Representative Rob Andrews
According to NJ.com:
A Democratic superdelegate from New Jersey said this week he is worried that unifying the party behind Barack Obama may be difficult because the Clinton camp "has engaged in some very divisive tactics and rhetoric it should not have."
U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, who supported Hillary Clinton throughout the primary season, disclosed he received a phone call shortly before the April 22 Pennsylvania primary from a top member of Clinton's organization and that the caller explicitly discussed a strategy of winning over Jewish voters by exploiting tensions between Jews and African-Americans.
"There have been signals coming out of the Clinton campaign that have racial overtones that indeed disturb me," Andrews said at his campaign headquarters in Cherry Hill Tuesday night after he lost his bid for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination.
"Frankly, I had a private conversation with a high-ranking person in the campaign ... that used a racial line of argument that I found very disconcerting. It was extremely disconcerting given the rank of this person. It was very disturbing."
Andrews said the phone call came after he angered the Clinton camp by making some positive comments about Obama. He would not disclose the caller's name because of the private nature of the conversation.
The Obama camp declined to comment. Clinton's campaign issued an angry response to Andrews, who once was charged with lobbying other members of Congress to support her.
"Comments like these, coming so soon after Congressman Andrews' crushing defeat, are sad and divisive," said Clinton's chief national spokesman, Phil Singer.
Andrews stood by his statements and said: "I would hope that all Democrats can put this divisiveness behind them. I'm glad the Clinton campaign is finally about to change its tone." He said he made his comments only after his primary loss to Sen. Frank Lautenberg because "I didn't want people to think I was trying to win over Obama supporters in the primary."
Some Obama supporters, as well as neutral Democrats such as Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, had complained during the campaign that Clinton surrogates injected racial overtones into the contest.
Former president Bill Clinton was criticized for downplaying Obama's win in South Carolina by comparing it to the ultimately unsuccessful 1988 campaign of the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro gave up an honorary post in the Clinton campaign after saying in an interview that Obama would not have made it so far if he were white.
Andrews has joined other New Jersey Clinton delegates this week in saying he looks forward to uniting the delegation behind the presumptive nominee.
New Jersey's Feb. 5 primary allotted a majority of its 107 pledged delegates to Clinton, and 12 of the state's 20 superdelegates endorsed her, but state party leaders say they are not worried about getting on the same page for the campaign against the Republicans' presumptive nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
During an interview on MSNBC Thursday morning, Gov. Jon Corzine, who was the leader of New Jersey's Clinton supporters, pivoted toward Obama, saying he "absolutely" will fight for the senator from Illinois.
"It's time for Democrats to unite around Barack Obama and move forward," said Corzine, who last year was the first sitting governor to come out for Clinton. "We're all going to get behind Barack and go full throttle."
McCain, who has been able to attract followers outside of traditional Republican strongholds, is pursuing middle-of-the road Democrats much the way Ronald Reagan did a generation ago and is looking to be competitive in moderate states like New Jersey.
He is returning to the state for a town hall-style meeting next Friday at Burlington County College and will be opening a Garden State headquarters.
"It's very clear that John McCain is putting New Jersey in play," said state Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer), who is chairing the Republican's effort in the state. "Everything that we can do to show the political world that John McCain is competing in New Jersey we are doing."
Friday, June 6, 2008
Representative Rob Andrews