being blinded by someone who can only talk and will hurt this country,wait and see.

  2. crat3 says:

    “Lewis said his decision was an anguishing one” but that is repudiated as a lie by the strategic timing of his flip flopping to impact the March 4 primaries for the benefit of cult leader Obama.

    Lewis’ perfect timing is also intended to elicit more defections of super delegates for cult leader Obama to force a premature end to the Democratic nomination process in his favor.

    The “overwhelming preference for Obama” was simply nothing more than cult leader Obama riding a wave of black racism based on skin color, supported by left wing liberals, and the pro-Obama media.

    The Cult Obama campaign is certainly a “transformational moment.” And cult leader Obama has certainly “tapped into something that is extraordinary” by taking a hold on the cult mindset and mentality with the cult money machine.

    Lewis is obviously a politician lacking in principles, character, and integrity. His support of cult leader Obama is obviously based on skin color because his flip flopping is not issue based.

    Lewis’ civil rights credentials were sacrificed to black racism.

    The flip flopping would not be a proud moment for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  3. BigSherm7 says:

    ObamaBlog Question #28: Does Barack Obama’s Meteoric Rise Toward The Presidency Indicate That Racism Is Finally Dead in The U.S.?

    There will undoubtedly be those who will point to Barack Obama’s meteoric rise toward 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as a sure sign from heaven that forever settles the issue of whether or not racism still exists in the United States, especially considering the diverse political support which he is receiving from whites. Unlike Shirley Chisolm, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, et al., who could only win primaries where African Americans predominated the voter rolls, Obama has won primaries and Caucuses in states such as Colorado, Utah, and Idaho, states which all have very negligible African American populations.

    But are these astounding achievements on the part of Barack Obama justification enough to proclaim that the vile virus of racism has been eradicated? That would be analogous to declaring that electing a Jewish president automatically signals the end of anti-semitism. Such an assertion is too tremendous a leap of faith to be truly believed by any truly rational person. While Obama’s political success does indeed signal substantial progress in U.S. race relations, those relations are still slowly evolving toward Dr. Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community.

    For example, did the election of John F. Kennedy as the nation’s 35th president put an end to all bias against Roman Catholics? Of course it didn’t. As a matter of fact it may have stoked the fires of anti-Catholic bias, especially from those already on the racist and religiously bigoted fringes of our society. I totally expect that if Barack Obama is elected as the next president of the United States, there will be an unfortunate backlash from those who already feel threatened by the possibility that a person of color could lead this, a country founded by and still largely controlled by those of European heritage. And if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination and is elected president, this won’t end discrimination against women. As a matter of fact it may put more pressure upon them to live up to the ideas and ideals of the nation’s first female commander in chief.

    ObamaBlog with us at http://www.shermancrockett.com/blog

  4. GA Voter says:

    Rep. Lewis wants to ride the wave of change. As a District 5 voter, I am glad to finally have a chance to cast my vote for someone who is promoting change by challenging Rep. Lewis for the seat he has ran opposed for so many years. Superdelegates were created to vote their conscience as best to server the party. Evidently Rep. Lewis has been taken into the Obama cult. Everyone wants change and then when it comes time to vote we vote for the same old guard. Now, that Rep. Lewis has shown his true colors by flip flopping. It is time for District 5 voters to show Rep. Lewis we really mean we want change, not just in the White House but in both Houses of Congress as well. It’s amazing the presidental candidates get railed over every vote and are held accountable for flip flopping. Is there a double standard here?

  5. Kayla says:

    Somehow I don’t think Dr. King would turn on those who had worked hard to support him. I am reading where many black leaders and black individuals feel pressured to vote for the first African American. I think this is a form of racism, as we all should be voting for the best candidate. His timing seems to indicate to me that he doesn’t have the conviction or moral courage to do the right thing. Let’s hope his supporters are as easily swayed in the future. He should have waited to see how this plays out. I think his reputation has been forever tarnished. I believe if it is perceived that blacks are voting for Obama on race alone, and the percentages seem to bear that out, it will further divide the electorate and the country. Not exactly what we need at this time.

  6. Mukesh says:

    It is sad to see that this democrat primary election is being a race for race election. I would like atleast one white superdelegates to switch from Sen.Obama camp to Sen. Hillary to see the reaction from balck community.

