John Lewis Walks Back Criticism Of Bernie Sanders’ Civil Rights Record

Civil rights activist and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. is introduced before speaking at the unveiling of a U.S. Postal Service stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Friday, Aug. 23, 213, at t... Civil rights activist and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. is introduced before speaking at the unveiling of a U.S. Postal Service stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Friday, Aug. 23, 213, at the Newseum in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) MORE LESS
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Civil rights leader John Lewis is softening his dismissal of Bernie Sanders’ work in the 1960s on behalf of racial equality.

Lewis — who’s endorsed Hillary Clinton over Sanders in the Democratic presidential race — said this on Thursday about Sanders’ role in the movement: “I never saw him. I never met him.”

Now, Lewis says that “in the interest of unity,” he’s clarifying his remarks.

Lewis says “the fact that I did not meet him in the movement does not mean that I doubted” Sanders’ involvement. Lewis says he wasn’t trying to “disparage his activism.”

Sanders says on his campaign website that he has a “long history of fighting for social equality and the rights of black Americans — a record that goes back to the early 1960s.”

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  1. I already said this on the Madeleine Albright apology thread, but rather than re-write it to say more or less the same thing I’ll just cut and paste this time:

    “In the interest of unity, I want to clarify the statement I made at Thursday’s news conference,” Lewis said in a statement from the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, which endorsed Clinton on Thursday.

    “I was responding to a reporter’s question who asked me to assess Sen. Sanders’ civil rights record. I said that when I was leading and was at the center of pivotal actions within the Civil Rights Movement, I did not meet Sen. Bernie Sanders at any time. The fact that I did not meet him in the movement does not mean I doubted that Sen. Sanders participated in the Civil Rights Movement, neither was I attempting to disparage his activism. Thousands sacrificed in the 1960s whose names we will never know, and I have always given honor to their contribution.”

    Very cool, and exactly what I would have expected from a thoughtful leader like John Lewis.

    Before anyone complains that this is not a “real apology,” let me hasten to say that’s because Lewis didn’t owe anyone an apology. I don’t even think he really owed anyone a clarification, but since some media were trying to exaggerate his statement and sow resentment – and sadly some of my fellow Bernie supporters chose to run with that and put the worst possible interpretation on Lewis’ original comment – Lewis has chosen to offer a clarification, and I applaud him for it.

    This is exactly how we keep the family together for the battle in November.

    As Lewis said – “In the interest of unity.”

    #####[Standard Disclaimer: This commenter wishes it to be known that in November he or she plans to vote for the Democratic nominee, whoever that turns out to be, and will encourage their fellow primary candidate supporters to do likewise.]

  2. Last night I watch Chris Hayes interview Harry Belafonte. Mr. Belafonte, a Sanders supporter, made a very good point. In the 1960’s at the time for the civil rights marches, Bernie Sanders was a young man in his 20’s who had absolutely no platform from which to project his presents. He was one of many young individuals who anonymously march in solidarity. Of course John Lewis wouldn’t remember Sanders. BTW, I was amazed at how sharp Harry Belafonte is for a guy going on 89 years old.

  3. The Democrats walked into a trap when they allowed Sanders to run in the Democratic Primary. Many of Sanders supporters, maybe the majority are not Democrats. Most of them do not like President Obama and are not backing the Democrats in supoort of a Democratic Party and their President. It has become evident to me, Sanders supporters trash Hillary supporters as well as Hillary Clunton we see that every day. The Party will not come together when there is a nominee Sanders supporters because they are not democrats, and Hillary Supporters because of the damage Sanders has done to the Party.

  4. I want to take this opportunity again to congratulate Secretary Clinton and her organization and supporters for waging a vigorous campaign. I hope that in the days ahead we can continue to wage a strong, issue oriented campaign, and bring new people into the political process.

    But, I also hope that we all remember – and this is a message not just to our opponents, but to those who support me as well – that we will need to come together in a few months and unite this party, and this nation because the right-wing Republicans we oppose must not be allowed to gain the presidency.

    – Bernie Sanders, during his victory speech the night of the New Hampshire primary.

  5. Avatar for lio lio says:

    Sanders says on his campaign website…

    The Ap research staff must have weekends off.

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