Rep. James Clyburn (D-South Carolina), the highest-ranking African American in Congress, used Orange County Republican Party official Marilyn Davenport's controversial email depicting Barack Obama as the child of chimps to argue most of the president's problems relate to "the color of his skin."
Ironically, a racist would also blame Obama's problems on his skin color.
Clyburn made the remarks published by McClatchy Newspapers to reporter James Rosen. The topic at hand was supposed to be Obama's prospects for reelection.
"I think they're improving every day," Clyburn said of his close ally. "I think the president has been a good president, a great commander in chief."
Clyburn then brought up Obama's race as the first black president.
"You know, I'm 70 years old," he said. "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 noted that he has received hate mail, racist phone calls and offensive faxes on a regular basis. Rosen, trying to steer the interview back to Obama's reelection chances, then asked how that relates to the president.
"We have the same skin color; that's how it relates to him," retorted Clyburn.
He then channeled the Davenport flap: "When he sees his face being put on a chimpanzee's body; do you think he didn't see that? And I suspect they send the same faxes to his office they send to mine."
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Clyburn linked communiques such as those and the birther movement, which he also says is fueled by racism.
"I don't know why anybody didn't ask for John McCain's," Clyburn said of a birth certificate. "He wasn't even born in this country."