House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) shrugged off speculation Wednesday that he may have drawn the ire of former President Bill Clinton during the long battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, telling Politico that if he were persona non grata in the Clinton camp, he certainly didn’t know it.
“I haven’t gotten any signals from [Bill Clinton],” Clyburn said in a brief interview. “Nothing I can recognize. [But] I am not as astute politically as a lot of people think I am.”
On Tuesday, a New York Times article suggested that Clyburn part of an informal “enemies” list of prominent Obama supporters who may have adversely affected Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) presidential campaign.
Clinton supporters vehemently deny that such a list exists, even informally.
Still, The Times article suggested that several prominent politicians who supported Obama should think twice before asking the 42nd president for any favors, though the newspaper did not list any specific ways in which the Clintons might seek retribution or freeze out other Democrats.
“Afraid of what?” Clyburn said with a laugh when asked if he was afraid of any backlash from Bill Clinton.
Clyburn waited until the very end of the primary campaigns to formally endorse the Illinois senator. But, privately, many Clinton supporters suspected Clyburn was neutral in name only.
Obama beat Clinton in Clyburn’s native South Carolina 55 percent to 27 percent.
Clyburn, however, shrugged off any suggestions that he may be shut out from the former president in the future, though he admitted that even if he were, he might be the last to know.
“Maybe I have gotten signals about being on his enemies list,’’ Clyburn suggested, “and I didn’t recognize them.”