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SC Congressman James Clyburn Feared His Emotions As Barack Obama Claimed Victory

June 4, 2008

For Immediate Release
June 4, 2008

SC Congressman James Clyburn Says He So Feared His Emotions
As Barack Obama Claimed Victory
That He Needed to Be Alone To Watch Obama’s Speech

Clyburn Says an Obama/Clinton Ticket Can Work, But Doesn’t Know If It Will
During Taping of South Carolina ETV’s “The Big Picture on the Radio”

Columbia SC…In answer to host Mark Quinn’s question of what it felt like for him to watch presumptive Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama take the stage to deliver his victory speech, SC Congressman James Clyburn, long associated with the Civil Rights movement, admitted he so feared being overcome by emotion in public, he left an event and went home to savor the moment in private.

The entire interview can be heard on South Carolina ETV’s “The Big Picture on the Radio” program Friday at 9 a.m. South Carolina ETV is the public television and radio network in the Palmetto State.

Said Clyburn, “Well, to tell you the truth, I was anticipating an emotion which I did not want to share in public. I was at an event where we were all watching the returns and when we got to the point that they said that Senator Obama will be making that speech in a few minutes, I went home and sat alone to watch it. Because what I was feeling was indescribable and I was afraid that I would not be able to control my emotions…but I was able to do so. Sitting alone I felt that the 60-year journey was coming to fruition…it was in 1948, when the senator from SC, Strom Thurmond, walked out of the Democratic Party over the issue of integration–integrating the Armed Forces. That’s why he launched his states’ rights campaign for president back in 1948. Here we are, 2008, 60 years later, and that same party has given its nomination for president to an African American.”

Later in the interview, Clyburn was asked what he thought about a potential Obama/Clinton ticket:

“I think that what we will have to do is say to Senators Obama and Clinton, ‘Please, retire somewhere alone. You guys decide whether or not you can in fact offer yourselves up to the public in that way. Is the trust there? Are the loyalties there? Is the chemistry there? If Obama does not trust Clinton, if Clinton is not loyal to Obama, if the voting public can’t see the chemistry that needs to be there, then it should not happen…Can (an Obama/Clinton ticket) work? Yes, it can. Will it work? I don’t know.’”


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