robert_johnson.jpgRobert L. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, who is campaigning today in South Carolina with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, just raised the specter of Barack Obama’s past drug use. He also compared Mr. Obama to Sidney Poitier, the black actor, in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

At a rally here for Mrs. Clinton at Columbia College, Mr. Johnson was defending recent comments that Mrs. Clinton made regarding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She did not mean to take any credit away from him, Mr. Johnson said, when she said that it took President Johnson to sign the civil rights legislation he fought for. Dr. King had led a “moral crusade,” Mr. Johnson said, but such crusades have to be “written into law.” “That is the way the legislative process works in this nation and that takes political leadership,” he said. “That’s all Hillary was saying.”

He then added: “And to me, as an African-American, I am frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues since Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood –­ and I won’t say what he was doing, but he said it in the book –­ when they have been involved.”

Moments later, he added: “That kind of campaign behavior does not resonate with me, for a guy who says, ‘I want to be a reasonable, likable, Sidney Poitier ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.’ And I’m thinking, I’m thinking to myself, this ain’t a movie, Sidney. This is real life.”

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  • djmke

    If you don’t really know this man on a personal level, you should keep your comments to yourself. What he said about Barack Obama was absolutely wrong, distasteful and inappropriate, but why attack his personal character. You too should do some research on his charitable acts and the many opportunities he’s given to intelligent black people all of the country. We’re all entitled to vote for whomever we want to in this country. Just because we’re black doesn’t mean we have to choose based on race.

  • Jason


    That’s a real interesting comment. I guess you would try to defend Andrew Young and his sexist comments that utilizing the same logic. At the end of the day, one should not tear down another person to build oneself or one’s friend up. I don’t care if you are black, brown, white, green or blue, that’s a standard that everyone should be held to. Just because someone gives to charity does not mean that the individual has a pure heart or is a man of character. Bob Johnson is not being judged by the color of his skin, but by the character of his person. His personal acts, suggest that the core of his person is not admirable or commendable.

  • Steve

    “That is the way the legislative process works in this nation and that takes political leadership,” “That’s all Hillary was saying.” Depending of course on where she was talking, who she was talking to or about, and which side of her many faces the noise was coming from.

    I agree Jason, “His personal acts, suggest that the core of his person is not admirable or commendable.” So, once again a ‘celebrity’ card is played and trumped.

  • cwallace

    I don’t buy Bob Johnson’s initial explanation that he was referring to Senator Obama’s community organizing when it’s obvious he was making a veiled reference to Senator Obama’s admitted drug use as a teenager. A couple things:

    1) Bob Johnson is saying that doing community organizing isn’t important. Tell that to the people Senator Obama helped. Bob Johnson is a snob!

    2) I don’t have a problem with Senator Obama’s past drug use. He did it, he admitted it, he changed his ways, learned from his mistakes, and has gone on to lead an admirable, productive life as an active contributor to the betterment of our country and to society as a whole.

    3) Bill Clinton didn’t have the guts to admit he smoked marijuana – “I didn’t inhale”. Give me a break!

    As a lifelong Democrat, I’ll never find it acceptable that President Clinton wasted his presidency by lying under oath because he couldn’t admit he was having an affair with Monica Lewinsky. He threw so much away for the sake of a little fun under his desk.

    And Senator Clinton, as much as I think she’s an intelligent, caring person, she compromised herself for the sake of her ambition, creating a horrible example to woman everywhere by putting up with her husband’s selfish behavior.

    Who’s the better person here? Senator Barack Obama, hands down.

  • Kelley

    I’m actually quite disappointed in both Bob Johnson and Charles Rangel (Democratic House Rep from Harlem). I, too, don’t hold it against anyone who truly believes in their presidential candidate and speaks out on their behalf. However, I’m disgusted that both of these prominent black men would go to extreme lengths to tear another brother down. That’s the power of Clinton money and influence, hard at work. I know the folks in our community can think independently and vote for THE RIGHT CANDIDATE, black, white or otherwise. Peace.