  7. Wlrj says:

    No surprise here. Senator John Lewis says he is a civil rights activist and therefore pro equal rights for everyone. However as soon as there is a black candidate Senator Lewis switches his support based only on skin color. This guy does not deserve the support of any white person anywhere because he bases his support solely on skin color.

  8. Reni says:

    TEXAS, OHIO, RHODE ISLAND, VERMONT – STATES WHERE HILLARY IS THE WINNER THEY WANT!

  9. MICHELE says:

    All you media people call yourselves journalists. Doubt it. You are nothing but Obama pillow fluffier’s. You need to get tough with him. What are you afraid of, being called a racist if you do. Obama and his camp no that and are loving it. It’ll be because of you who bring our country down. Grow a back bone and get tough. Make believe you’re talking to Hillary when you do.

  10. sabniz says:

    All I can say is that a politician like Lewis has no loyalty, honesty and consistency in his action. It’s like betraying a friend for doing “what’s good for the party or county” sort of things . Didn’t he call himself a friend of Clinton, and their friendship is more important than politics and black affiliation?

  11. Skeptic says:

    Big deal! It wasn’t there in the first place.
    It’s nothing more than a token, because no one follows Lewis anyway. The only way to get black votes is either being black or hand out money. Being black is more important than handing out money. Remember D.C. would elect a black criminal than a white saint.

  12. MARYLOU JONES says:

    WHAT’S THE OLD ADAGE, “NO GOOD DEED GOES UN-PUNISHED”! WELL, CERTAINLY TRUE IN THIS CASE. HILLARY CLINTON ALONG WITH FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON INVESTED YEARS IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENTS MARCHING DOWN STREETS RIGHT ALONG WITH AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND DOING ALL THEY COULD TO PROMOTE CIVIL RIGHTS AND BETTER THE LIVES OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN PEOPLE. AND IN RETURN, WHAT DOES HILLARY GET? NOT MUCH! THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY HAS ABANDONED HER. NOT BECAUSE SHE QUIT FIGHTING FOR THEM. NO! BUT BECAUSE HER OPPONET IS A MAN OF COLOR. YEP, NO GOOD DEED GOES UN-PUNISHED.

  13. Jesse Pennington says:

    To crat3: Wow! That is the most rediculous rhedoric I have ever heard. “The cult leader” Would that be the cult otherwise known as the American people? What cult are you refering to and do you even know what define’s a cult as such? Are you comparing Sen. Obama to say; Jim Jones, David Koresh or maybe Charles Manson? Or are we talking more along the lines of L. Ron Hubbard, Warren Jeff’s or maybe even Ghandi. Do you consider Ghandi a cult leader? You sir are a joke. YOU should join a cult and let someone else think for you. Peace

  14. GoObamaGo! says:

    Well now, Barack only said that he was “honored to have” Rep Lewis’ support. He didn’t explicitly say that he accpted it. Get him, Hillary! How dare he be so imprecise!

    crat3, I smell a racist alright and the wind is blowing from your direction. I can say that because I’m a white man from Georgia, who lived through the civil rights movement. If you knew anything about John Lewis and were not a racist, you’d understand that he is a man of honor and the highest integrity. His phone has been ringing of the hook and his mailbox flooded by constituents asking him to drop his support of Clinton and switch to Obama. He’s doing what his constituents are asking him to do, which is EXACTLY what all the super-delegates should be doing.

    Yeah, I’m white and I’m from Georgia. I’m supporting Obama. Lord, how things have changed in my life! Thank you, Dr. King. And thank you, Rep. Lewis.

  15. Kathleen says:

    Of course Lewis changed over to Obama’s side…this has become a matter of RACISM! Obama talks of CHANGE!
    Guess what change he is talking about… Lewis is just another Flip Flopper, who has something to gain.
    I’m Sure he was bought off. I can bet that what they are up to, won’t be for the good of this country!
    Obama’s main goal is to change the status of the black people of America & nothing more! Listen to him & to that comment made by his wife. FOR THE FIRST TIME, she’s proud to be an American… The reason is because she stands a chance now, of becoming first lady, & that is to her benefit! NOW SHE’S PROUD, because there’s something in it for her!
    You all are being led like sheep to slaughter!

  16. admin says:

    Thank you for the comments.

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