In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Clyburn Emerges As Lead Dem Against Joe Wilson


The day after Wilson made a written apology to the White House, Clyburn said it wasn't good enough, pushing for the apology from the House floor that Wilson has refused to give. "That's a cowardly way to do it," Clyburn said. "He ought to man up and go down to the well of the House and say, I acted with a lack of decorum the last evening, and I apologize to the President of the United States, and I apologize to my colleagues in both bodies, and I apologize to the people of South Carolina for having done so."

As the Politico reported, Clyburn also personally asked Wilson on the House floor for an apology -- asking three times in the course of their confrontation. Wilson rebuffed Clyburn, who has nine years of seniority over him, and since then Clyburn has been leading the fight against Wilson.

The Washington Post also points out that while Clyburn has not directly called Wilson's outburst racist, he did tell reporters immediately after the speech that Obama was the only president to have been treated in this manner -- and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been more direct in alleging a racial element.

Clyburn also told Maureen Dowd: "A lot of these outbursts have to do with delegitimizing him as a president."

Clyburn also said that cracking down on Wilson is a matter surviving in the cut-throat politics of South Carolina. "In South Carolina politics, I learned that the olive branch works very seldom," said Clyburn. "You have to come at these things from a position of strength. My father used to say, 'Son, always remember that silence gives consent.'"

Calls and e-mails to Clyburn's office were not returned.