Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) said that Republicans who called UN Ambassador Susan Rice "incompetent" are using racial "code words" to attack the ambassador, during an appearance on CNN's "Starting Point" Tuesday morning. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) have said they would try to block Rice if nominated as secretary of state and 97 House Republicans sent President Obama a letter Monday saying they opposed Rice as well.
"You know, these are code words," Clyburn said. "We heard them during the campaign. During this recent campaign we heard [former New Hampshire Gov. John] Sununu calling our president lazy, incompetent, these kinds of terms that those of us, especially those of us who were grown and raised in the south, we would hear these little words and phrases all of our lives and we'd get insulted by them."
Clyburn continued: "Susan Rice is as competent as anybody you will find. And just to paste that word on her causes problems with people like [incoming Congressional Black Caucus Chair] Marcia Fudge and certainly causes a big problem with me. I don't like those words. Say she was wrong for doing it, but don't call her incompetent. That is something totally different. A lot of very competent people sometimes make errors."
Clyburn's comments came after a question about Rep. Fudge's assertion that the attacks on Rice were a product of racism and sexism.