“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.”
“You know, I’m 70 years old,” the article quoted Clyburn as saying. “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.”
Clyburn then described hateful mail, phone calls and faxes he receives as the highest-ranking African-American in Congress. He suggested that Obama receives similar materials.
In his letter, Clyburn correctly noted that his interview hadn’t been arranged to discuss the influence of Obama’s race as the first black president.”