Rep. Jim Clyburn Endorses Joe Biden, Admits Concern About Fracturing Democratic Party

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South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn has endorsed Joe Biden. (Alvin C. Jacobs for Here & Now)
South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn has endorsed Joe Biden. (Alvin C. Jacobs for Here & Now)

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, an influential Democrat in South Carolina and congressman for nearly three decades, has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination for president.

That endorsement, which came Wednesday, may have bolstered Biden's appeal ahead of the fierce primary race in the state on Saturday.

"There are a lot of good, smart people who are good politicians, but temperamentally, they ought not be president,” he says. “When it comes to temperament, I think Biden has what it takes.”

Interview Highlights

On whether he’s concerned about Biden’s failure to win a primary yet, and how he could succeed despite his weaknesses

“Sure. I'm concerned about that. But I remind the rest of America that when Bill Clinton got to South Carolina running for the presidency back in 1992, he had lost eight or nine, I believe 10 contests before. And [when] Barack Obama got to South Carolina, he had just lost badly in the New Hampshire primary.

“African Americans are 29% of this state, and they got to be somewhere around 60% of the vote in the primary. So I'm not discouraged by that. I would hope that Joe Biden was a better debater. Joe Biden had a terrible stammering problem when he was a child. And I said to him more than once, I think you ought to come clean with the American people and let people know that when you are looking in the camera, you are looking for thoughts, you're looking for the best way to express the thought, but you ought to come clean. He didn't. The second thing is that he was hell-bent on not attacking other Democrats. And people want to see him fight. He's ‘well, I'll fight Trump.’ And that there was a problem for him. But when I look at what we're going to be up against in November, I just believe that Joe Biden is the best choice.”

On Sen. Bernie Sanders, and implicit comparisons to George McGovern’s failed run in 1972

“Look, I like Bernie, but I know South Carolina and I think I know this country pretty well. I also think that history ought to be instructive. I was around in 1972. And that's what I see happening here today. History ought to be instructive and I may be wrong about this.”

Ciku Theuri produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Todd Mundt. James Perkins Mastromarino adapted it for the web.

This segment aired on February 27, 2020.

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Tonya Mosley was the LA-based co-host of Here & Now.



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