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John Lewis, More CBC Members Shifting to Obama?

Obama, Lewis and Clinton

Sen. Barack Obama, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Sen. Hillary Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, march with a crowd to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in March 2007. Scott Olson, Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Scott Olson, Getty Images

News Headlines: Feb. 15, 2007

Talk About It:
New York Times: John Lewis, a Clinton Ally, Tilts to Obama — "Representative John Lewis, an elder statesman from the civil rights era and one of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's most prominent black supporters, said Thursday night that he planned to cast his vote as a superdelegate for Senator Barack Obama in hopes of preventing a fight at the Democratic convention."

Lewis' staffers say he isn't changing his endorsement of Clinton; but reports indicate he will cast his superdelegate vote for Obama. Some say it could lead to a larger defection of CBC Clinton supporters to Obama's camp:

Mr. Lewis, who carries great influence among other members of Congress, disclosed his decision in an interview in which he said that as a superdelegate he could "never, ever do anything to reverse the action" of the voters of his district, who overwhelmingly supported Mr. Obama. Representative David Scott of Georgia, who was among the first to defect, said he, too, would not go against the will of voters in his district.

Do you think Lewis made the decision based on the overwhelming support of Obama among his constituents? Or is it because the civil rights activist doesn't want to be on the "wrong side of history" if Obama gets the nomination? What will be the larger impact of this?

UPDATE: Lewis' Office: Report "Is Not Accurate"

Lewis' office says he is not dropping his support of Hillary Clinton — as we mentioned above. His office, however, has not yet clarified the reporting about how he will cast his vote as a superdelegate.

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World:
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People:
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Comments

 

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If one removes themselves from "the race" then we might see that electing either democratic candidate would be an advancement for the country regardless of race or gender.

Sent by muzak | 3:33 PM | 2-15-2008

That Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver (Missouri) stubbornly clings to loyalty and friendship in defiance of the voters in his district is another reason why super delegates rob the body politic our basic democratic rights, one person-one vote. Spare us any more of Cleaver???s sophomoric parables. They are as weak and ineffective as his pseudo argument.
Cleaver???s loyalty to a friend in direct opposition to the majority of those who elected him to be their voice is cronyism of the worst sort. It???s a pity that the Clintons didn???t show the same loyalty to Lani Guiner, the friend they famously betrayed when it became politically expedient to do so. Funny thing, the proportional democracy that seemed so nettlesome for the Clintons and right wing pundits is earning Mrs. Clinton delegates. Imagine that!
Tsehaye H??bert
(suh-high A-bear), South Florida

Sent by Tsehaye Hebert (suh-high A-Bear | 7:06 PM | 2-15-2008

I was offended by Emanuel Cleaver's comment that loyalty is paramount. His parable of holding a seat for a friend even when a black man asked for it implied that the only thing Obama has going for him is the fact that he is black. (Oh, the irony!) Much of Obama's appeal is that he will bring a different kind of politics that is not dominated by Cleaver's (and the Clinton's) brand of chronyism. Cleaver has every right to support Clinton, but why did he make no mention of his views on the candidates' policies, character and leadership style? In my opinion, we've had quite enough of this blind loyalty that trumps all during the Bush years. It's time for the entrenched and beleaguered establishment to step aside.

Sent by Jeff Lindon | 7:30 PM | 2-15-2008

The comments of Mr. Clever's dilemma of choosing between loyalty to a friend or loyalty to his race and his conclusion are appalling. The decision to choose a US presidential candidate should be based on her or his qualities, moral, ethical and intellectual, not on friendship of race. Shame on Mr. Cleaver.

Sent by Felix A. Estrada, M.D. | 8:26 PM | 2-15-2008

Isn't Obama half white? Shouldnt he be called American instead of African-American? Race shouldn't be a part or the race and neither should sex. That any part of either party is doing so goes more to show where we're at than anything else.

Sent by Eric | 8:48 PM | 2-15-2008

I am commenting on the story "Loyalty vs. Voters: A Superdelegate's Dilemma" as well as an interview with another superdelegate NPR broadcast earlier in the week.

I was completely appalled to hear (in today's interview) Rep. Emanuel Cleaver clearly state that loyalty to his friend (Senator Hillary Clinton) is more important than what is good for the country. He is supposed to be a representative of the people first and foremost! How astonishing and disheartening. It's no wonder so many have felt apathetic about our political system for so long. With this kind of attitude, and this kind of system that encourages such attitudes, it's a wonder anyone bothers to vote.

Speaking of change, it is high time we change our election system to be truly democratic. Let it be this: "one person, one vote".

I am shocked at how flawed our election system is. It seems hardly democratic that a few people designated as "superdelegates" wield such power. This system has more in common with the mafia than it does with true democracy. Why can't we have a system truly based on "one-person, one-vote" and the candidate with the most votes wins. Simple. Fair. Inclusive.

