Clinton, Obama Defend Byrd's Ku Klux Klan Membership“He was just trying to get elected”
Jul. 02, 2010
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While would be Senator Rand Paul was recently slated by the controlled left wing media for his nuanced philosophical view on one of the ten titles of the Civil Rights Act, the late Sen. Robert Byrd – an actual former member of the Ku Klux Klan – was lauded today by a former president as well as the nation’s first black president.
Clinton and Obama today both defended Byrd’s past association with the Klan in the 1940s.
In a key note speech at Byrd’s funeral in Charleston today, Clinton hit out at eulogies in some newspapers that had highlighted Byrd’s ties with the Klan.
“He once had a fleeting association with the Ku Klux Klan, what does that mean? I’ll tell you what it means. He was a country boy from the hills and hollows from West Virginia. He was trying to get elected,” Clinton said.
“And maybe he did something he shouldn’t have done come and he spent the rest of his life making it up. And that’s what a good person does. There are no perfect people. There are certainly no perfect politicians,” he added.
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Byrd signed up with the KKK in 1942, becoming head of the local chapter before claiming to lose interest in the organisation a year later. However, in 1946 Byrd stated that the KKK was “needed today as never before.”
President Obama described Byrd as a “statesman”, adding that his ties to the Klan could be forgiven following his long career as a Senator.
“We know there are things he said and things he did that he came to regret,” Obama said.
In reference to a conversation Obama said he once had with Byrd the president noted: “He said, ‘There are things I regretted in my youth. You may know that.’ I said, ‘None of us are absent some regrets, senator. That’s why we enjoy and seek the grace of God.’”
“And as I reflect on the full sweep of his 92 years, it seems to me that his life bent toward justice,” Obama added. “Like the Constitution he tucked in his pocket, like the nation itself, Robert Byrd possessed that quintessential American quality, and that is the capacity to change, a capacity to learn, a capacity to listen, a capacity to be made more perfect.”