Sent by Tim Tait | 9:19 PM | 2-15-2008

"I had met far more discrimination because I am a woman than because I am black." -- Shirley Chisholm

If Obama were a woman, I doubt the CBC would be as interested. They confuse pride with ego.

Sent by Catherine | 9:20 PM | 2-15-2008

I am shocked not by Rep. Cleaver's dilemma but at the underhanded threats being leveled at other black congressmen by the Obama acolytes. It is getting more and more to resemble a cult.

Sent by jean | 9:59 PM | 2-15-2008

Someone please hand Mr. Cleaver a towel. He seems to have egg all over his face. What's sad is that we the people continue to let the insiders have their way. How brash can you get. Help me out here. I've always believed that any elected official, be it local, state, or federal, was elected to represent those people that lived within a specific geographical area. How long have Cleavor & Clinton been friends anyway? Must be longer than he's known his voters, ya think? This is exactly why we need someone like Obama in the oval office. And don't give me that lack of experience compared to HIllary or McCain. What we have here is an intelligent young man who can motivate people into action. I know that's a very scary thought for those insiders in Washington. But I honestly believe that he lives by the same principle that I do. I don't know everything, not even close. But when I do need to know something, I know how to find the answers. Any candidate that starts waving his/her flag of exerience is just blowing smoke. Whoever gets elected is going to rely on advisers. Question is, are we going to have good ol' boy advisers from the insiders or are we going to have fresh faces from the real world? Just thinking outside the belt-box. Mr. Cleaver, if Mr. Obama moves into the Whitehouse, be afraid.....be very afraid. Because he's coming to town to clean it up & he'll have a whole lot of we the people marching right behind him. You'll be able to spot me in the crowd. I'm the mixed blood native american white southern male you've heard so much about. Oh, why do you want to make race an issue anyway? Not once did I heard you mention qualifications of either candidate. Doesn't matter when loyality is involved, right?

Sent by Ray Age | 11:41 PM | 2-15-2008

I am appaled that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said not one thing about either candidates abilities or weaknesses! The most important quality he is looking for in the next President of the United States is whether or not that person is a freind of his? Does merit mean nothing? This is not a popularity contest! I hope the other superdelegates take this more seriously than Rep. Cleaver....

Sent by Kelly Gilmore | 11:52 PM | 2-15-2008

So the parable from the good minister is: a superdelegate is a super friend - no matter what anyone else says.

Sent by Roland | 10:16 AM | 2-16-2008

If this is what it comes down to - voting for someone just because they are black or a woman - or because you are being threatened - and not because you have decided, based on their platform, that they are the best candidate - then I think I'll not vote at all. That's not the answer - but as this race goes on - it just gets more upsetting to listen to the nonsense. Let everyone, including the superdelegates - make up their own mind - and make their own decision. And may the best person win.

Sent by Diane Strawbrich | 2:59 PM | 2-16-2008

Everyone concerned about the extra influence of superdelegates should think about the way delegates are selected in Democratic caucuses; independents and even Republicans can select Dem delegates indirectly. Shouldn't we be more concerned about that????????????????

Sent by Laura Lakin | 9:29 AM | 2-18-2008

So Lewis feels like he's a little late to the party and now he's trying to have it both ways, splitting his vote and his endorsement. It'll be interesting to see how he pays for it politically.

Sent by Janice Kent | 8:36 PM | 2-19-2008

Obama... A Man!

It is sometimes so difficult to allow someone, to just... be! Obama has
been compared to many greats. Let us allow him to make his own way. He
is a unique individual with his own style and attributes. When we hold
someone to the standard of another, I believe it is has the potential
for setting someone up to disappoint us. We are thirsty for a healing
in this country and Obama represents that cool, clean, glass of water.
He has the ability to speak to a very deep place of truth within each
of us, we recognize the language and we respond. It is called???
inspiration.

Obama is all the wonderful adjectives we can muster but remember... he
is just a man and he is only as strong as the weakest link; Like those
who are at threat of losing their homes, those who are presently
homeless, those who are sick and unable to afford health insurance,
those who make 6.15 per hour, those who are educated and can't find
work, those who are strained in the sandwich generation, those who have
been unfairly judged, those who are children. We are all in the same
boat. We are the human food chain.

There is an African proverb that says: "When spider webs unite, they
can tie up a lion." There is allot of work to do. We have an election
to win. Let's stay focused and consistent." Yes WE Can!" For the
nay-sayers I ask, When was a time, all you had... was hope ?

Ajuba Joy

Raleigh, NC

Sent by Ajuba Joy | 9:01 AM | 2-20-2008

Well, who should I vote for? www.iamasuperdelegate.com

Sent by SUPERDELEGATE | 6:29 PM | 3-5-2008

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